Comedian Jon Stewart says the presidential election was no laughing matter, and the aftermath is even less funny.
Stewart, who quit as host of “The Daily Show” during the summer after 16 years, told “CBS This Morning” Wednesday it’s wrong to assume everyone who voted for Donald Trump believes in the most egregious things he said during the campaign, calling it hypocritical for liberals to make them into a monolithic force that fears Mexicans, Muslims and African-Americans.
Instead, he said, the people he knows in his neighborhood who voted for Trump are “afraid of their insurance premiums.”
Stewart shrugged off fears former Breitbart head Stephen Bannon, whom Trump named as his chief White House strategist, is anti-Semitic.
“Have you listened to the Nixon tapes? … Have you read LBJ? Do you know our history?” Stewart asked.
Stewart said he feels bad for those feeling uncertain or insecure in the wake of the balloting, but “I don’t believe we are a fundamentally different country today than we were two weeks ago.”
He said he was surprised no one really challenged Trump’s slogan, “Make America great again.”
“What are the metrics? Because it seems like from listening to him, the metrics are that it’s a competition. And I think what many would say is [that] what makes us great is — America is an anomaly in the world,” Stewart said.
“Nobody -- there are a lot of people, and I think … his candidacy has animated that thought — that a multiethnic democracy, a multicultural democracy is impossible. And that is what America [is] by its founding, and constitutionally is — unlike every other state.”
Stewart called Republicans “cynical” in their approach, forcing government gridlock to prove the system doesn’t work. He said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan can’t help drain the swamp — something Trump pledged to do on the campaign trail — because “those guys are the swamp.”
Ryan and McConnell were re-elected to their leadership positions this week.
Stewart said Trump’s election is a reaction to Republicans as well as Democrats and predicted, “Republicans are going to come to Jesus now about the power of government.”
Trump already has run into criticism for the makeup of his transition team, which initially included lobbyists in violation of its own code of ethics.