Following the Oct. 27 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, which left 11 Jewish worshippers dead, Stephen Colbert opened Monday’s Late Show broadcast with words of comfort for his viewers.
“It’s tragic, it’s sickening and our thoughts are with the victims, their families and the larger Jewish community,” Colbert said of the shooting, which was the worst act of violence against Jewish people in American history. “But more than that, I want to say hate is not what America stands for. And tonight, all of us are with you.”
The host went on to say that “it is going to take a lot more than this to break the resolve of Jewish people. They will continue to worship, to learn and to sing.” Then, he took aim at President Trump, whose response to the Pittsburgh shooting has been widely criticized as unpresidential and cold.
“Naturally, in times like these, our nation looks to its president for comfort and guidance. That’s our first mistake,” Colbert joked, before playing a sound bite of Trump in which he theorized that the shooting could have been prevented if Tree of Life had an armed guard on duty.
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Following the shooting, Trump also told a false anecdote to his supporters about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, lying that the New York Stock Exchange was, against all odds, reopened on Sept. 12 — when, in fact, it really remained closed for several days after the attacks.
“Trump’s instinct when addressing a tragedy was to lie about another tragedy,” Colbert said. “I think lying about anything associated with 9/11 is a disqualifier for the presidency, or really, having any job.”
Late Night host Seth Meyers also addressed the Pittsburgh shooting on Monday, speaking with affection about the city, which he called “the closest thing that I have to an ancestral home.” After sharing memories of his annual visits to Pittsburgh with his father, Meyers acknowledged that “I am not Jewish, but my wife is Jewish, my kids are going to be Jewish, my great-grandfather was Jewish, and he took a boat in 1869 to Manhattan, and then he went straight from there to Pittsburgh.”
“Members of the Meyers family have been living there and have been thriving there, in a city that welcomed them so many years ago,” he added. “I just want to say thank you to Pittsburgh. We’re thinking of you, Pittsburgh.”