Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 3, Episode 18 - Republican National Convention - full transcript

John talks about US election 2016, Republican National Convention, appointment of Boriss Johnson as UK Foreign Secretary, unauthorized use of songs in political campaigns and a bit more about Donald Trump.

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Welcome to Last Week Tonight !
Thank you so much for joining us.

I'm John Oliver.
Time for a quick recap of the week.

And we begin
with the 2016 presidential election,

or as you probably know it, America's
3D Imax Shit-Fit Dumpster Fire of 2016.

This week, the Republicans held
their convention more on that later.

Tomorrow, the Democrats' convention
begins, and it is off to a bumpy start.

Not because their chair
has announced plans to resign,

due to the contents
of thousands of leaked emails,

but also because Hillary's pick
for running mate of Tim Kaine

has not exactly inspired people.

He's a white guy,
who's a little boring.

He seems kind of dull.

He's somebody that has sort
of had the moniker of boring.

Mayonnaise sandwich
on wheat bread.

Okay, we get it.
Tim Kaine is boring.

He's a white gym sock
pulled all the way up.

He's a granny smith apple
for dessert.

He's a single dry-hump
in the missionary position.

While some commentators
tried to fight that narrative,

it didn't really work.

Maybe he's not the most exciting
person in the world,

but he has a personality,
he really does.

We're making a lot
about Tim Kaine knowing Spanish.

He won the 2013 National Press Club
Centennial Spelling Bee.

He plays the harmonica,
an interesting fun fact.

Is it ? Is that a fun fact ?

Let's take a look at Tim Kaine
playing his harmonica,

and see exactly how fun it is.

That is a performance that would make
an insurance firm middle manager

say to his assistant: "Let's not
do the talent show next year."

There has been minimal excitement
from Democrats regarding Kaine pick.

Think of it like this: for months,
the party's been looking at the VP slot

as a gift that Hillary
was going to give them.

Everyone was so excited.
Was it a puppy ?

A PlayStation ? Elizabeth Warren ?

No !
It turned out to be a rice cooker.

A plain, white machine
that cooks plain, white rice.

That is what Tim Kaine is.
He's got instructions in Spanish,

and that's nice to have,
but he is still a fucking rice cooker.

Donald Trump also went with
a rice-cooker of a vice president.

Except it's worth remembering that
and it's crucial

Mike Pence is a rice cooker
covered in homophobic slogans

which is being held by a chimpanzee
who could bite your face off.

So... Relax, Democrats,
it could've been worse.

For now, let's move on to
the continuing fallout from Brexit

the name for both the UK's decision
to leave the EU,

and at least one baby in Brooklyn.

"Brexit, you put down your kombucha
and you come here."

Now, the UK has had
a dramatic few weeks.

David Cameron has stepped aside,
and Theresa May has taken over.

While it's clearly too early to know
what kind of leader she'll be,

one of her first appointments
was not really reassuring.

There were some surprises.

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson
is the new foreign secretary.

Yes, Boris Johnson...
A grown man

who looks like a problem child
at a day care center,

is now Britain's
new foreign secretary.

Boris Johnson ! A man
with horrifically poor judgment,

he wasn't Britain's most ardent
advocate for pulling out of the EU,

he may be its strongest argument
for pulling out in general.

"Pull out, Barnaby !

We don't want to make another Boris.
It would be ghastly."

Boris is a weird choice
for a diplomat.

Because, to put it mildly,
he has said a lot of dumb things.

As was pointed out

during a press conference
between him and John Kerry.

You've accused Barack Obama,
of harboring a part-Kenyan's,

quote, "ancestral dislike
for the British Empire," unquote.

You've described a possible
future president, Hillary Clinton,

as someone with
"dyed-blonde hair and pouty lips,

and a steely blue stare, like
a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital."

You've likened her to Lady Macbeth.
Do you take these comments back ?

It is not great when one of the first
questions you're being asked is,

"are you going to be as bad at your job
as all evidence suggests you will be ?"

Boris Johnson, a man whose face looks
like he quantum leaped into his body

and hasn't figured out who he is yet
had an answer, sort of.

I'm afraid that there is such a rich
thesaurus of things that I've said

that have been one way or another,
through what alchemy I do not know,

somehow misconstrued,

that it would really take me too long
to engage in a full global itinerary

of apology to all concerned.

That is the exact sound that
the Oxford English Dictionary makes

when you put it in a blender.

But while Boris Johnson,
a washed up scarecrow

who never thought to ask the wizard
for a brain, seems to think that

it'd take too long to adjudicate
the idiotic things he's said and done,

let me give you just a taste more
of Britain's new chief diplomat.

He's referred to Papua New
Guinea-style "orgies of cannibalism."

He's referred to Africans
using words I'm not going to repeat.

He's compared Vladimir Putin
to Dobby the house elf,

wrote a poem about the Turkish
president fucking a goat,

said the Chinese
have zero cultural influence,

and once got stuck on a zip line
while waving the British flag.

But at least in that example,
he's only hurting himself.

Specifically, his genitals,
or his "Boris Johnson", if you will.

Watch what he did
in an exhibition rugby match

to a 10-year-old Japanese child.

Boris Johnson might just be the
least-diplomatic diplomat in existence.

Which makes him perfect
for this job.

What better symbol
of centuries of British foreign policy

than a foppish buffoon stampeding
his way around the world,

knocking things over,
falling flat on his face,

and refusing to apologize ?

And now this !

A summary of Roger Ailes' contribution
to our political discourse.

We'd like to be premier journalists.

We'd like to restore objectivity
where we find it lacking.

We just expect to do fine,
balanced journalism.

Iraq is the first domino. The legal
basis for removing Saddam is there.

The image we have of poor people
as starving and living in squalor

really is not accurate.

Many of them have things. What
they lack is the richness of spirit.

Santa is what he is,
and so you know, Santa just is white.

Not all Muslims are terrorists,
but all terrorists are Muslim.

Barack Obama, raised as a Muslim.
This is huge.

What do you think ?

- Wednesdays are big days at Hooters.
- Huge days.

It's Wednesday, it's wings day.

And it goes Brian,
and there he's going down !

Run ! Geraldo !

- Newt Gingrich.
- Karl Rove.

- Sarah Palin.
- Mark Fuhrman.

- Jeremiah Wright.
- Saul Alinsky playbook.

War on Christmas.

- PC Police.
- Anti-white bias.

- The gay agenda.
- Nanny state.

- Long-form birth certificate.
- Apology tour.

- Death panel.
- Benghazi.

- New Black Panther party.
- Barack Hussein Obama.

- Ground zero mosque.
- Class warfare.

Terrorist fist jab.

That is an obscene lie,
that is an absolute misrep...

No filibuster !

- Let me add one other thing.
- Cheap political words.

This is justice.
You want anarchy.

I just love my country.
And I fear for it.

Roger Ailes
Fox News CEP 1996-2016

Moving on.
Our main story this week

concerns the Republican National
Convention in Cleveland.

The most apocalyptic thing
ever to happen to that city,

and bear in mind, their river
has repeatedly caught fire.

It has been over for a few days,
but we thought it might be worth

taking a few extra minutes to try
and figure out what the fuck happened.

You are dealing with a pretty
unconventional convention

when a speaker
opens with this statement.

My name is Dana White.

I am the president of the Ultimate
Fighting Championship.

The only way that would've made sense
is if his next words were,

"and I have clearly sleepwalked here,
please gently walk me from the stage

and return me to my family,
they are very worried."

He was actually there to speak
to Donald Trump's business acumen,

a repeated theme
throughout the whole week.

He gets stuff done.
Donald Trump is a proven leader.

Innovator. Entrepreneur.

When Donald Trump is in charge,

all that counts is ability,
effort and excellence.

He has created jobs
for thousands

and is one of the greatest visionaries
of our time.

Now, before you laugh, you cannot say
Trump isn't a visionary.

For a long time, he was the only one
who envisioned himself

as a presidential nominee.

He is what happens if "The Secret"
gets into the wrong hands.

That message of Trump as a skilled
manager was somewhat undercut

by the fact the entire convention
was a mismanaged shit-show.

From Melania Trump
using a partly-plagiarized speech,

to Ted Cruz being booed off the
stage for not endorsing Donald Trump,

to the fact that, supposedly,
Donald Trump knew

Ted Cruz wouldn't endorse him,
and didn't care.

The decision came
as no surprise to Trump, who tweeted:

"I saw his speech two hours early but
let him speak anyway. No big deal."

Yeah, but that's not reassuring.

If the captain of the Titanic
had tweeted after the fact,

"I saw that iceberg 2 hours before and
sailed into it anyway. No big deal !"

You wouldn't think,
that captain sure ran a tight ship !

But it's fitting that Trump
had seemingly done so little

to prepare
for his party's convention,

given that the party itself had done
so little to prepare for Donald Trump.

After the last election, the GOP
published a post-mortem report titled

the "Growth And Opportunity Project,"

analyzing their mistakes and laying
out a plan to expand their appeal.

It featured passages
like "many minorities

wrongly think that Republicans do not
like them or want them in the country,"

"we must emphasize the importance
of a welcoming, inclusive message

when discussing issues that relate
directly to a minority group."

Over the past year, that report and
its carefully considered suggestions

have been overshadowed
by a different report, titled

"Literally Everything Donald Trump
Has Ever Said And Done."

This is a guy who's suggested
building a wall to keep Mexicans out

and advocated a temporary ban
on Muslims entering the country.

So, it's like making a new year's
resolution to eat healthy,

and then spending the next
year only eating meals so large

that they're free if you eat them
in one sitting.

But amazingly, through all the chaos
and confusion this week,

one theme did emerge.

It was accidentally
summarized best,

and I can't believe I'm saying this
by Antonio Sabato Jr.,

an IMDB page-awarded actor, who
delivered a relatively restrained speech

before opening his heart regarding
President Obama to ABC News.

I don't believe
that the guy is a Christian,

I don't believe he follows the God
that I love and the Jesus that I love.

You believe
that President Obama is a Muslim ?

- That is based on what you feel ?
- That's what I believe, yeah.

I have the right to believe that and
you have the right to go against that.

Revealing isn't his mistaken belief
that President Obama is a Muslim.

It's also not the big shock
that Antonio Sabato, Jr.

star of the actual VH1
reality show "My Antonio"

is still both alive and an idiot.

What is revealing is his implication
that believing something to be true

is the same as it being true.

Because if anything, that was
the theme of the Republican convention.

It was a four-day exercise
in emphasizing feelings over facts.

People feel the Obama administration
has kicked them to the curb.

Our country right now is in a
very bad spot. You can feel it.

The vast majority of Americans
today do not feel safe.

A lot of Americans

feel like Democrat politicians
have taken them for granted.

The whole economy feels stuck.

What do you mean, "it feels stuck" ?
The economy is about numbers.

Feelings are supposed
to be irrelevant.

"Feelings are supposed
to be irrelevant"

is a phrase inscribed on
every British marriage certificate.

This focus on feelings reached
its apex in Donald Trump's speech,

light on concrete policy,
heavy on provoking strong emotions.

Decades of progress
made in bringing down crime

are now being reversed.

Corruption has reached a level like
never before in our country.

Poverty and violence at home,
war and destruction abroad.

180 000 illegal immigrants
with criminal records,

ordered deported from our country,
are roaming free

to threaten peaceful citizens.

Holy shit.

He's about to announce
the first annual Hunger Games.

It is worth noting that since
President Obama took office,

crime rates,
the flow of illegal immigrants

and claims for unemployment
benefits have declined.

When reporters started pointing
that out, it didn't seem to matter.

Watch as Newt Gingrich
brushed off any effort

to fact-check Trump's claims
about the U.S. crime rate.

- Violent crime is down.
- It's not down in the biggest cities.

Violent crime,
murder rate is down.

How come it's up in Chicago,
Baltimore and Washington ?

There are pockets...

Your national capital,
your third biggest city...

Across the country is down.

The average American does not
think crime is down,

does not think they are safer.

- We are safer, and it is down.
- No, that's your view.

- These are national FBI facts.
- What I said is also a fact.

No, it isn't !

It's only a fact that that's
a feeling people have.

This is a graph of the violent crime
rate, not a Rorschach test.

You can't infer anything
you like from it.

You can cherry-pick recent
upticks in some cities,

but the overall trend
during the Obama presidency

and for the last 25 years
is down.

But Newt wasn't done.

Liberals have a set of statistics

which may be right,
but it's not where human beings are.

Hold on, you're saying liberals
use these numbers,

they use this magic math,
this is the FBI statistics.

- They're not a liberal organization.
- What I said is equally true.

- People feel it.
- Yes, but the facts don't support it.

I'll go with how people feel and I'll
let you go with the theoreticians.

He brought a feeling
to a fucking fact-fight !

And it is worth taking a moment
to consider what Gingrich was saying.

I think we can all agree candidates
can create feelings in people.

Gingrich is saying that feelings
are as valid as facts.

By the transitive property,
candidates can create facts.

Terrifying. That means
someone like Donald Trump

can essentially create
his own reality.

That is the closest thing to an actual
magic spell I think I've ever seen.

If you're thinking:
"eventually, reality will set in,"

"because if elected, Trump would
have to deal with facts."

I'm not so sure about that.
Not only was John Kasich asked

if he had interest in the
vice presidency by the Trump campaign,

he was offered quite a lot more.

Donald Trump Jr. even called
one of John Kasich's top aides

and said that if he wanted the job,
he could even be in charge

of foreign and domestic policy,
which is kind of everything.

Yeah, exactly !

The only thing that is not foreign
or domestic policy is "space policy".

Which leads me to believe
Trump's entire goal

is to eventually own the moon.

When Kasich's adviser asked what
Trump would be in charge of,

the response was:
"making America great again."

Which, objectively, is not a job.
But I guess it feels like one

and it seems that's all
that fucking matters now.

The Trump family disputed
that story, naturally.

But it does often seem like Trump
is more interested in attention,

than the hard work of getting things
done in a complicated political system.

Last night, he tweeted out
what seemed to be

his main takeaway
from this convention.

75 Minutes - Total Speech Time

24 Minutes - Total Applause

33% - Time Spent Applauding


First, 24 out of 75
is 32 percent, not 33,

but that doesn't matter,
that clearly doesn't matter.

The notion that Donald Trump
would be a hands-off president

might actually represent
the best-case scenario here.

The much more frightening prospect
would be if he were hands-on.

Between those 24 minutes of applause

was a symphony of bile
and race-baiting.

This is a man who has
retaliated against journalists,

has advocated
killing terrorists' families,

endorsed torture,
and expressed admiration

for leaders like Kim Jong Un,
Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin.

His message this week was the
message of every strong man ever:

"The world is dangerous
and only I can make you safe."

And if that sounds scary,
there have been warning signs.

Just watch this DVD extra from
the first season of "The Apprentice".

It's a music video they made

and it gives you a sense of how
Trump envisions himself.

This is a dictatorship.
And I'm the dictator.

There's no voting.
There's no jury.

Dictator. No jury.

Sure, it's funny now to hear him
say he's a dictator

as a voice in the background says:
"slave to the master" over and over.

But unless we're careful,
by this time next year,

that could be America's
new national anthem.

And now this...

And now, a few more highlights from
the Republican National Convention.

What's up, GOP ?

I come from a long line
of lumberjacks.

My dream was to be
a circus performer.

I'm now an avocado grower.

Who's proud to be an American ?

We don't apologize for America.
We celebrate America.

From the top to the bottom,
from the middle to the side.

ISIS is present in all 50 states.

Crooked Hillary Clinton,
leave this race now !

A day in the life of a coal miner and
a day in the life of Hillary Clinton

could not be more different.

Are we willing to elect someone
as president

who has as their role model
somebody who acknowledges Lucifer ?

We have in our hands
the steering wheel

of one of the one political party
in this country

that, no matter what ever turn,
whether we turn bumpy roads,

but we are not going to turn left.

Or, as Larry the Cable Guy
would say: let's git'er done.

Mr. Trump is America's
blue-collar billionaire.

Is Donald Trump a messiah ?
No. He's just a man.

A man I love so much.
That's my father.

Come January 17, all things
will be possible again.

And we will make
America great again.

And finally this week...

There were clearly many
mistakes made at the RNC,

but I'd like to mention
just one more,

regarding Trump's choice of song
for his entrance on Monday.

Yes, that is Queen being played at
the Republican National Convention.

With a heavy heart I announce:

Freddie Mercury,
dead again at age 69.

Queen didn't give Trump permission
to use that song,

tweeting it was "an unauthorized use
at the Republican Convention."

And yet, on his closing night,
Trump used another unauthorized song

to cover him dropping an almost
sarcastic amount of balloons.

And you will never
guess what song it was.

You can't always get what you want !

No shit.

Trump has used unauthorized music
throughout his campaign.

If you think
"You Can't Always Get What You Want"

was a bit on-the-nose,
just wait until you hear

what song he used ahead of a speech
he gave on the Iran nuclear deal.

This is real, we did not alter
the audio at all.

Businessman Donald Trump.

It's the end of the world
as we know it !

I mean, that is just too perfect.

Trump may as well have been
riding out on stage

with three other horsemen
of the apocalypse.

It is by no means just Trump
who angered musicians.

Mike Huckabee pissed off Survivor
by using "Eye of the Tiger",

and Scott Walker had this happen.

After Wisconsin Governor
Scott Walker used music

from the Dropkick Murphys,
they tweeted: "we literally hate you."

They may be angry,
Boston hooligans,

but I'll say this about
the Dropkick Murphys:

they know when to properly use
the word literally.

None of this is new, politicians
have been appropriating pop music

for as long as anyone can remember.

Sarah Palin has gotten in trouble
for using Heart's "Barracuda",

John McCain was asked to stop using
two John Mellencamp songs,

the DNC was criticized by Cyndi Lauper
for using "True Colors",

and most famously,
three decades ago, there was this.

Ronald Reagan used the song
"Born in the USA" in 1984

for his reelection campaign until
Springsteen suggested

he should listen
to the lyrics.

Springsteen penned the tune about
the dark side of the American story

and the harsh treatment
of Vietnam veterans.

To be fair to Reagan,
most people don't realize that.

I assumed that,
like every other Springsteen song,

it was about strugglin' heroes and
their barefoot lovers, named Mary,

who broke free of that town
on bikes chased by shadows.

But, the point here is:

if artists want to lend their
music to politicians, that's fine.

But it is not okay for politicians
to just take their songs.

This happens every single election

and it is time for musicians
to come together and take a stand.

It's that time of year,

Campaign season's here.

You'll wave and make your speeches
While balloons fall everywhere.

We've noticed something's wrong,

And it's gone on way too long.

So we're asking you right now:
Stop using our songs.

Turn on your laser light show,
Fire up your confetti machine.

Bring out your smiling backdrop
Of "ethnically diverse teens."

Stop using our music.
That's our one and only rule.

We didn't write these songs to make
Your campaign stop seem cool.

Don't use our song,
'Cause you used it wrong.

It might seem appealing,

But you're just stealing.

Don't use our song.
It just seems wrong.

By the time this tune is through,
You'll be lucky if we don't sue.

Don't use our song, no.

That's licensing.
You gotta call my publisher, okay ?

You always take our music
Out of context anyway.

Why would Reagan be playing
"Born in the USA" ?

It's about Vietnam.

And thank you for not paying me.

That's a license you didn't buy.

If I wanted to sing and not get paid,

I'd be on Spotify.

Don't use our song.
I mean, come on !

You knew we'd find out.
This is like the 6th time now.

Don't use our song, no, no.
'Cause it's not your song.

You're lucky we don't sue.

What's the deal
With all those balloons ?

Don't use our song !

And just to be clearer,
You can't use this song either.

But here's one tune we all agree
That you can use anytime for free.

- Don't use our song.
- All right, come on, y'all.

- For real, come on.
- Don't you use it !

You're lucky if we don't sue.

And what's the deal
With all those balloons ?

- Don't use our song.
- Stop using my song !

You all sing along.

It might seem appealing.

But you're just stealing.

Don't use our song.
You know it's wrong.

The crowd might like it.
But you didn't write it.

Don't do it !

'Cause you know
You're fucking stealing !

Don't use our song !

That's our show, thank you so much,
see you next week. Good night !