Late-night hosts discuss GOP conspiracy theories over the Omicron variant and Fox News attacks on Fauci’s credibility
Jimmy Kimmel came to Anthony Fauci’s defense on Tuesday evening, condemning Republican officials and Fox News pundits who have smeared the doctor’s character amid concern over the new (and still poorly understood) Omicron variant of the virus.
Kimmel tore into such rightwing figures as Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Rand Paul, who in recent days have labeled Fauci a self-proclaimed “deity” and dismissed his scientific advice as self-motivated grandiosity; Fox Nation host Lara Logan even compared him to the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, drawing condemnation from the Anti-Defamation League and the Columbia School of Journalism.
Kimmel was out of patience. “Let me tell you screwballs something about Dr Fauci, because I’ve had enough of this and he’s too nice to say this himself,” he said. “This man has been working on behalf of the public, that’s us, for more than 50 years,” serving under six presidents starting with Ronald Reagan.
“To suggest that his politics have anything to do with his work or what he recommends? It’s ridiculous, and it’s a lie, and he doesn’t deserve it.”
Kimmel continued to decry “scumbags” like Paul, Cruz, and “that vile, inflatable Macy’s parade balloon of dogshit Tucker Carlson” for attacking Fauci’s credibility and character. “The reason they do it is so they can keep terrifying old people, which is basically what they do for a living: they scare senior citizens in order to get ratings and money and votes, but to do that they need villains. To scare Grandma, they need fresh villains. So they zero in on this tiny, adorable old man who’s done nothing but good for the world.
“They’d say he invented mosquitoes if people were dumb enough to believe it,” he added. “And guess what, people are dumb enough to believe it.”
On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert checked in on the new Omicron variant, which, according to some scientists seems to be more transmissible, though cases appear to be mild. “So we’re grading the variants on the salsa scale now,” the host joked. “In that case, I look forward to the Atomic Ghost Pepper Extra Chunky Variant.”
It will be weeks until definitive data becomes available, but preliminary reports suggest the variant could evade vaccines. “It’s a scientific phenomenon known as Aaron Rodgers,” Colbert quipped.
In response to the variant, Joe Biden attempted to calm the public on Monday, calling Omicron “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic”.
“What? I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening, I was ordering 700 rolls of toilet paper – out of concern, not panic,” Colbert responded.
Biden also promised to unveil a new strategy this week “outlining how we’re going to fight Covid this winter, not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widely spread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more”.
“And more? Can you be more specific than ‘and more’?” Colbert noted. “Is this the health of our nation or the weird kitchenware and food section of TJ Maxx – ‘Don’t panic folks, we’ll treat this with vaccinations, boosters, testing, a journal that says ‘hope’ on the front, a broken egg timer and a bottle of what appears to be maple syrup that has no label on it.’”
The right-wing Omicron conspiracy theories have arrived pic.twitter.com/8q7UEAzD62
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) December 1, 2021
And on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah tore into Republican conspiracy theories over the Omicron variant. Former White House physician and current Maga congressman from Texas Ronny Jackson, for instance, tweeted that Omicron was the “midterm election variant” concocted by Democrats to encourage mail-in voting.
“Just so I’ve got this straight: according to this conspiracy, the Democrats’ big plan is to intentionally never solve the one problem that is ruining everyone’s life?” Noah wondered. “That is such a dumbass strategy to win an election.
“You realize for this to be true, the Democrats would’ve had to coordinate on this lie with the World Health Organization AND South African scientists AND governments across Europe,” he continued. “Are you serious, people? You know the Democrats can’t coordinate shit. The only thing Democrats can coordinate is their Kente cloths.”
Noah also took former Trump adviser Stephen Miller to task for arguing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show that the US would “already have modified vaccines” for new variants if Trump were still in office.
“The idea that Donald Trump would’ve quickly handled a Covid variant is by far the least believable shit I have ever heard,” he said. “You’re going to act like we all don’t know this man? There’s no way he would’ve handled it.
“First of all, he would’ve spent four months denying there was even a new variant, then he would’ve wasted six more months saying that the vaccines were on their way, but also don’t worry about it because it’s not going to hurt anybody, but also the vaccines are coming. Then he would’ve gotten Omicron himself, and then he would’ve been like ‘Omicron is real, folks! And I made it, I karate chopped it so hard.’”