Comedian John Oliver had plenty to say about Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement on Sunday. However, in a short moment reminiscent of Jon Stewart’s first Daily Show after 9/11 and Stephen Colbert’s addressing the Boston Marathon bombing, Oliver offered his thoughts and condolences to the people of London following Saturday’s terrorist attack. He also acknowledged something that irritated many of his fellow British subjects — the American media’s coverage of the attacks, which portrayed a city (and country) under siege.
“For the record, in no way is Britain under siege,” Oliver declared. “Is it upset? Yes. Is it pissed off? Oh you f*cking bet it’s pissed off! But to say it’s under siege and its people are reeling is to imply that it’s somehow weak enough to be brought to its knees by three monumental assholes. And that, as an idea, is insulting.” The Last Week Tonight host pointed to a New York Times headline, “2 Attacks in London as Reeling Nation Faces More Terror,” which subsequently triggered the hashtag #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling on Sunday.
“The British people are never going to let terror change their way of life,” he added, along with proof in the form of a popular clip showing a man fleeing the scene while holding a pint of beer in his hand. “That is a one-man walking keep-calm-and-carry-on poster.” What’s more, Oliver pointed to an interview with another man who returned to the restaurant he was previously evacuated from to pay his tab and tip the waitstaff. When asked if he feared for his safety, the witness said no, vowing to keep “having a gin and tonic with my friends, flirting with handsome men [and] hanging out with brilliant women.”
Prime Minister Theresa May’s subsequent comments (and Donald Trump’s immediate politicization) suggest increasingly extreme anti-terror strategies that may in fact lead to everyday changes. Even so, Oliver commended the interviewee in the second clip and toasted his resolve with a gin and tonic. “To you, sir, I say this — cheers!”