Last Week Tonight returned in fine form, giving viewers who opted to miss the end of the Oscars an unbelievable treat by using their main segment to take on Donald Trump.
Before launching in to the hilarious segment, host John Oliver quickly recapped the week. He started with Egypt, which is in the middle of an economic crisis. This crisis has had a huge impact on Egypt's citizens, and has not been helped by the way leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been speaking about it. First, he announced subsidy cuts by walking out on a massive, $200,000 red carpet, and later literally asked his citizens to send him money "the same way Paula Dean begs to be kept on Dancing with the Stars".
Oliver next discussed Guantanamo Bay, or "the Hotel California of prisons". President Obama recently spoke of his desire to close the prison, because he didn't want to pass that mess on to his successor. If this sounds familiar, that's because it should be. Just two days after taking office, Obama signed an Executive Order requiring the prison to be closed within the year, "like a boy band signing their first record deal while Lou Pearlman salavates nearby". Obviously, this didn't happen, and he has made the same promise year after year. Sadly, the law isn't on his side - in 2010 a bill was introduced preventing the use of federal funds to transfer detainees, and in 2015 a bill which tightened those restrictions. Oliver suggests the plan to close the prison should have been thought through in a little more detail before signing the Executive Order; perhaps a plan for how to transfer the detainees should have been developed. Oliver called the closure of Guantanamo Bay Obama's "Mission Accomplished".
The main segment focused on Donald Trump, a man who gets an "earth shattering orgasm" every time someone says his name. The announcement was met with disbelief from the audience, and many viewers at home as well. However, Oliver pointed out that Trump is America's back mole. He "may have seemed harmless a year ago but not that it's gotten frightening bigger, it's no longer wise to ignore it". He acknowledged that Trump does have a certain appeal, but that the appeal ends when you take a closer look. He rolled video of various Trump supporters explaining why the want Trump for President, listing the usual qualities like "he tells it like it is", and "he's successful". Oliver and the team at Last Week Tonight proceeded to break each one of these reasons down, and explain why Trump supporters are wrong.
"He Tells It Like It Is"
Except, no, not really. PolitiFact rated Trump's statements and found that 76% of them were varying degrees of lies. Oliver proceeded to name a few examples, starting with the way Trump once criticized Jon Stewart for changing his name, and subsequently denying it, despite the evidence on his Twitter page. He also pointed to Trump's recent assertion that he had been invited on the show a number of times, but denied the request. Oliver spoke about how "genuinely destabilizing it is to be on the receiving end of a lie that confident". He speculated that Trump may not even be aware that he's lying; that Trump simply gives no fucks about telling the truth.
"He's Running Independently And Is Beholden To No One"
Oliver introduced this by running a clip of Trump stating how he's rich and tells the truth, as though there is some correlation between the two. Trump also said that he had spent $20 to $25 million of his own money on his campaign. While it is true that Trump lacks corporate sponsors, it's "a bit of a stretch" to say that he is personally funding his campaign. For starters, most of his funding is in the way of loans to him from his corporations. Trump himself has personally contributed about $250,000, and he can pay himself back out of campaign funds. He has continuously said he only receives a "little bit" from individual donors, making it seem as though he receives envelopes stuffed with pocket change and is too kind to return them. In reality, individual contributions outweigh his own personal contribution - Americans around the country have given him nearly $7.5 million. And while it may seem sweet of him not to return those envelopes stuffed with dollar bills, "if he didn't want it, maybe he shouldn't have two donate buttons on his website".
"He Is Tough"
Trump is completely incapable of letting things go. As Oliver put it "for a tough guy, he has incredibly thin skin". For example, Vanity Fair said he was a "short-fingered Vulgarian" in 1984, and he has periodically sent their editor pictures of his hands ever since. These pictures are accompanied by a note that says "see, not so short!" written in gold Sharpie. The choice of writing implement is an appropriate one, however, as it's "something that gives the passing appearance of wealth but is actually just a cheap tool". Trump's signature move is to threaten a lawsuit whenever he is displeased. While he's made a number of threats over the years, he very rarely follows through.
Of course people think he's successful, he's maintained a consistent media presence, and boasts of his wealth at nearly every turn. He's also professed himself to be incredibly intelligent: "I know words, I have the best words". His own website boasts of his wealth, using all caps to do so. And yes, while he is rich, he got his start by receiving a multimillion dollar inheritance from his father, has lost large sums of money, and his companies have repeatedly gone under. Of course, anytime someone mentions this he threatens to sue, so Oliver decided to allow Trump's own daughter, Ivanka, explain the sad state of his finances. At one point, Trump was "in such extreme debt" that he told her a homeless person had more money than him. Still, Trump asserts that he is worth ten billion dollars, which has been disputed by many. In deposition, Trump explained how he arrives at completely subjective net worth. His value, he says, can be impacted by any number of things, including "feelings, even my own feelings...and that can change rapidly from day to day". Part of this self-valuation includes three billion dollars for his brand. While names do have power, and there is a dollar value that can be placed on a successful brand, Trump has put his name to a number of products that have been discontinued or gone belly-up.
Oliver once again acknowledged the allure of Trump's Presidential run, but implored viewers to:
Stop thinking about the mascot and start thinking about the man, because a candidate for President needs a coherent set of policies...Trump's opinions have been wildly inconsistent...and that inconsistency has been troubling...We have no way of knowing which of his inconsistent views he will hold in office.
Oliver spoke of the Trump brand, acknowledging that a large part of Trump’s appeal is contained within that name. That despite business failure after failure, people still see the name “Trump” synonymous with “success”. Oliver briefly lamented the fact that there it is incredibly difficult to divorce the two, before giving us the answer. A biographer found out that one of his ancestors actually changed their last name to Trump – from Drumpf. He introduced viewers to Donald Drumpf, "a litigious serial liar with a string of broken businesses with the support of a former Klan member, who he can't decide whether or not to condemn".
It was with this line, that the show introduced a new hashtag, with Oliver encouraging us all to #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain. They gave Trump a new theme song, and ended the show in spectacular style.
You can watch the Drumpf segment below. Last Week Tonight returns next Sunday at 11:00pm on HBO.