Jon Stewart is making the press rounds to promote his new oral history of the 16 years he spent at the helm of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” but naturally talk has mostly turned to the surprise election of Donald Trump as president. To Stewart, though, it wasn’t as much of a surprise, as he told Charlie Rose on “CBS This Morning” Thursday. “It all ties together,” Stewart said.
And while Stewart wasn’t surprised, he did take aim at Republican leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who he said have made political careers out of telling people government doesn’t work, then ensuring that it doesn’t. “Donald Trump is a reaction not just to Democrats, but to Republicans. He is not a Republican — he’s a repudiation of Republicanism,” Stewart said. “But they will reap the benefits of his victory.”
Stewart didn’t let liberals off the hook, either. “I thought Donald Trump disqualified himself at numerous points,” he said. “But there is now this idea that anyone who voted for him has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric. There are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that I think have incredible qualities who are not afraid of Mexicans, and not afraid of Muslims, and not afraid of blacks. They’re afraid of their insurance premiums. In the liberal community, you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith. Don’t look at Muslims as a monolith. They are the individuals and it would be ignorance. But everybody who voted for Trump is a monolith, is a racist. That hypocrisy is also real in our country.”
Stewart isn’t despairing, though, despite the fact that Trump’s candidacy has given a large voice to, as he put it, “that thought that a multi-ethnic, multicultural democracy is impossible.” “I would rather have this conversation openly and honestly than with dog whistles,” he said. “This is the fight we wage against ourselves and each other. America is not natural. Natural is tribal. We’re fighting against thousands of years of human behavior and history to create something that no one’s ever done. That’s what’s exceptional about America.”
You can watch Stewart’s full interview below, or at “CBS This Morning.”