Seth Meyers on Trump’s mad New Jersey rally: ‘Bruce Springsteen is bad but Hannibal Lecter is good?’

Late-night host left utterly baffled by Republican presidential candidate’s latest remarks

Joe Sommerlad
Wednesday 15 May 2024 08:10
Seth Meyers utterly baffled by Trump’s mad New Jersey rally rhetoric

Late-night host Seth Meyers spoke for the nation on his show on Monday night after Donald Trump’s campaign rally left him asking: “So Springsteen and the district attorney are bad, but Scarface, Hannibal Lecter and hotdogs are good?”

The Republican presidential candidate – clearly enjoying being freed from his court commitments in New York, where he is currently spending four days a week at his hush-money trial in Manhattan – made headlines by taking to the stage in Wildwood, New Jersey, on Saturday night and praising the fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

Silence of the Lambs! Has anyone ever seen Silence of the Lambs?” Mr Trump asked the MAGA faithful congregating on the Jersey Shore. “The late, great Hannibal Lecter. He’s a wonderful man. He oftentimes would have a friend for dinner. Remember the last scene? ‘Excuse me, I’m about to have a friend for dinner,’ as this poor doctor walks by.

“‘I’m about to have a friend for dinner.’ But Hannibal Lecter. Congratulations, the late, great Hannibal Lecter…”

It was just one of many bizarre non-sequiturs Mr Trump launched into, also regaling the crowd at length about the hotdog he had just enjoyed on the boardwalk, likening his legal plight to the notorious Prohibition-era gangster Al Capone (nicknamed “Scarface”) and bragging the size of the audience that had gathered to hear him speak dwarfed anything that local legend Bruce Springsteen could attract.

Seth Meyers ridicules Donald Trump over his praise for fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter on Monday 13 May 2024 (Late Night with Seth Meyers/YouTube)

Trump also managed to get in a series of nasty jabs at his political rivals, calling President Joe Biden“a total moron”, the hush money case against him “a Biden show trial,” and branding Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney who filed the indictment last spring, “Fat Alvin,” dismissing him baselessly as “very corrupt.”

Reflecting on the rally during Late Night with Seth Meyers, the comedian opened by ridiculing a very sedate New York Times headline covering the speech that read, “Away From the Confines of a Courtroom, Trump Rallies Beachside at the Jersey Shore,” first by reciting it in the style of a pre-war black-and-white newsreel and then in the voice of Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker’s character from Sex and the City.

“I know we take chunks of his speeches and put them in A Closer Look, but is he taking chunks of Closer Looks and just putting them in his speeches now?” Mr Meyers asked of Mr Trump, referring to the title of his opening monologue while incredulous at the sheer strangeness of the candidate’s off-the-cuff remarks.

“The whole time I was watching that, I was thinking, ‘Is that a f***ing bit we did?’

“So if you’re keeping track – though why would you? – Springsteen and the district attorney are bad, but Scarface, Hannibal Lecter and hotdogs are good.”

He continued: “Seriously, who the hell goes to New Jersey to attack Burce Springsteen? What’s next on your cross-country insult tour? Are you going to go to Boston and attack Ben Affleck while you drink Starbucks in a Yankees hat?”

Trump praises fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter during rally speech. (Reuters)

Mr Meyers went on to question the validity of Mr Trump’s claim in Wildwood that Frank Sinatra had once advised him, “Never eat before you perform”, noting the crooner died in 1998 long before there was any question of the real estate tycoon “performing,” being neither a reality TV personality or a politician in the late 90s.

Given Mr Trump’s insistence that President Biden is in a state of cognitive decline, the host also spent time on the Republican candidate’s own inability to remember the name of former president Jimmy Carter, whom he confused with retired tennis champion Jimmy Connors, struggling over the name “Jimmy”, as Mr Meyers observed, “like a guy trying to start a lawnmower.”

Only then was the comic free to pivot to talking about Michael Cohen’s star turn on the witness stand, enjoying the absurdity of the ex-president’s estranged former right-hand man being asked to identify his old boss.

But, it was Mr Trump’s remarks to reporters after leaving the courthouse that brought matters full circle.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey (AP)

After ranting about the presiding judge, Juan Merchan, Mr Trump had turned on his heel and departed as members of the press called out unanswered follow-up questions, one of which was simply: “Why Hannibal Lecter?”

Marveling at this, Mr Meyers observed: “‘Why Hannibal Lecter?’ is such an amazing question to yell at a presidential candidate.

“By the way, that question was nestled between two other questions about his criminal trial for defrauding voters by paying hush money to a porn star.

“For any other candidate, getting asked the question ‘Why Hannibal Lecter?’ would mean you’re in a five-alarm s***storm, but for Trump it’s just a normal Monday.”

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