Seth Meyers has never made a secret of his disdain for, well, pretty much any vile thing Donald Trump says or does. But his Thursday night takedown of the former president, whose man-crush on Vladimir Putin has only grown in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, hit just a little bit different.
Whereas most people who witnessed the opening salvo in Russia’s war on Ukraine did so with deep regret, Meyers reminded viewers that Trump is not like most other people:
“If you were like me, or most people around the world, you were watching the news of Russia’s attack on Ukraine last night with a sickening feeling in your stomach. A mix of grief and sorrow and despair at the mass human suffering this atrocious act will cause. No one, aside from Putin and his cronies, wants this reckless and illegal war …
So if you were like most people, you were shocked and horrified. But if you were Donald Trump, apparently you were at Mar-a-Lago watching it with a bunch of Palm Beach plastic surgeons and their third wives and thinking: ‘You really gotta hand it to Vladimir Putin.’”
Meyers then cut to video of Trump at his Florida resort appearing to regale a crowd—some of whom seemed more interested in eating their soup—with tales of his admiration for Putin, and annoyance with the American media for being offended by Trump’s longtime infatuation with the Russian dictator (the same guy the former president once praised for murdering journalists who wrote bad things about him with the rationale: “At least he’s a leader.”)
Trump mocked the media for making a story out of his declaring just how “smart” Putin is—then double-downed on his admiration by noting that “I mean, he’s taking over a country for two dollars’ worth of sanctions. I’d say that’s pretty smart. He’s taking over a country: really a vast, vast location, a great piece of land with a lot of people in it, and he’s just walking right in.”
Either two of Trump’s Word-of-the-Day calendar pages got stuck together and he has mixed up the definitions of “smart” versus “tyrannical,” or his measuring stick for intelligence is even more broken than we had ever even realized. Which is where Meyers really lost it, particularly on Trump’s tendency to “[talk] about everything like it’s a f***ing real estate deal. It’s an illegal war against a sovereign nation, not an empty lot in Atlantic City.”
Trump went on to brag about how well he knows Putin, and how this war—which he had just declared a brilliant move by a brilliant man—wouldn’t have happened on his watch.
You can watch the full clip above.