Last weekend’s violent clash of alt-right neo-Nazis against protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia resulted in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer. A 20-year-old man is now behind bars after driving his car into the group of peaceful protesters, killing Heyer and injuring many others.
Shortly after the events, President Trump held a news conference where he spoke out against racism, bigotry and violence ‘on all sides.’ So close.
It wasn’t until Monday that Trump finally named the violent neo-Nazi groups, but for many Americans, and people around the world, his timing was simply too late.
The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon has taken a lot of criticism over the past year for engaging in a friendly, hair-tousling interview with Trump prior to his victory in November. But during Monday night’s show, Fallon finally made it clear where he stood on the President.
Forgoing his usual comedy-filled opening monologue, Fallon was serious and sombre while discussing the current events that took place last weekend in Charlottesville.
“Even though the Tonight Show isn’t a political show, it’s my responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being,” Fallon told the audience. “What happened over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, was just disgusting.”
“I was watching the news like everyone else, and you’re seeing Nazi flags and torches and white supremacists, and I was sick to my stomach. My daughters were in the next room playing and I’m thinking, how can I explain to them that there’s so much hatred in this world?” said Fallon, who at many times appeared to be holding back tears. “They go to the playground and they have friends of all races and backgrounds,” he continued. “They just play, and they laugh, and they have fun.”
Fallon went on to say that as children grow up, they need leaders to look up to and that includes parents, teachers and yes, Presidents. “The fact that it took the President two days to come out and clearly denounce racists is shameful and I think he finally spoke out because people everywhere stood up and said something,” said Fallon. “It’s important for everyone, especially white people in this country, to speak out against this. Ignoring it is just as bad as supporting it.”
The funny man was visibly shaken throughout the monologue and closed the segment urging people to come together. “We all need to stand against what is wrong, acknowledge that racism exists, and stand up for what is right, and civil, and kind,” said Fallon. “And to show the next generation that we haven’t forgotten how hard people have fought for human rights. We cannot do this. We can’t go backward. We can’t go backward.”
Fallon wasn’t the only late-night host to condemn the President and the violent actions that took place this weekend. Stephen Colbert opened The Late Show by saying what President Trump would not say, which is that Nazis and the KKK are bad. The late-night host went on to list all of the ridiculous items that Trump has spoken out against, pointing out that the current POTUS has no issue condemning people, places and ideas, but when it comes to unequivocally hateful groups, his allegiance appears to be strongly tied to them and not the American people.
In a similar vein, The Late Late Show’s James Corden listed off things President Trump has renounced faster than Nazis.
Former SNL Weekend Update host Seth Meyers has never back down from criticizing the president and in the case of his opening monologue on Monday night, Meyers rightfully took issue with the president’s ‘too little too late’ approach to naming the violent alt-right members from Sunday’s attack.
Jimmy Kimmell pointed out in his opening monologue that contrary to Trump’s comments on Saturday, there were not many sides in Charlottesville. There were two sides and one of them had Nazis on it.
As for Full Frontal host Samantha Bee, the political comedian did not have a new episode of her show last night, but she did share a video on her YouTube page of Bee speaking with the founder of the organization Life after Hate. Run by a former neo-Nazi, the group’s main objective is to recruit neo-Nazi members and try to rehabilitate them and remove them from the racist movement and mindset. The organization was given a $400,000 grant by President Obama before he left office, with the money quickly rescinded once President Trump took over this year.