In a passionate message to viewers Monday, “Late Night” host Seth Meyers explained to President Donald Trump that he no longer has any options and he can’t hide his extremism in the shadows anymore.
“You can stand for a nation, or you can stand for a hateful movement. You cannot do both,” he told Trump.
“On Saturday, there was yet another terror attack on American soil, allegedly perpetrated by a white supremacist,” Meyers said of the Charlottesville, Virginia riots. He specifically addressed the violent death of Heather Heyer, who was rammed with a car by one of the rally attendees. Meyers said it was “a horrifying incident that left most of the country stunned and terrified.”
Yet, on Saturday, her name never escaped Trump’s lips. In fact, her killer’s name never reached his lips either. Meyers also noted that Americans didn’t “even [hear] the word ‘terrorist’ from our president.” Instead, Americans heard the phrase “on many sides,” like a messed up version of of a Joni Mitchell song.
“On many sides,” Meyers recalled Trump’s words. “If that choice of words made you feel sick to your stomach, the good news is you’re a normal and decent person. The jury is still out on the president, as he initially refused to condemn the white supremacist movement in this country.”
The speech Trump delivered today, however, “struck the right tone.” If only it had come on the evening of the attacks. The day that the three people died.
But that’s when Meyers brought out the fearless criticism he’s known for. He brought up Trump’s birtherism, noting that many “ignored it or played it down” when he pretended former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.
“It was racist and insane, but he was written off as a clown, a bitter, little man who didn’t know an American could have a name like Barack Obama,” Meyers said. The winks, nods and racist dog whistles were plenty in his campaign and it’s no surprise they’ve continued in his first six months as president.
“Now white supremacists and American Nazis are visible and energetic and demonstrable in a way we have not seen in our lifetimes.” Whether Trump fully understands what is happening or not, “many people see him as leading that movement.” In fact, Trump was warned about the uptick in activity by the FBI and he ignored it.
“The leader of our country is called a president because he’s supposed preside over our society,” Meyers explained. “His job is to lead, to cajole, to scold, to correct our path, to lift up what is good about us and to absolutely and unequivocally—and immediately—condemn what is evil in us.”
If Trump refuses to do that then, “he is not a president,” Meyers said. “You can stand for a nation, or you can stand for a hateful movement. You cannot do both. And if you don’t make the right choice, I’m confident that the American voter will.”
Watch the full video below: