News & Politics

John Oliver Reveals How Trump Is Eroding American Politics in Unexpected Ways

The HBO host fears this presidency is taking a steep toll on our critical faculties.

Photo Credit: YouTube Screengrab

HBO host John Oliver explained during Sunday's episode of Last Week Tonight that President Donald Trump's tactic of speaking in nonsense stream of consciousness is eroding discourse to the point that we're increasingly unable to identify important information.

Even in formal settings, the president routinely goes on long ramblings that bear little or no relation to the topic at hand. The function is to distract the listener and avoid engaging any narrative that could be used to hold the speaker accountable.

Oliver brought the tactic to life by showing a printout of a speech Trump delivered about Iran. The following is the actual text of Trump's remarks.

“Look, having nuclear — my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, okay, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart — you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, okay, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world — it’s true! — but when you’re a conservative Republican they try — oh, do they do a number — that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune — you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged — but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me — it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right — who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners — now it used to be three, now it’s four — but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas, because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years — but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.”

Did any of that make an ounce of sense? Of course not. Oliver described the speech as resembling “a drunk driver crashing a pickup truck full of alphabet soup.”

Oliver explained that Trump's style of communication is a danger to the country as it spreads to other leaders and increasingly prevents serious discourse from occuring

“The natural endpoint is the erosion of our ability to decide what’s important, have an honest debate and hold one another accountable,” he said.

Watch the segment below.

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Chris Sosa is the former Senior Editor of AlterNet. His work also appears in Mic, Salon, Care2, Huffington Post and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisSosa.