Talk show host Jon Stewart, flanked by his writers and correspondents, speaks after receiving the Best Late Night Comedy Series Award for his show.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jon Stewart, the former host of The Daily Show, warned against stereotyping Donald Trump voters, which he said was unfair and hypocritical.
Stewart, who last year quit Comedy Central’s television show after 16 years, offered his first commentary on the results of the U.S. election last week in an interview aired Thursday on CBS.
“In the liberal community, you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith: ‘Don’t look at Muslims as a monolith. They are individuals. It would be ignorance’,” Stewart said. “But everybody who voted for Trump is a monolith, is a racist. That hypocrisy is also real.”
Stewart, who at a standup performance just before the election said Trump had called him out on Twitter in 2013 for being a Jew, told CBS that he “thought Donald Trump disqualified himself at numerous points, but there’s now this idea that anyone who voted for him has to be defined by the worst of his rhetoric.”
Trump, the Republican nominee who beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election despite losing the popular vote to her, “is not a Republican, he’s a repudiation of Republicans,” Stewart said in the interview, which featured a plug for his new book about his many years dissecting U.S. politics on television.
Stewart was referencing the resentment toward Trump expressed by senior figures from the Republican Party’s establishment, including its 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “Donald Trump is a reaction not just to Democrats, but to Republicans,” Stewart said, adding: “I feel badly for the people for whom this election will mean more uncertainty and insecurity.”
Later on in the interview, Stewart said: “There are a lot of people [who think], and I think [Trump’s] candidacy animated this thought, that a multiethnic democracy, a multicultural democracy, is impossible.” But, “that is what America by its founding and constitution is,” Stewart added.
Trump has been criticized during his campaign for making statements seen as racist, including calling Mexicans who cross over to the United States rapists and drug dealers. After the election, he has come under fire for appointing Stephen Bannon, whose website Breitbart featured content deemed racist and anti-Semitic, senior adviser and chief strategist in the White House.
The Anti-Defamation League called the appointment a “sad day.” Separately, the British Jewish journalist Jonathan Freedland, who is a presenter of the BBC, on Wednesday published an op-ed in The Guardian headlined “The U.S. will no longer feel like a haven for Jews under Trump.”
In it, he argued that “the U.S. remained comfortably immune from the virus of Jew-hatred” but “that certainty has vanished in the last week – and the appointment of Steve Bannon as the most senior adviser to the incoming president has deepened the anxiety.”
Meanwhile, in Russia, a medium-level spokesperson for the country’s foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, said on a talkshow earlier this week that Jews have a better idea than other people of the future of U.S. politics – a remark which exposed her to accusations of anti-Semitism.
“If you want to know what will happen in America, who do you have to talk to? You have to talk to the Jews, naturally,” said Zakharova, who frequently has come under attack by Russian far-right anti-Semites who believe she is partly Jewish. Her biography on the ministry’s website specifies neither her religion nor ethnicity.
She also said that “our people in Brighton [Beach],” the southern Brooklyn neighborhood where many Russian Jews and non-Jews live, told her in conversations that they had donated to Clinton’s campaign but gave “twice as much” to Trump’s.