On Sunday night, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight took on a truly chaotic week. President Trump sweated and bellowed through an unhinged NBC town hall where he voiced his support for the baseless QAnon conspiracy-theory crowd, who allege that Democrats and Hollywood are trafficking and murdering babies. He resumed his COVID superspreader rallies and shared a batshit-insane conspiracy theory that Barack Obama and Joe Biden did not kill Osama bin Laden in Operation Neptune Spear and instead had SEAL Team Six killed. Never mind the fact that the SEALs who took out bin Laden are still very much alive—including Robert J. O’Neill, the man who claims to have fired the bin Laden kill shot and is a vocal Trump supporter.
There were also two days of Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett conducted by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Barrett, of course, is Trump and the Federalist Society’s chosen replacement for the late liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg—and Barrett is a hyper-conservative judge with limited experience who once called Roe v. Wade “barbaric” and once ruled that an employee being called the N-word by his boss did not contribute to a hostile work environment.
“They included two full days of questions and non-answers, perhaps best summed up by this exchange,” Oliver explained, before throwing to a (totally, completely, surely unstaged) clip of Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) asking Barrett what was on her notepad, only to have Barrett beam and hold up a blank pad, proud of having brought/taken zero notes.
“It’s really not that impressive at all—partly because it’s emblematic of the fact that she dodged almost everything she was asked, and partly because this hearing was preordained by the Republicans,” said Oliver. “That pad could have contained a drawing of a muscular, anatomically correct Garfield, and they’d still have all said, ‘That’s very impressive. It’s a ‘yes’ from me.”
There were, Oliver noted, some eye-opening parts of the Barrett hearings that should be chilling to those with liberal values—or who care about human rights.
“Although Barrett was evasive, there were still telling moments—like her refusing to say that she accepts climate change as a scientific fact, arguing that Roe v. Wade is not a superprecedent, and referring to gay people as having a ‘sexual preference’ rather than orientation, which is just ridiculous, because it’s clearly not a preference. No one just chooses to be attracted to the same sex, or a different sex, or to Adam Driver. We all simply are,” Oliver said.