John Oliver has delivered one of his first public takes on Donald Trump‘s administration, saying that the President’s “misleading” use of facts feels “turbocharged.”
The Birmingham-born comedian will return with the fourth season of his acclaimed news satire show Last Week Tonight this evening (February 12) in the US, before airing in the UK on Sky Atlantic tomorrow night (February 13).
Ahead of the return of the show – which breaks down a selection of the week’s biggest news stories before covering one particular topic in depth – Oliver has addressed the effects of Trump’s controversial first few weeks in office.
Speaking to NPR, Oliver referenced the new administration’s criticism of the press and the rise of the concept of “alternative facts.”
“I care about facts the way I care about oxygen and imbibing enough water a day to live,” Oliver said. “Everybody should care about facts. That is something all of us should agree on. That is what we’re wrestling with at the moment [with President Trump], right? It feels interminable to kind of talk about in theory other than to say we’re trying, we’ll give it a go, and we’ll see. It affects everything.
“There is a long, revolting history of politicians wanting to use facts in a misleading way, or in the best way to advance their agenda. This I think is different. This isn’t just misleading, this is turbocharged. And the thing I’m much more concerned about is his sweeping dismissal of the press, which is not us, right? It’s not comedy… because the media is a very convenient scapegoat at the best of times. But it is going to need to be rigorously defended because we are about to need it more than we have done in quite a long time.”
Oliver also spoke about Trump’s claim that he was invited to appear “multiple times” on Last Week Tonight – something the comedian dismissed as “demonstrably a lie.”
“I think even in one of our stories last year, we tried to articulate just how confusing it is to be on the receiving end of a lie that confident, because he seemed absolutely sure. And I was as sure that I had never invited him. But then I wanted to check… It was just a totally empty lie which doesn’t matter at all, except for the fact that person with the tendency, the tenacity and the confidence to make that lie is now leader of the free world and has the ability to lie about things that matter a lot more than appearing as a guest on someone’s very boring, very low-rated show.”
Earlier this week, US talk show host Jimmy Fallon addressed his controversial interview with Trump, which took place in the weeks leading up to November’s election.