Jon Stewart returned to host The daily show Monday, and in less than three minutes, he was already attacking Donald Trump – but also Joe Biden, taking a critical look at the apparent problems linked to the president's age.
In announcing “Indecision 2024: Elective Dysfunction,” Stewart dove straight into Special Advisor Robert Hur's report that exonerated President Biden on the issue of mishandling classified documents while seemingly torpedoing his re-election efforts with its description Biden harshly as an elderly man with a bad memory. Stewart showed clips of Trump and the former president's family being impeached and unable to remember some basic facts. “It turns out the leading cause of early-onset dementia is disappearing,” Stewart said (video monologue below).
But then Stewart showed footage of Biden's disastrous press conference Friday's attempt to assure Americans he was still up to the world's most important job. “So Joe Biden held a big press conference to dispel the notion that he might have lost a step and, politically speaking, might have lost three or four steps…” and later noted: “[But] During rallies, Trump regularly says things that would justify a health check.”
Stewart played a clip of Vice President Kamala Harris assuring that in closed-door meetings, Biden is “smart…on his game…and above all else.” Stewart asked skeptically, “Did anyone film that?” …It would be nice to show people.”
Stewart also played Biden's first TikTok video launched over the weekend, noting that the president instead declined to sit for the traditional pre-Super Bowl interview. The video included the president making a comment about chocolate chip cookies, and Stewart joked: “How do you go on TikTok and end up searching older?”
“Both of these candidates face the same challenge,” Stewart said. “And it's not crazy to think that the oldest people in the history of the country to run for president might encounter some of these challenges…We're not suggesting that either man is dynamic, productive or even capable. But they're both pushing the limits of their ability to do the hardest job in the world. What's crazy is thinking that it's us, as voters, who have to silence the concerns and criticism. It's the candidates' job to allay concerns, not the voters' job, let alone [them] …We have two candidates who, chronologically, are outside the norm of anyone who has run for president in the history of this country – breaking the record they set!
Stewart, naturally, didn't suggest that this meant the two candidates were equally flawed overall and quickly dispelled many concerns about Trump. But, he argued, the threat Trump poses to Democrats and democracy is all the more reason why his opponent should ideally be someone stronger than Biden.
“Look, Joe Biden is not Donald Trump,” he said. “He hasn't been indicted as many times, had as many fraudulent businesses, or been convicted in a civil trial for sexual assault or ordered to pay for defamation or stiff blue-collar trader charges ….. The stakes in this election don't make Donald Trump's opponent any less subject to scrutiny. In fact, it makes it more subjected to careful scrutiny. If the barbarians are at the gate, you want Conan [the Barbarian] standing on the ramparts, not the chocolate chip cookie guy.
Stewart also criticized Biden's description of Israel's response to Hamas attacks as “overblown.” Stewart said: “Biden describes Israel's relentless bombing of civilians the same way my mother talks about the Super Bowl halftime show. »
Comedy Central shocked Daily show fans last month by announcing that Stewart would return to the late-night series as executive producer and once-a-week host. For non-Monday shows – which Stewart will help run behind the scenes – The daily show hosting duties will be divided among her team of correspondents (which includes Jordan Klepper, Desi Lydic, Ronny Chieng, Michael Kosta and Dulcé Sloan).
The move follows the collapse of Stewart's partnership with Apple TV+, where he produced the discussion series, The problem with Jon Stewart.
Earlier Monday, Stewart told CBS Mornings his reason for returning to the show he previously hosted for 16 years.
“I really wanted to have a place to vent my thoughts as we go into this election season,” Stewart said. “I thought I was going to do it on… Apple TV+. … They decided, they felt they didn't want me to say things that might get me in trouble. …I don't know if 'hope to have an influence,' but I hope to have a catharsis and a way of commenting on things and a way of expressing it that I hope people will like.
Stewart's rehiring helps consolidate The daily show during what is shaping up to be a tumultuous election year. The show's last full-time host, Trevor Noah, resigned unexpectedly in 2022 after seven years behind the desk.
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