Jon Stewart did not have many jokes to make on Thursday about President-elect Donald Trump’s election victory, but he instead offered empathy for some Trump supporters.
In an interview with “CBS This Morning,” the former “Daily Show” host said he feared for individuals who could be affected by Trump’s policies but did not think Trump’s election reflected a changed America.
“I don’t believe we are a fundamentally different country today than we were two weeks ago,” Stewart said.
“The same country that elected Donald Trump elected Barack Obama,” he added. “I feel badly for the people for whom this election will mean more uncertainty and insecurity. But I also feel like this fight has never been easy.”
Stewart placed much of the blame for the anger that propelled Trump’s election on congressional Republicans, arguing that their opposition to President Barack Obama’s main legislative priorities resulted in the government dysfunction that Trump ran against.
“Donald Trump is a reaction not just to Democrats but to Republicans,” Stewart said. “He is not Republican. He’s a repudiation of Republicans. But they will reap the benefit of his victory, in all of their cynicism.”
Stewart offered understanding for Trump supporters, arguing that liberals who had labeled all Trump supporters as racist because of the president-elect’s racially inflammatory rhetoric weren’t seeing the hypocrisy in their own pronunciations.
“There’s now this idea that anyone who voted for him has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric,” Stewart said. “There are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that are not afraid of Mexicans and not afraid of Muslims and not afraid of blacks. They’re afraid of their insurance premiums.
“In the liberal community you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith. Don’t look at Muslims as a monolith. They’re individuals, and that’s ignorance. But everyone who voted for Trump is a monolith, is a racist. That hypocrisy is also real in our country.”
Stewart also pointed out that there were plenty of precedents for racism in the White House, including private beliefs held by presidents Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson.
“I would rather have this conversation openly and honestly than in dog whistles,” Stewart said. “”There might be an anti-Semite that’s working in the White House.’ I’m like, ‘Have you listened to the Nixon tapes?’ Forget about working for the president – the president.”
Watch below, via CBS:
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) November 17, 2016