Sixteen years ago, Jon Stewart went on CNN’s Crossfire and told co-hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala they were “hurting America.” He was noticeably more forgiving to the hosts of The View on Monday.
Perhaps that was because he had bigger fish to fry. The former Daily Show host was there to promote his new movie Irresistible, but The View was clearly more interested in hearing his thoughts on the state of the 2020 race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
Stewart has been fairly measured in his commentary during this rare press tour over the past week, but he couldn’t help but let it rip when they asked him to weigh in on the day’s “Hot Topics,” including Trump’s “White Power” retweet from over the weekend.
“I think just ‘white power’ is playing in his head all the time,” Stewart said. “So he hears it from somewhere else. I think it’s just playing in his head all the time so he doesn’t really listen to it.” He joked that the parade at The Villages in Florida reminded him of a lot of Passover seders he’s been to over the years.
Speaking to his friend Stephen Colbert last week, Stewart explained that he was more of a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren supporter during the primary but now believes Biden might just be the “man of the moment.” But while he said he wasn’t just going to make the “negative case” for electing Biden over Trump, he had plenty to say about the current president on The View.
“What’s Donald Trump going to run on, his record? That’s not going to happen,” he said. “This is going to be the single most divisive campaign we’ve ever faced. He’s going to be meth-head Nixon. It’s going to be Southern strategy, all fear mongering. You see it right now. He’s basically just sitting in his basement tweeting out fear-based trolling videos. This is what it’s going to be.”
Stewart believes Biden can be a leader of “humility” because “we certainly have the antithesis of that” with Trump. “Right now we have a president who professes he loves America, but apparently hates about 53% of the people living in it,” he said. “I think we need a break. This guy’s exhausting. When you talk about the pandemic and all the challenges we face, I think the greatest agent of chaos in this country today is the president, which is bananas.”
Speaking directly to Trump’s failures on COVID-19, Stewart said, “We’re so dysfunctional. It’s beyond maddening. This is a time where leadership is so crucial. People are truly suffering, not just for the illness, but economically, and you need leadership that has the humility to know that we are facing something we haven’t faced, who doesn’t think they have all the answers and this isn’t just about re-election politics.”
“This is a strategy on their part, because they believe the more fear they gin up, the better chance they have to get elected,” he continued. It’s cynical. It’s so cynical. And it’s going to hurt people.”