“Every four years, around this time of the election, people start to worry about an October surprise,” said Stephen Colbert on Wednesday evening, just 13 days away from the election. And on Wednesday, “we got more than October surprised. We got October appalled” by a compromising scene of Rudy Giuliani in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Sacha Baron Cohen’s follow-up to his hit satirical prank film from 2006.
In a scene from the movie, streaming on Amazon Prime starting 23 October, the former mayor of New York and Donald Trump’s personal lawyer agrees to follow an actor playing Borat’s daughter, posing as a journalist, into a hotel suite for cocktails; “Ghouliani”, as Colbert called him, is caught on camera reaching into his pants and appearing to touch his genitals while reclining on a bed.
The scene was interrupted by Cohen, in character as Borat, who runs into the room and says: “She’s 15. She’s too old for you.” “Never a great sign when the moral authority in a situation comes from a guy who once handed a woman a bag of his own poop,” Colbert deadpanned.
Giuliani dismissed criticism as misplaced, claiming on WABC radio that his shirt came untucked as he was removing “electronic equipment” from the film. “I’m tucking my shirt in. I assure you that’s all I was doing.”
“OK, I would buy that, but I watched the footage,” Colbert said. “Why did you go into a bedroom at the suggestion of a young woman to have cocktails to take off a mic? I take off a mic every night. Never once have I reclined on a king-sized bed and then launched a fact-finding mission to my own groin.”
Giuliani, like his legal client, has made innumerable public blunders, “but we should never let [Trump’s] stupidity overshadow the fact that he’s also a heartless monster who must be driven from office and eventually dragged in manacles before the Hague”, Colbert said, “because of all the horrible things he and his administration has done, perhaps the horriblest is their family separation policy on the border”.
A court filing released on Tuesday revealed that the government, ordered months ago to reunite migrant families separated at the US border by the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, still have not been able to locate the parents of 545 children. “We have two weeks to decide what kind of country this is gonna be,” Colbert said gravely. “Either this inhumane behavior is going to be punished by the voters, or just change the Statue of Liberty to read, ‘Give me your tired, your poor and half a million dollars in unmarked bills if you want to see the kids again.’”
Five hundred and forty-five children still separated from their parents, “and yet there are still people who haven’t made up their minds”, Colbert continued. “There are still people who are going to vote for him. And I know that people vote on a lot of different issues, but now that we know that these children were stolen from their parents and cannot be returned because of the negligence of this administration, that is one of the things you’re voting on. You can’t say you don’t know.”
The New York Times revealed on Wednesday that Trump has an undisclosed Chinese bank account, and paid China over $188,000 in taxes from 2013-2015 – far more than the $750 he paid in American taxes for the years 2016-2018. “I feel like at the end of this we’re gonna find out that Hunter Biden is actually Trump’s son in a real Darth Vader-y twist on this story,” joked Jimmy Kimmel.
“Now that we’ve found out he’s a longtime Chinese taxpayer, Trump has every right to be furious about China’s response to the coronavirus – he’s practically a citizen of their country.
“Of course Donald Trump had a Chinese bank account,” Kimmel continued. “He had to – he’s running out of things to be hypocritical about. It was the only thing left. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he tunneled under the border from Mexico into the country.”
On Full Frontal, Samantha Bee recapped “the nightmare before the election” AKA how America’s voting system “has so many traps it’s like it was designed by Jigsaw”. Americans have voted early in record numbers, “which is inspiring,” she added, but “Democrats have to show up, because our Jigsaw is working harder than ever to keep votes from being counted”.
Republicans plan to spend $20m in voting rights lawsuits in 2020 and, “as always, they are doing it under the guise of preventing widespread voter fraud”, Bee explained, “which they still haven’t proven exists, because it fucking doesn’t”.
“Voter fraud is basically the imaginary girlfriend who lives in Canada of rightwing politics,” she added. “Everyone knows it’s fake but that doesn’t stop Republicans from yanking off to it.
“More than a million votes can be thrown out this election,” she continued, “partially because mail-in voting rules are different in every state and are as intentionally confusing as a 12-sided Rubik’s cube.” Mail-in ballots could be tossed for postage issues, signature inconsistencies, or incorrect envelopes.
Still, turnout so far is five times what it was in 2016 – an encouraging if limited reason for optimism. “We have only 13 days until the election,” Bee concluded. “That’s less than two weeks to mail in your absentee ballot, vote early, or make a plan to vote in person on November 3. We all have to show up.”