The president’s revelation and the fallout, which included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calling Trump “morbidly obese” on live television and Fox News’s Neil Cavuto issuing a blunt warning about the dangers of the drug, largely dominated Tuesday’s news cycle. And the reactions continued well into the night with TV comics, some of Trump’s most vocal critics, who had a lot to say about his new hydroxychloroquine regimen.
“Our president is a hydroxymoron,” Jimmy Kimmel quipped on his ABC show. “It’s hard to process, but are we surprised that the guy who thought windmills cause cancer thinks a lupus drug kills coronavirus?”
Like a number of the reporters present during Monday’s event, Kimmel had the same question for Trump: Why?
“Why would he do this?” Kimmel asked. “Why would he do this to prevent coronavirus and not wear a mask to prevent the virus?”
Kimmel answered his own question, telling viewers that he had “thought about it for a long time” before coming to what he said is “the only reasonable conclusion.”
“He’s trying to kill himself,” Kimmel said. “Remember how we all said he didn’t really want to be president? He wished he was home at Mar-a-Lago playing golf and finding ways to humiliate his friends, that he’s miserable in the White House? Well, guess what: I think we were right and I think he’s had enough.”
Trump, Kimmel suggested, is worried he may be reelected “despite the fact he’s done everything possible to make sure no one would ever want to vote for him again.” The host proceeded to rattle off a list of controversies that have occurred during Trump’s presidency ranging from the Russia investigation and impeachment to Trump watching a solar eclipse without protective glasses.
“None of it worked,” Kimmel said. “He’s still popular and still trapped in that White House and there’s only one way out now: A big glass of bleach with a hydro and Z-Pak chaser.
“I don’t think people understand,” Kimmel added. “This is a cry for help we’re hearing.”
Kimmel wasn’t alone Tuesday in thinking Trump may be putting his own life in jeopardy by taking the unproven drug, which has been linked to fatal heart arrhythmia, among other serious side effects.
The president’s potentially risky move prompted Noah to express sympathy — for the Secret Service agents tasked with protecting Trump.
“Can you imagine a day in the Secret Service’s life?” Noah asked.
He then did his impression of a Secret Service agent, talking into his sleeve, on the lookout for trouble. “Keeping my eyes peeled, making sure there’s no threats. Everything looks clear,” Noah said, before suddenly looking alarmed. “Mr. President! What did you eat? What is that in your mouth?” he yelled. “Mr. President, open your mouth.”
Stephen Colbert also touched on the president’s safety.
“I don’t care how you feel politically, we have to protect the president of the United States. There’s just no way to dismiss the seriousness of death,” Colbert said on CBS. The host then played a clip of Trump telling reporters earlier this month, “Death is death.”
“I stand corrected,” Colbert said.
Despite noting the dangers associated with hydroxychloroquine and calling it a “dicey move” for Trump to be taking the drug, Colbert went on to highlight questions about whether Trump is actually self-medicating or if he might be lying.
“Or option C, his doctors decided it was just easier to let him think he’s taking it,” the host said, slipping into his Trump impression and pretending to fiddle with a candy dispenser “Every morning, I push back Spider-Man’s head and a little hydroxychloroquine comes out. Right now they’re blue, but next week’s prescription is orange.”
On NBC, Seth Meyers raised the same uncertainty, but told viewers he wasn’t sure which scenario was “more psychotic.”
Meyers was equally critical of Trump’s justification for taking hydroxychloroquine, playing footage of the president telling reporters Monday that he had heard “a lot of good stories” and received “a lot of positive calls” about the drug.
“You got to be careful man, people your age get a lot of scam calls. It wouldn’t surprise me if we found out the White House had a reverse mortgage on it,” Meyers joked.
He later added: “We’re talking about a potentially dangerous medication, not the new hibachi place in town.”
Meyers cited articles listing the drug’s potential side effects, which include agitation, insomnia, confusion, mania, hallucinations and paranoia as well as lasting psychiatric and neurological symptoms.
“So either Trump’s lying about taking it or he’s been taking it for 73 years?” Meyers asked. “Our baby’s pretty colicky, just give him a little hydroxychloroquine on the gums for the rest of his life.”
Meanwhile, the pointed reaction to Trump’s comments, namely from Pelosi and Cavuto, didn’t escape scrutiny Tuesday night either.
“Morbidly obese?” Noah said, quoting Pelosi. “That is definitely shots fired.
“And you know what’s weird is that Pelosi started to say it diplomatically and then it looks like she just gave up in the middle,” he continued, before doing an impression of the House speaker. “Especially in the president’s, shall we say, weight group, he’s too fat to live if you will.”
Colbert also offered his own interpretation of Pelosi’s dig.
“I’m concerned about the president because he is, shall we say, 20 pounds of pudding in a 10-pound sack,” Colbert said, raising the pitch of his voice to sound more feminine.
But both Noah and Colbert stressed that fat-shaming, for which Pelosi was widely criticized Tuesday, was wrong.
“Plenty of wonderful people are old and fat and beloved, like Santa,” Colbert said. “But guess what, Santa shouldn’t take hydroxychloroquine either and also he should really shave his beard. No way you’re getting a good seal on that mask, Kringle.”
The other response that caught the attention of the late-night hosts came from Cavuto, who drew Trump’s anger Monday night after he gravely warned his viewers, singling out those who are in at-risk populations, that using the drug to treat or prevent coronavirus “will kill you.”
“This is surreal, Fox News condemning Donald Trump,” Noah said. “This is like doing something so bad that your own dog takes off its collar and just walks away in disgust.”
In response to Cavuto, Trump retweeted several tweets attacking the anchor Monday night, including one that called Cavuto an “a--hole,” and ended the tirade with a tweet of his own.
“[Fox News] is no longer the same. We miss the great Roger Ailes,” Trump tweeted, referencing the network’s former chairman and CEO who was ousted following a slew of sexual assault allegations and died in 2017. “You have more anti-Trump people, by far, than ever before. Looking for a new outlet!”
On Tuesday night, Colbert had just the network in mind for Trump.
“Luckily, Mr. President, I know of an outlet ready to show you the loyalty you crave. It’s our own in-house news source, Real News Tonight,” Colbert said as he cut to a fake broadcast featuring a poorly green-screened anchor.
“According to reports, President Trump is looking for a new number one news source, to which I say Mr. President look no further,” the anchor said. “Unlike the liberal fakers at Fox News, I won’t tell your voters what will kill them.”
In addition to taking numerous medications, including hydroxychloroquine, the anchor said he has a special treatment to keep his lungs “squeaky clean.”
“I’ve been sucking the precious juice from these Clorox wipes until I lose consciousness. Speaking of, time for my daily dose,” he said, bringing a sheet of white cloth-like material to his mouth and briefly inhaling. He looked up wide-eyed as if he had been electrocuted and then promptly toppled off his chair.
The camera returned to Colbert.
“He’s fine,” Colbert said with a casual wave of his hand.