Dave Chappelle: Donald Trump, Russia Hacking Didn't Make America Racist, We Already Were

Comedians Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart warned Americans against giving President Donald Trump "too much credit" in defining the country, saying racial and class divisions existed well before him or Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

Chappelle, who earlier this month said he believes Trump's rhetoric has become "repugnant," told CNN International's Christiane Amanpour it has been "very difficult to watch the last couple of years" of this administration leading the country. The comedian defended his 2016 "Saturday Night Live" monologue about giving Trump "a chance" just days after the election, noting alongside Stewart that his optimism about Trump being a good leader has faded.

Chappelle also took issue with people who argue America's wide-ranging problems including racial and class inequality began with Trump's 2016 presidential election win.

"Even when they say that Russia influenced the election," Chappelle told Amanpour in an interview set to air Tuesday afternoon, "it's kind of like, is Russia making us racist? Is that who's doing it? Oh OK, oh my God, thank goodness -- I thought it was us."

Dave Chappelle
Comedians Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart warned Americans against giving President Donald Trump "too much credit" defining the country, saying racial and class divisions existed well before any 2016 Russian election meddling. Getty Images Kevin WinterStaff

When asked by Amanpour whether the "Trump era" has been great for comedic content, Chappelle responded, "I would not even name the era after him. He's getting too much credit."

"If [Russia] killed the country that way, then we're the murder weapon," Chappelle quipped. "[Trump]'s not making the wave, he's surfing it."

Chappelle defended his 2016 SNL monologue about giving Trump a chance to prove himself in office, calling it the "right thing at the right time." He noted that black Americans have watched many elections go by with mixed feelings and "to some degree, people overreacted." But Chappelle said many people saw "storming the street" as the only real alternative to giving Trump a chance in the weeks after his election, according to CNN.

"Is he doing a good job? Am I happy with what he's doing?" Chappelle asked rhetorically. "No, it's been very difficult to watch the last couple of years."

Sitting alongside Chappelle, former "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart agreed "there was a part of me" that hoped Trump's ascendancy to the White House would cause him to evolve beyond the controversial candidate he was in the lead-up to his election.

"Oddly enough, he transformed the White House, and the White House wasn't able to transform him."

Chappelle and Stewart's interview with Amanpour will air on CNN International at 2 p.m. ET and on PBS at 11 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Dave Chappelle: Donald Trump, Russia Hacking Didn't Make America Racist, We Already Were | Culture