“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” has been on hiatus for a few weeks, but when it returned Sunday (July 24), Oliver of course had to take aim at the Republican National Convention. He did so in two ways — he tore apart the “feelings over facts” rhetoric that was the overriding theme of the RNC, but he also put together an amazing video of artists who are mad about politicians using their songs without asking.
“If artists want to lend their music to politicians, that’s fine. But it’s not OK for politicians to just take their songs. It is time for musicians to come together and take a stand,” says Oliver, introducing a “Don’t Use Our Songs” music video featuring Heart, Michael Bolton, Usher, Cyndi Lauper, Sheryl Crowe, Josh Groban, John Mellencamp and Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons.
But back to the convention, which Oliver calls “the most apocalyptic thing ever to happen to that city and bear in mind their river has repeatedly caught fire.”
Oliver first digs into some of the platitudes said about Donald Trump, including that he’s a “visionary” and good at managing people.
“Now, before you laugh, you cannot say that Donald Trump isn’t a visionary. For a long time, he was the only one who envisioned himself as a presidential nominee,” says Oliver. “He is basically what happens if ‘The Secret’ gets into the wrong hands.”
“But that message of Trump as a skilled manager was somewhat undercut by the fact the entire convention was a mismanaged shitshow, from Melania Trump using a partly plagiarized speech, to Ted Cruz being booed off the stage for not endorsing Donald Trump, to the fact that supposedly Donald Trump knew Ted Cruz wouldn’t endorse him and didn’t care.”
But the truly scary part was that the convention was “a four-day exercise in emphasizing feelings over facts.”
Oliver says Trump’s speech on night four was “light on concrete policy, but heavy on provoking strong emotions … because between those 24 minutes of applause was a symphony of bile and race-baiting.”
“If you’re thinking, ‘Eventually reality will set in because if elected, Trump would actually have to deal with facts,’ well, I’m not so sure about that.”
Oliver cites the New York Times story this week that Trump had conversations with Ohio Gov. John Kasich about being his running mate. Kasich told the NYT that Trump basically said that as VP, Kasich would be in charge of “foreign and domestic policy,” with Trump being in charge of “Making America great again,” which, as Oliver points out, “is objectively not a job.”
However, Oliver says that might actually be the best-case scenario if Trump is elected.
“The notion that Donald Trump would be a hands-off president might actually represent the best-case scenario here. The much more frightening prospect would be if he were hands-on.”