A Low-Res Flag
While the late night hosts were off the air for the holidays, President Trump authorized a drone strike that killed a top Iranian commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.
Since then, Iranians have vowed to retaliate, and Trump has promised more attacks if they do, claiming to have a list of 52 potential targets — one for each of the American hostages held by Iran during President Jimmy Carter’s administration. (He also said some of the targets would be cultural sites, which would violate international law.)
Stephen Colbert tried to sort it all out in his first “Late Show” monologue of 2020.
“He’s still mad about the Iranian hostage crisis? What’s next on his 1980s agenda? [As Trump] ‘I’m also targeting four top Iranian generals, one for each of the “Three Men and a Baby”; six different regions, one for each side of the Rubik’s Cube; and I have officially changed the launch codes to 867-5309.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT
“Normally, when a president takes an action this big, this kind of military action that could lead to war, he pre-empts our stories and addresses the nation to reassure us. Trump did not do that this time. Instead, he tweeted this low-res image of an American flag. You know what they say: These colors don’t run, but they do kind of blur.” — STEPHEN COLBERT
“O.K., here’s the deal: Bombing Iranian cultural sites could be a war crime. [As Trump] ‘What do you mean ‘could be a war crime’? What do I have to do around here? Kick the Sphinx? Urinate on a terra cotta soldier? Because I’ve already done one of those things — and the other one.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT
The Punchiest Punchlines (Fondue Edition)
“So here’s how it went down — Trump’s advisers went to Mar-a-Lago and military officials put the option of killing Suleimani — which they viewed as the most extreme response — on the menu they presented President Trump. They didn’t think he’d do it — they tacked on the choice of targeting General Suleimani to make other options seem reasonable. O.K., quick note to the generals: The only way Trump isn’t going to order something on a menu is if it comes with vegetables.” — STEPHEN COLBERT
“Apparently, days before the strike, Trump roamed the halls of Mar-a-Lago, telling friends that he was working on a ‘big’ response to the Iranian regime that they would be hearing about very ‘soon.’ Can you imagine checking into that hotel? ‘O.K., here’s your keys right there. The pool is to the left, there’s a fitness center on seven, and if you make your way into the courtyard, there’s an old man giving away state secrets.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT
“Before the Iran strike, Trump told some guests at Mar-a-Lago that something huge was coming but he never told Congress, which means there’s a really good chance that Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath heard about the strike before Nancy Pelosi.”— JIMMY FALLON
“He told them to ‘expect something big’ in Iran ‘very soon.’ He didn’t consult with Congress. He did run it by the people in line at the chocolate fondue station at his country club.” — JIMMY KIMMEL