Jon Stewart — revered by the left for skewering conservatives and Republicans when he hosted Comedy Centrals' "The Daily Show" — took a different tone as he spoke with CBS’ Charlie Rose about the election of Donald Trump to the presidency.
In the wake of Trump's controversial appointment of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist, Stewart brought up America's recent past.
"Somebody was saying, 'There might be an anti-Semite who's working in the White House,'" he said in the interview that aired Thursday. "And I was like, 'Have you listened to the Nixon tapes?' Like, forget about advising the president — the president! Like, 'Have you read L.B.J.? Do you know our history?'"
And despite his belief that Trump "disqualified himself at numerous points” during the 2016 campaign, Stewart took issue issue with "this idea that anyone who voted for him has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric."
Like, there are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that I think have incredible qualities, who are not afraid of Mexicans and not afraid of Muslims and not afraid of blacks — they’re afraid of their insurance premiums. In the liberal community, you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith. "Don’t look as Muslims as a monolith. They are ... individuals, and it would be ignorance. But everybody who voted for Trump is a monolith, is a racist." That hypocrisy is also real in our country.
Stewart added that Trump's victory is a reaction against Democrats and Republicans alike.
“He’s not a Republican — he's a repudiation of Republicans,” he said of Trump. “But they will reap the benefit of his victory, in all of their cynicism ... I will guarantee you Republicans are going to come to Jesus now about the power of government.”
In the end, Stewart said, America isn't fundamentally different than it was before the election: "The same country — with all its grace and flaws and volatility and insecurity and strength and resilience — exists today as existed two weeks ago. The same country that elected Donald Trump elected Barack Obama."
"America is not natural. Natural is tribal," Stewart noted, regarding the United States' diverse population. "We're fighting against thousands of years of human behavior and history ... that's what's exceptional about America ... this ain't easy. It's an incredible thing."
(H/T: Washington Times)