Stephen Colbert was just trying to do a nice thing.
After President Trump manufactured a terror incident in Sweden on Saturday (Feb. 18) during a rally, where he said, “what’s happening last night in Sweden… who would believe this? Sweden!” when, in fact, nothing had happened, Colbert jumped to action. The Late Show host did what any responsible late night host would do: he arranged an all-star benefit song to help the people affected by the phantom attack that Trump made up based on something he misunderstood and reportedly didn’t do any research about inspired by a Fox News report from the night before.
The only problem was, well, when the crisis isn’t real, the big guns don’t show up. So while “USA for Sweden” was a lovely idea in the same vein as “We are the World” and “Hands Across America,” sadly, Colbert couldn’t get Bruce Springsteen (“refused to participate”), Adele (“hung up immediately”), Beyoncé (“responded, ‘what is this for again?'”) or Taylor Swift (“faked kidney failure”) to sign on.
“And just because this attack didn’t happen, folks, doesn’t mean we don’t stand in solidarity with all the people who did not suffer,” Colbert joked during Monday night’s (Feb. 20) show. Dinging the president for either misunderstanding or just mishearing the details of the Fox report — which alleged that violent crime has spiked due to an influx of refugees — Colbert said, “I guess Trump only accepts intelligence reports with the logo, ‘As seen on TV.'”
In fact, Colbert noted, the crime rate in Sweden has fallen since 2005, with experts saying that “90 percent of Swedish crime actually occurs in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo… Clearly Trump believes everything he sees on TV is real. Which would explain his next tweet: ‘America is a disaster! Our girls are broke! Our dead are walking! The pope’s too young! It’s a scandal! #shameless!”
But he wasn’t done there. Colbert — whose ratings have seen a significant bump during Trump’s first month in office due to the host’s relentless baiting of the former Celebrity Apprentice host — added, “Tragically, Sweden is the third not-a-terrorist attack that has not shocked the world in the last month. First, there wasn’t the Bowling Green massacre, then no one was lost in Atlanta. And now it’s not Sweden’s turn. When will it begin? And just because this attack didn’t happen, folks, doesn’t mean we don’t stand in solidarity with all the people who did not suffer.”
Watch Colbert’s “Never Fjorget” monologue: