John Stewart may no longer be offering his biting political commentary from the Comedy Central “Daily Show” anchor’s desk, but that doesn’t mean he’s staying silent about the 2016 presidential election.
Stewart took aim at “thin-skinned” presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump Monday in a podcast interview with David Axelrod, former chief strategist to President Barack Obama, at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
“I’m not a constitutional scholar,” he said on “The Axe Files” podcast, “so I can’t necessarily say, but are you eligible to run if you are a man-baby, or a baby-man? He has the physical countenance of a man and a baby’s temperament and hands.”
The comedian also mocked the billionaire businessman’s famous slogan, “Make American Great Again.”
“When was America great?” he asked. “What is this time that he speaks of? ’81 to ’82? Like what are we talking about? And who took your country away from you?”
But perhaps Stewart’s most surprising comments came when he explained why he believes an “asshole” like Trump rose to the top.
“The door is open to an asshole like Donald Trump because the Democrats haven’t done enough to show people that government, that can be effective for people, can be efficient for people,” he told Axelrod. “If you can’t do that, then you’ve lost the right to make that change and someone’s going to come in and demagogue you.”
He also criticized the media’s coverage of the 2016 campaigns, saying the relationship between journalists and politicians is no longer one of “predator and prey” but of remora and shark. Stewart said 24-hour networks amplify voices that are “the most conflict-oriented, the most extreme,” and Trump’s strategy has been the same as Jonny Fairplay’s on “Survivor.”
After he got into a back-and-forth with Axelrod about the role and efficiency of government, Stewart praised the comedians who have done segments on the 2016 race, including John Oliver, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah and Larry Wilmore.
“I am so impressed and amazed at the level of insight and wit that is displayed on television every day,” Stewart said. “There is no dearth.”
And his advice for young people interested in getting into politics?
“Get into it, and don’t get it on you,” he said.