So return he did this week. On Monday, Stewart came on Stephen Colbert's The Late Show to help the host make sense of the Republican's choice for presidential nominee. It was funny, playful even. The words "human toupee hybrid" came up. There was plenty of spitting Stewart's "chai kombucha" into each other's faces.
But on Thursday, Stewart came back onto the The Late Show with a vengeance. After the three-day spectacle that was the RNC ended with a signature meandering speech by its nominee, Donald J. Trump, Colbert brought Stewart back to express his many thoughts on the 2016 presidential race.
The two men started off with barely-suppressed glee at the resignation of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who is being accused of sexual harassment by many women. But then Stewart took over — Dave Itzkoff at The New York Times wrote, fittingly, "to breathe fire" — delivering a searing takedown of Fox News and their pundits and broadcasters who have repeatedly held up Trump as the person who will help "take our country back" (or, in just as many words, Make America Great Again).
Taking aim at Sean Hannity and co.'s relentless criticism of President Obama over the years yet turning a blind eye on Trump's horde of shortcomings, Stewart said that either they "are lying about being bothered by thin-skinned, authoritarian, less-than-Christian readers-of-prompter being president. Or they don't care, as long as it's their thin-skinned prompter-authoritarian-tyrant-narcissist."
Then he went in:
You just want that person to give you your country back because you feel that you're this country's rightful owners. There's only one problem with that. This country isn't yours. You don't own it. It never was. There is no real America. You don't own it. You don't own patriotism. You don't own Christianity.
All in all, it only took him four words to completely dismantle much of the divisive, xenophobic rhetoric from the convention and the campaign. "This country isn't yours." It's ours too.
He also railed against the hypocrisy of those who purport to care so dearly about the police, saying that they had no respect for the military, police and firefighters. "Trust me," Stewart said, "I saw a lot of people on the convention floor in Cleveland with their 'blue lives matter' rhetoric, who either remained silent or actively fought against the 9/11 first responders' bill reauthorization. I see you and I see your bullshit."
He ended with an impassioned tirade about the people angered by minorities demanding their fair share.
"You've got a problem with those Americans fighting for their place at the table. You've got a problem with that because you feel like — what's Representative Steve King's word for it? Subgroups of Americans are being divisive," Stewart said. "Those fighting to be included in the ideal of equality are not being divisive. Those fighting to keep those people out are."
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