During Wednesday’s edition of Anderson Cooper 360, the eponymous host aired an excerpt of his lengthy interview with Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show. Not surprisingly, the interview involved plenty of Trump-bashing on the part of both Cooper and Colbert.
Colbert began the interview by brown-nosing and talking about how he watches AC 360 every night, but told Cooper “I blame you for Ken Cuccinelli” (getting his current job as top cop on immigration). “Every night I come home, my wife and I have a glass of wine, handful of nuts, watch a little Anderson....And there are a few panelists that I just, I got to skip over....Cuccinelli would be one of them.” Like many other liberals, Colbert doesn’t want any real conservatives ruining his CNN experience.
The duo expressed outrage about Cuccinelli’s “rewriting” of Emma Lazarus’s poem, “The New Colossus,” which liberals see as an anthem for open borders highlighting an obligation to admit low-skilled immigrants. Cooper described the poem as a “fundamental bedrock marker of who we are.” Colbert agreed, describing the poem as part of “this emotional Constitution that America has” before trashing President Trump for assaulting the emotional Constitution and calling him a “heretic to reality.”
In reality, Colbert, Cooper, and everyone else outraged about the Trump administration’s new “green card rule” might actually be “heretics to reality” themselves. As an article in The American Spectator points out, just one year before Lazarus wrote the poem, Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1882, which excluded any potential immigrant “unable to take care of him or herself without becoming a public charge.”
The idea of excluding immigrants who have the potential to become a public charge is hardly a new concept. In fact, the public charge regulation that has gotten liberals bent out of shape “merely implements two bipartisan statutes passed in the 1990s.”
Nonetheless, Colbert and Cooper continued to portray President Trump as a “heretic to reality,” with Colbert stressing how “heresy is like proselytizing for the devil.” According to Colbert, President Trump “wants to live in a fantasy world” and has spent his entire term in office “proselytizing for the most selfish and the basest instincts that the American people, like all people, have.”
The excerpt closed with Cooper asking Colbert “would you want to have Trump on your show again?” Colbert responded:
The quick answer would be no, because...it would be hard for me to be properly respectful of the office because I think that he is so disrespectful of the office that it’s very hard to perceive him as I would want to perceive a President in terms of their status and the dignity and their representation of the United States. So, I think, just for safety’s sake, it wouldn’t be a good idea.
In other words, Colbert might be so triggered by President Trump’s presence on his show that he might lose his cool and physically harm the President? There was no mention of Colbert's 2015 interview with Trump, just two weeks into his CBS gig.
Those hoping to see Cooper’s full interview with Colbert can tune into CNN tonight at 9:00 PM. If this excerpt serves as any indication, the interview will include a lot more of the anti-Trump commentary that has become synonymous with The Late Show.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Wednesday’s edition of Anderson Cooper 360 is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Anderson Cooper 360
ANDERSON COOPER: In this age of President Trump and intensely polarizing politics, we often need some comedic relief to help lighten things up and also see things from a different perspective. Enter Stephen Colbert, whose master of the art of making us laugh about heavy matters has pole vaulted him to the top of late night T.V. Satire takes serious work, so how does his show keep up with this ever-changing news cycle? I went to visit him today in the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City for a very long, about an hour-long conversation. We’re going to play part of it tonight and most of it tomorrow. We started out talking about the debate around immigration and one of the administration’s spokesmen, Ken Cuccinelli, who in two interviews yesterday tweaked the Statue of Liberty poem to make the case for limiting immigration to essentially those who are well-off. At one point he said, “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” Then in another interview with my colleague Erin Burnett, he claimed the poem referred to “people coming from Europe.” That’s where my conversation with Stephen started.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Ken Cuccinelli…
STEPHEN COLBERT: Oh, my God. I blame you for Ken Cuccinelli.
COOPER: He was on CNN.
COLBERT: A lot.
COOPER: Yes, I know.
COLBERT: A lot.
COOPER: I know.
COLBERT: I didn’t watch much when he was on…
COLBERT: …there’s a certain…I love your show. You know, every night I come home, my wife and I have like a glass of wine, handful of nuts, watch a little Anderson, go to bed, that’s it. That’s how I end my day.
COOPER: A handful of nuts?
COLBERT: A handful of nuts…
COLBERT: …just (inaudible) a little bit.
COLBERT: You know. I’m going to stay in the suit.
COLBERT: I can’t come home.
COLBERT: Binge out.
COLBERT: And there are…there are a few panelists that I just…I can’t…
COLBERT: …I got to skip over. I got to…I got of skip over some of them. Cuccinelli will be one of them.
COOPER: What’s amazing to me about…
COLBERT: Was there anything you ever asked him that you thought, I’m going to get an honest answer? I’m going to get…I’m going to get something that Santorum wouldn’t say.
COOPER: His answers are…
COLBERT: Or that Jack Kingston wouldn’t say.
COOPER: His answers are very thought out in terms of the grammatical structure of them and can be confusing, which I think is part of the strategy.
COOPER: If any other person in an administration, in a prior administration had rewritten the words of Emma Lazarus’ poem…
COOPER: …which Presidents from time immemorial…
COOPER: …have quoted with great reverence, it would be an outrage. It would be…people’s heads would explode understandably…
COOPER: …because it is a fundamental bedrock marker of who we are.
COLBERT: Yes. There’s our physical Constitution and then there’s our physical Bill of Rights, and certainly there’s like…there’s the physical Declaration of Independence. But there’s also this emotional Constitution that America has. There’s an emotional reality that we all share that makes us all Americans and one of them is things like the…“The New Colossus,” the poem…
COLBERT: …that Emma Lazarus wrote, that’s on the…on the Statue of Liberty. And we’re constantly being told by this administration, you don’t see what you see, you don’t hear what you hear, now they’re saying you don’t feel what you feel. You don’t actually feel that. You don’t actually believe that this is a nation of immigrants.
COOPER: You’ve called President Trump, I think, a heretic of reality…
COLBERT: …to reality.
COOPER: …to reality.
COLBERT: Heretic to reality. You know, as…as a, as a…as a raised Catholic, you know, the…the greatest sin is…is actually heresy…
COLBERT: …because not only do you…or not only are you astray from the right path, you’re inviting, you’re encouraging other people to come with you on that path, specifically heresy is like proselytizing for the devil.
COOPER: And the punishment for heretics is sort of the most extreme there is.
COLBERT: I think it’s red-hot iron coffins in Dante’s Inferno, the area…I think it’s called Dis, I think that’s the part of…the level of hell that they’re in, so it’s pretty bad. And…
COOPER: Doesn’t get much worse than a…
COLBERT: No, no, no, no.
COOPER …red-hot iron coffin.
COLBERT: Yeah, yeah, the worst spa treatment.
COLBERT: And he…our President wants to live in a fantasy world where only the way he perceives the world is…is the way it is, and only the things that sort of serve his vision. And he’s also trying to convince us that that is the only world that exists. It’s extremely solipsistic. But he’s also trying to invite us into this madness that he has and that is…that’s heresy against reality. That is proselytizing for the most selfish and the basest instincts that the American people, like all people, have. But he is not appealing to the better angels of our nature.
COOPER: I’ve heard you say that the thesis of your show has become essentially, “Hey, you’re not crazy.”
COLBERT: Right, right.
COOPER: That’s…that’s the thesis.
COLBERT: The audience is not crazy. How you feel is actually how you feel. How you think is actually how you think. What you see is actually happening. What you hear is actually what he said.
COOPER: Even though you’re in comedy, though, you are still in the…doing the same pace that we are in news. In fact…
COLBERT: Right. We do five…we do five nights a week.
COLBERT: An hour a night, which is what you do right?
COOPER: And…and whatever…you know, in comedy, you normally…people spend all day or in some cases, if they only have one show a week, all week writing the material and thinking it and honing it, you have to change stuff 15 minutes before air, five minutes before air.
COLBERT: Right. We have an idea of what the show is going to be, you know, in the morning, right after we do the pitch meeting, actually in this room. We have a…some sense of like, what the things that people are talking about, because we…we want to talk about what people are talking about. I’m not here to educate the audience. I’m here to like give us our opinion. It’s like a…it’s like a…a long editorial is what it is. And that can all be thrown out the window, even though we have a…have a plan…
COLBERT: …starting at like 10:30 in the morning, we have a general plan.
COLBERT: Many’s the time, as…as you know…
COLBERT: …and it’s only accelerating.
COOPER: Right. It also feels…
COLBERT: At 4:30…
COLBERT: …and when I go on at 5:30…
COLBERT: 4:40, 4:45, 5:00…
COOPER: It’s 5:00.
COLBERT: …somebody like pop their head in and goes like, chopper talk.
COOPER: Chopper talk?
COLBERT: Chopper talk, the President is standing in front of Marine One, we call it chopper talk, you know.
COOPER: Oh, I got it. Okay, yes.
COLBERT: He should just stand in front of like a margarita maker because it’s just the same noise.
COOPER: Well, yeah. Yes.
COLBERT: And at least there would be a cocktail at the end of it.
COOPER: The pace of it, I do think…I mean, I think about the people who work in the White House. I think, I think President Trump…you know, Dorothy Parker said those born to the storm find the calm very boring. And I don’t know why he was born to the storm, but emotionally I think that chaos is something he’s completely used to.
COLBERT: Oh no, he creates his own storm.
COOPER: And has lived his whole life in.
COLBERT: He creates his own storm.
COLBERT: He takes a big bucket of sea water, throws it in his own face and goes, “I’m a sea captain. We’re going to ride it out, boys,” throw it in the bucket, like he…he wants that.
COOPER: But I…I always think about everybody around him; just how exhausting it must be to…to be in that orbit.
COLBERT: Well, I…
COOPER: I mean, they choose to do it.
COLBERT: That every person…like every person who leaves goes, God, it was crazy in there.
COOPER: Would you want to have Trump on your show again?
COLBERT: The…the, the quick answer would be no, because I…it would be hard for me to be properly respectful of the office, because I think that he is so disrespectful of the office, that it’s…it’s very hard to perceive him as I would want to perceive a President in terms of their status and the dignity and their representation of the United States. So I think just for safety’s sake, it wouldn’t be a good idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And that was just part of the interview. As I said, it was...I think about an hour and 10 minutes that...that we spoke today. And some of it really just stopped me in my tracks. He’s got a lot to say, not just about politics, but very personal stuff and about grief and loss and surviving and being a good human being, which he is. Make sure to catch our special tomorrow night with the host of The Late Show, 9:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN for the full hour.