John Oliver made his return to HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” on March 29 after a brief hiatus due to the coronavirus, and the late night host wasted no time ripping Donald Trump for his “failed” and “irresponsible” response to the global pandemic. As Oliver said, “Again and again, Trump has failed to give this crisis the seriousness it deserves…It didn’t need to be this hard. That is why it is so profoundly disheartening that we are being led through this crisis by a man who may be less equipped to deal with this historical moment than anyone in recorded history.”
“It’s critically important for America to be getting a clear, consistent message about the severity of the threat we’re currently facing,” Oliver added. “That is the only way we will be able to manage this virus, contain casualties, and get back to something resembling normalcy.”
Oliver expressed criticism over Trump’s delay in responding to the coronavirus threat, noting that Trump could have helped solve the nationwide shortage in hospital masks and ventilators by enacting the Defense Production Act as early as late January or February. Had Trump made the move, he would have pushed companies like General Motors to produce supplies sooner. Oliver argued Trump waited too long, only to tell the country that his administration is ahead of the outbreak.
“It’s worth taking a moment to appreciate just how irresponsible that attitude is,” Oliver said. “Because we wasted so much time that we could have spent preparing, the virus is now widespread. And thanks to how we have massively botched the rollout of testing the virus, we still don’t know how exactly how bad things are.”
Oliver added, “For once, something has come along that is more toxic and more threatening than this president.” The television host concluded by saying he is “rooting for [Trump] to do this better,” pointing to how Ohio governor Mike DeWine and New York governor Andrew Cuomo have responded.
The March 29 episode of “Last Week Tonight” was Oliver’s first since signing off for a hiatus on March 16. During that episode, Oliver blasted Trump’s coronavirus response as “catastrophic” and urged Americans to listen to the Center of Disease Control over the President when it comes to facts about the pandemic. Oliver said the White House’s response was a “complete mess” because of all the lies Trump has told the American people.
New episodes of “Last Week Tonight” air Sunday nights at 11 p.m. ET on HBO.