In a behind-the-scenes clip published online by “The Daily Show,” Noah went on a rant over Trump’s latest “alternative fact,” in which he claimed he saw the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Texas “firsthand,” and the White House’s decision to back that claim up.
“I know that Donald Trump is not particularly adept at using the English language. I understand that,” Noah told the audience in between takes of Thursday night’s episode.
“The thing that throws me is that Trump is like, ‘I experienced this firsthand,’” the host continued. “And then his spokesperson comes out, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and says ... ‘He met with officials and they spoke about this and they told him what happened ― and that’s a firsthand account.’”
“Just say, ‘Oh, no. He didn’t mean that,’ and then we’ll move on in life,” Noah added. “But now you’re trying to make it seem like we’re stupid for knowing what words mean.”
After Trump tweeted Wednesday that he “witnessed” the “horror & devastation” from Hurricane Harvey “first hand,” many reporters who followed the president during his Texas visit denied that claim.
Sanders, the White House press secretary, followed it up by telling reporters that Trump had met with state and local officials, including mayors from cities “who were hit the hardest” and received “detail briefing information” from “people on the ground,” adding, “That is certainly a firsthand account.”
During Trump’s Texas trip, Sanders also told reporters that the president would be avoiding the hardest-hit areas in Houston to avoid disrupting any recovery efforts, which is why Trump made stops only in Corpus Christi, near where the storm made landfall, and Austin at the site of the storm’s emergency response center.
Trump’s insistence on using his own version of reality reminded Noah of an urban legend he heard while visiting Barcelona about why some Spaniards speak Spanish with a lisp.
As the unverified legend goes, in the 13th century, King Ferdinand of Castile spoke with a lisp. The people he ruled over didn’t want to correct his way of speaking, so they all began to speak with a lisp, too.
“Instead of people going, ’Oh, that dude speaks with a lisp,′ they were like, ’No, no. We all thay Bar-theh-lona,” Noah joked in a faux-Spanish accent. “No, no, no, no. This is alternative translation.
“That’s what I feel like Trump is doing to everyone.”
Noah’s off-the-cuff remarks on Trump’s version of events would be funnier if it weren’t so close to the truth.
Watch Noah’s full behind-the-scenes clip in the video above.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly suggested that Trump claimed he saw the “devastation” in Houston. The president did not specify any cities in his tweet.