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Stephen Colbert Defends Controversial Trump Jokes: ‘I Don’t Regret That’

Variety logo Variety 5/4/2017 Alex Stedman
'Late Show' host Stephen Colbert. © Variety 'Late Show' host Stephen Colbert.

Stephen Colbert has addressed the controversial jokes about President Donald Trumpthat sparked a #FireColbert campaign over the past two days… but stopped short of an apology.

“Welcome to ‘The Late Show.’ I’m your host, Stephen Colbert,” he says at the top of Wednesday night’s show, according to a transcript obtained from CBS. “Still? I am still the host? I’m still the host!!”

“Now, if you saw my monologue Monday, you know that I was a little upset at Donald Trump for insulting a friend of mine,” he continues. “So at the end of that monologue I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don’t regret that. He, I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight.”

The rant in question was sparked by Trump’s treatment of CBS News’ John Dickerson during an interview, when POTUS abruptly stopped the conversation after Dickerson questioned him about wire-tapping claims. Colbert took it upon himself to say to Trump the things Dickerson could not.

However, for some, it wasn’t Colbert’s harshness toward Trump that stirred backlash, but his decision to call Trump Vladimir Putin’s “c–k holster,” which many called homophobic. The host did address that controversy with a show of support for the LGBTQ community.

“So while I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be,” he says. “I’m not going to repeat the phrase, but I just want to say for the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is to me, an American hero. I think we can all agree on that. I hope even the president and I can agree on that. Nothing else. But, that.”

On Monday, Colbert addressed Trump directly, telling him, “Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine. You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign language gorilla that got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c–-k holster.”

Colbert’s defense of his comments mirrors his previous reactions in the face of controversy. In 2014, when he was hosting “The Colbert Report,” he faced backlash for a joke that some called racist toward Asians and Asian-Americans, spurring a #CancelColbert hashtag. Colbert took the opportunity to revel in the controversy, even referencing the firestorm on future episodes of the show.

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