John Oliver takes on Donald Trump and it’s everything we hoped it would be
After months of largely ignoring Donald Trump in the hopes that he would just go away, America’s best Brit John Oliver finally took on the apish rich kid (and future president?) in a brilliant 22-minute tirade on Last Week Tonight.
In addition to the usual criticisms — for instance, Trump is a vulgar, racist, corrupt and failed businessman whose largest vocabulary word is “great” — Oliver looked at Trump’s claim that he is self-funding his campaign, a myth he trots out to prove that he isn’t beholden to corporate interests. But, as Oliver pointed out:
While it is true that he hasn’t taken corporate money, the implication that he has personally spent $20 to 25 million is a bit of a stretch, because what he’s actually done is loaned his own campaign $17.5 million, and has personally given just $250,000. And that’s important because up until the convention, he can pay himself back for the loan with campaign funds.
He didn’t stop there. Trump — who recently blamed his refusal to disavow the Ku Klux Klan on a faulty headset — is also remarkably thin-skinned. In 1988, Oliver pointed out, Trump was called a “short-fingered vulgarian” by writer Graydon Carter, and he’s still pissed about it. To this day, Carter said he occasionally receives photographs in the mail from Trump, usually tear-sheets from magazines, with his hand circled in gold Sharpie and the message, “See? Not so short.”
It’s not the sort of behavior one really looks for in a presidential candidate, but like a Zika-infected mosquito who just won’t go away, Trump continues to beguile the American people — many of whom plan on voting for him, despite his refusal to acknowledge climate change, his endorsement of war crimes, and his utter lack of qualifications. A big part of his popularity is the idea that Trump is a successful businessman. But is he? Not according to Oliver:
Over the years, his name has been on some things that have arguably been very un-good, including Drumpf Shuttle, which no longer exists; Drumpf Vodka, which was discontinued; Drumpf Magazine, which folded; Drumpf World Magazine, which also folded; Drumpf University, over which he’s being sued; and of course, the travel-booking site GoTrump.com, whose brief existence was, I imagine, a real thorn in the side of anyone hoping GotRump.com featured a single thing worth masturbating to.
But Oliver has a plan to take down Donald Trump, and it starts with separating the man from his brand — and his name. According to Gwenda Blair, author of The Drumpfs: Three Generations That Built An Empire, the name Drumpf was originally the slightly less presidential sounding Drumpf. And as Oliver said:
Drumpf is much less magical. It’s the sound produced when a morbidly obese pigeon flies into the window of a foreclosed Old Navy. Drumpf. It’s the sound of a bottle of store-brand root beer falling off the shelf in a gas station minimart.
And while Oliver acknowledged that it might be odd to bring up Trump’s ancestral name, Trump deserves it, for the following tweet about Oliver’s former boss:
If Jon Stewart is so above it all & legit, why did he change his name from Jonathan Leibowitz? He should be proud of his heritage!—
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 03, 2013
Oliver then informed the audience that he has registered the domain DonaldJDrumpf.com, where he will be selling hats (at cost!) reading Make Donald Drumpf Again and offering a web extension that will turn every instance of the word Trump on your internet browser into Drumpf.
“If you are thinking of voting for Donald Trump,” Oliver said, “the charismatic guy promising to make America great again, stop and take a moment to imagine how you would feel if you just met a guy named Donald Drumpf, a litigious serial liar with a string of broken business ventures and the support of a former Klan leader who he can’t decide whether or not to condemn. Would you think he would make a good president, or is the spell now somewhat broken? That is why tonight I am asking America to make Donald Drumpf again.”
It may be too late to make Donald Drumpf again before Super Tuesday, but it’s still a long way to November. You can get your Drumpf hat here.
Get Grist in your inbox