Stephen Colbert made another lewd sex joke about President Donald Trump on The Late Show Monday—and if history is anything to go by, it won’t go down well with Trump, or the right wing.
In his monologue at the start of Monday’s program on CBS, Colbert hit back at Trump's claim that his criticism of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem has "nothing to do with race." (The phenomenon, you’ll recall, began last season with ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem in silent protest of racial injustice in America.)
“Wrong. Kneeling during the national anthem has everything to do with race,” Colbert responded. But then came the punchline that is sure to divide opinion: “Just like your presidency.”
The inference there that Trump, too, kneeled to help clinch the presidency—alluding to a sexual act.
Back in May, Colbert, describing the apparently cosy relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, stoked criticism—from Americans across the political spectrum—when he made a crass sex joke about the world leaders. He quipped that the only thing the president’s “mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.”
That comment prompted far-right Trump supporters to trend the hashtag #FireColbert, tweeting criticism at CBS and encouraging people to call the program’s sponsors and advertisers to pull their commercials. Viewers also complained to the Federal Communications Commission, who ultimately cleared Colbert’s remarks.
Trump also weighed in, prompting a public mud-slinging between himself and the late-night talk show host. The president said at the time: “You see a no-talent guy like Colbert. There’s nothing funny about what he says. And what he says is filthy. And you have kids watching.”
But it wasn’t just the right. Members of the LGBT community found Colbert’s remarks problematic, possibly even homophobic.
The deputy editor for the Huffington Post's Queer Voices section, James Michael Nichols, wrote: “Colbert’s decision to make this kind of joke illustrates a kind of casual homophobia that permeates American culture―even among supposed liberal allies with massive media platforms. It positions sex between two men as doing something so mockable and inherently emasculating that it’s the ultimate ‘fuck you’ to Donald Trump."
Colbert responded to the growing furore on The Late Show a few days later, saying he did not regret insulting the president but he “would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be.”
Monday’s remarks were a little more veiled, but the sentiment similar. Will Trump bite back this time?