With the week we’ve had, it’s no surprise that yesterday’s Last Week Tonight had a lot to touch on: the episode went through everything from Chuck Schumer’s go-to graduation speech to Trump’s relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, to the main story, which talked about Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
To begin with Trump’s friendliness with Kim, John Oliver says, “I’m not going to say that part of Trump’s admiration for Kim is that he wishes he could be a dictator. I’m going to let him say that.” The statement is followed by clip of Trump talking about Kim at the White House. Trump calls the dictator, “the head of a country, and I mean he’s the strong head…He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”
Yes, that was an incredibly ominous and terrifying statement. In case you missed it, “the President of the United States expressed the wish the people of the United States would model themselves after the malnourished population of North Korea,” says the host.
The show also addressed one of the most dire, upsetting, and urgent stories in the United States news now: the separation of children from their parents at the border. Oliver talks about the new policy put into action by Jeff Sessions, and the excuses Trump has made about democrats giving them the laws. “There is no law that suddenly requires separating parents from their children”, sys the host, “This was the result of a deliberate policy choice by Jeff Sessions. A man so small, and this is true, that he can wear a raspberry as a hat.”
He also takes Sessions to task for citing the Bible, which is not a government document, and his use of a passage commonly cited to justify slavery. (“I know, you’re probably thinking he wouldn’t align himself with slave owners, not even accidentally – not Jefferson Beauregard Sessions of Alabama!”)
The main story on China (“the place Trump has been ranting about for years”) is a dive into some of the “head-spinningly” fast changes the nation has gone through in recent years: economic growth, the overturn of presidential limits, Xi’s cult of personality (and paranoia revealed under the surface, notably in his sensitivity about being compared with Winnie the Pooh), a crackdown on human rights, and the ambitious Belt and Road project.
Taking a page from China’s propaganda book, the episode ends with a musical parody of the Belt and Road children’s song (“Kommunist Kars 4 Kids”) that includes lyrics like “He’d rather shield from you/The shitty things they do” and a rap break about human rights violations.
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