"There have been some dark subjects that we talk about on the show occasionally, but I've rarely been as upset as I am tonight," said Stephen Colbert at the start of his first episode since the insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6. In a passionate 14-minute monologue, the Late Show host denounced President Donald Trump, Republican lawmakers, and conservative media organizations for gradually inciting the shameful siege, which Colbert also described as "Charlottesville come home to roost on Capitol Hill."
"This is the most shocking, most tragic, least surprising thing I have ever seen."
Calling the lame-duck president a "violent stoker," Colbert said the day's events were appalling but unsurprising: "Who could have seen this coming? Everyone? Even dummies like me. This is the most shocking, most tragic, least surprising thing I have ever seen." Colbert later added, "These people who stormed the Capitol today have eagerly swallowed divisive bullcrap at the president's rallies for five years. They now live in an alternate universe that is now collapsing in on itself. It's like a black hole of whiteness."
Colbert had harsh words for Republican congress members who enabled Trump and continued to fuel conspiracy theories about the security of the presidential election. "For years now people have been telling you cowards that if you let the president lie about our democracy over and over — and then join him in that lie and say he's right when you know for a fact that he is not — there will be a terrible price to pay. But you just never thought you'd have to pay it too," he said. "I really do hope you're enjoying those tax cuts."
Colbert also directly named several congress members who raised objections during the delayed electoral vote, including Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, and noted, "In 2022, when all of those Republicans — who, make no mistake, are responsible for what happened today — are running for reelection, let's remember them for who they showed themselves to be today: cynical cowards who believe the voters should not get to choose who governs this country," he said. "You can run all you want for the rest of your lives, but you can never escape the responsibility of what you brought upon American democracy today."