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Seth Meyers Made the Best Point About the NYT’s Trump Taxes Story

Photo-Illustration: Vulture and YouTube

On September 27, the New York Times published a new investigation into Donald Trump’s taxes, which revealed that the president paid no federal taxes for ten of the past 15 years, paid only $750 in taxes in 2016, and currently has “hundreds of millions of dollars” in debt, among other big takeaways. Late-night hosts naturally covered the news last night, but while it’s definitely a huge story, is it really going to change anything? Or, as Seth Meyers put it on Late Night, “If true, this bombshell has the potential to be almost as damaging to his political career as the Access Hollywood tape.”

Still, the late-night hosts dove deep into the new revelations, which led to plenty of jokes about Trump’s $70,000 write-off for having his hair styled during The Apprentice and Melania’s realization that, as Trump’s wife, she shares half of his $421 million in debt. And we think it was Meyers — who we are happy to report didn’t cut off all of his gorgeously long quarantine hair — who made the most important point of the bunch. Here’s what the late-night hosts had to say on the biggest story (so far, at least) of the week:

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

“Last night we learned the New York Times obtained Donald Trump’s taxes for the last 20 years … and Trump is in some deep W2-doo,” Stephen Colbert said during last night’s Late Show before outlining all of the bombshells in the Times report. Colbert was momentarily stuck on the $750 number before later getting even more stuck on the $421 million number — the crazy amount of debt Trump reportedly has. “To put that in layman’s terms, I can’t,” Colbert said. “Normally, you don’t find someone who owes that kind of cash in the Oval Office, you find them washed up on the banks of a river! … So somebody out there — and we don’t know who — has got the leader of the free world by the short hairs. If he gets reelected, Air Force One’s gonna end up on Pawn Stars.”

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah

On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah took a step back after recapping the story to offer his own personal reaction. “I gotta say, guys: After reading this story in the New York Times and learning this about Trump, everything makes so much sense now. This tax story is the Rosetta stone that helps us figure everything out,” he said. “Trump doesn’t actually want to be president. He just really needs that Secret Service protection. Shit, if I had $400 million in loans coming due, I’d also be trying to cancel the election.” Later in the clip, Roy Wood Jr. played an African man starring in a commercial appealing to his fellow generous Africans and begging them to donate, for the cost of just a cup of coffee a day, to “help the president go from being in enormous debt to being in just a lot of debt.”

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

“Since 2000, Trump’s reported over $300 million in losses just from his golf courses. It would’ve been a better investment if Trump opened up a Radio Shack inside a Blockbuster inside a Sears,” Jimmy Fallon said during last night’s Tonight Show. Later in the segment, Fallon switched over into his Trump impersonation and acted out the president’s debate-prep session, where he was asked about his taxes multiple times but tried to “double-dog pass” the questions. “They said I could have three passes. Didn’t they say that?”

Late Night With Seth Meyers

Last but not least, Seth Meyers offered a thorough breakdown of the Times report during his “Closer Look” segment on last night’s Late Night, in which he pointed out some important context about all the shady things Trump has gotten away with tax-wise. While it’s all fun and good to make another joke about Trump’s hair, the Times story — and Trump and his supporters’ response to it — shows that the problem goes way, way beyond just the president. “There are plenty of smart people who pay their taxes in full every year, because they don’t have the armies of accountants and vampire lawyers that rich people like Trump or companies like Amazon have,” Meyers said, adding that people like Trump and huge companies like Amazon get away with things like those in the Times report because the system is designed to protect them. “That’s the big takeaway here: Trump is not unique. He’s the product and enabler of a corrupt system that shields the wealthiest and most powerful in our society while crushing everyone else,” he said. “Ninety-one companies paid no federal taxes in 2018 — companies like Amazon, Chevron, or Starbucks. Meanwhile, tens of millions of Americans are out of work, facing eviction, struggling to afford health care, and waiting in line at food banks. Trump and his allies don’t just benefit from that system, they’re trying to preserve it.”

Seth Meyers Made the Best Point About the Trump Taxes Story