Late-night hosts took a serious tone Wednesday after a gunman opened fire on GOP members of Congress during a practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game.
Authorities said the shooter, identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, wounded five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), during the shooting on a baseball field in Alexandria, Va.
During the late-night shows, comedians echoed sentiments by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had said earlier in the day that Americans will stand united during a tragic time. The House speaker had said: “We are united in our shock. We are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”
“It was great to see people from both sides seeing this and uniting under the banner of human and American before anything else,” comedian Trevor Noah said, appearing on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” “That’s one of the things that we’re seeing less and less of in society today, it feels like.”
Noah said he believes “that’s something that’s lacking in American politics — is politicians showing from both sides of the aisle that they are friends.”
“Those people fight every single day, but like Paul Ryan said today, like Nancy Pelosi said, they said, ‘We fight tooth and nail, but we don’t forget that we are people. We are friends. We are families. We are colleagues.’ And I feel like they could do a better job of saying that to Americans, going like: ‘Hey, we fight. You can fight, but don’t forget at your core you are Americans. Don’t ever forget that,’ ” he said.
Then on his own show, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” Noah said that seeing politicians join the same side gave him hope for the country.
“Now, I won’t lie. For me, watching all of those Congress people speak like that, it really made me hopeful, and I’m glad that they found what felt like the right way to respond,” Noah said, showing clips from leaders’ responses to the shooting.
Pelosi had called Wednesday’s attack “an injury in the family.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) had said it was “deeply personal.”
“We know each other. Often our families know each other. And despite all the differences you see on display, many of us are friends with each other,” he said.
That night, Colbert opened “The Late Show” saying he was “shocked in mind and soul” and condemning the shooting. He said that “violence of any kind is never justified and is the last refuge of the incompetent.”
He thanked congressional leaders as well as President Trump, whom he has previously targeted on his show, for “responding to this act of terror in a way that gives us hope, that whatever our differences, we will always be the United States of America.”
Late-night host Seth Meyers also took a moment to respond to the incident.
“You know, we have a lot of fun at this show at Congress’s expense, and it seems only fair they should be able to have some fun at times, which is what this annual baseball game is,” he said. “And I don’t often say this here on our show, but I will be pulling for the GOP so, good luck to all of you.”
He then returned to his usual comedy routine.
“Also, I cannot believe that based on how members of Congress look that they play baseball instead of softball,” Meyers joked. “I am absolutely stunned by that piece of news. I was sure that Congress was a chamber of softball bodies.”
This story has been updated.