John Oliver has tried to ignore Donald Trump on HBO's “Last Week Tonight,” opting not to give the headline-grabbing Republican front-runner any additional media attention. That ended Sunday night.
The comedian came out swinging Sunday, explaining that Trump's success in primaries in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada has changed his mind about staying silent.
“He has now won three states, been endorsed by Chris Christie and is now leading in the polls in every Super Tuesday state,” said Oliver. “Donald Trump is America's back mole. It may have seemed harmless a year ago, but now it has gotten so big that is no longer wise to ignore it.”
Oliver went on to lampoon the candidate's inconsistent policy positions, sensitivity to criticism — particularly his penchant for threatening to sue detractors — and his financially unsound business ventures. The host remarked that even when one of Trump's statements or claimed accomplishments is seemingly debunked, it does not seem to stick in the court of public opinion.
"Even when you can demonstrably prove Trump to be wrong, it somehow never seems to matter," Oliver joked. "You can hold his feet to the fire, but he'll just stand there on the stumps, bragging about his fireproof foot skin."
Oliver concluded that much of Trump's appeal is tied to his name, which the businessman has spent much of his life turning into a valuable brand. The comedian argued that if critics were able to divorce Trump's name from his image, voters would give him a more honest appraisal. Oliver said his show's researchers discovered via one of Trump's biographies that an ancestor had changed the family name from “Drumpf” to “Trump” decades ago. Hoping the name “Drumpf” will be less marketable, Oliver urged his audience to promote the hashtag “MakeDonaldDrumfAgain” on Twitter — a riff on the candidate's “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Will Oliver's renaming campaign help unseat Trump in the Republican presidential race? It may be too late. Trump has a large lead in the delegate count, with 79. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is in a distance second with 16 delegates, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has 15 delegates. To secure the nomination, 1,237 delegates are needed, with 12 states and hundreds of delegates at stake in the Super Tuesday primaries on March 1. Trump is leading in most states' polls.