Comedian Stephen Colbert, host of the Late Show on CBS, twice flashed a Nazi salute on live television during a rant about US President Donald Trump earlier this week. During his first show after a two-week vacation, Colbert criticized Trump and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who resigned in mid-August.
At the end of the show's opening monologue, Colbert joked about a remark Bannon made during an interview with Charlie Rose after he left the White House. When pressed to explain his reasoning for defending President Donald Trump’s initial response to the car attack in Charlottesville last month, Bannon said Trump was taking things “up to a higher level.”
“Yeah, he’s definitely taking it to a higher level,” Colbert said.
“I’d say his support is about up there. Or right around here,” he said raising his arm in a Nazi salute. “Or over here,” he added, doing it again. “Or somewhere up there.”
While not the first celebrity to accuse Trump of being Hitler-lite, Colbert was the first to give a Nazi salute on national television. More importantly, it prompted conservative observers to wonder if CBS will apply the same standard as CNN did when it fired pro-Trump commentator Jeffrey Lord in early August.
Lord had tweeted “Sieg Heil!” – a Nazi slogan usually chanted with the salute – at a liberal critic in a manner that was obviously meant to be ironic. He first fired anyway.
“Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson told the network’s media writer Brian Stelter, at the time.
Of course, as Russia Today points out, the odds of Colbert getting fired are small, because what matters to the mainstream media is not the salute itself, but who does it.
This is not the first time Colbert has pushed the envelope of outrage in his coverage of Trump. In a tirade in May, he employed homophobic slurs to describe the relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Despite a torrent of complaints, the FCC declined to penalize the show.