As had happened so often since the 2016 election, President Donald Trump launched a news cycle on Monday night with a tweet: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” Trump wrote on his social media platform of choice. The vague threat was immediately castigated and questioned—and, on Tuesday, Trump was forced to clarify that the order would only suspend issuing green cards for at least 60 days.
Still, the damage was done. It left Trevor Noah wondering who would even want to come to America right now, as the nation holds the ignominious title of having the most COVID-19 cases and coronavirus-related deaths on the planet.
“I don’t even like going to the grocery store. You’re telling me there’s other people out there who are like, ‘Hey, honey, I’m going to go to another country. Do you want me to grab anything for you?’” Noah joked on Tuesday’s episode of The Daily Show. “But this is a big step for Trump because, remember, two-thirds of his wives have been immigrants. So closing the immigration system is Trump’s version of deleting Tinder.”
Before Trump walked back his initial tweet, critics worried that the ban would greatly impact the distribution of work visas at a time when America needs support from other countries. As CNN reported on Monday, the executive order only wound up addressing green cards because “the temporary work visa portion is more complicated and needs more time to sort out, particularly given the fact that many of those currently in the US on work visas are working in industries related to the pandemic, from workers at food processing plants to health care workers.” Additionally, in its report on the executive order, the New York Times noted that “business groups exploded in anger at the threat of losing access to foreign labor.”
If Trump didn’t catch wind of the unease business leaders felt after posting his tweet on Monday night, he likely heard about it on Fox & Friends the next morning. On Tuesday, host Ainsley Earhardt expressed concern about the ramifications of suspending immigration—because of the effect it would have on her au pair.
“Many families here, including mine, we have au pairs. And we rely on them. I go to work at three o’clock in the morning, so I need her there, and I need her in my house so that she can help me with my daughter,” she said. “So many families rely on child care from other countries. These au pairs come here on work visas, they have to go back to their countries to get the visas renewed, and we’ve been talking in my house about how that’s gonna happen. So these are all things, these are questions that we have that hopefully the president will roll out a plan and we’ll all be informed about how this is gonna affect all of our lives.”
Noah was not impressed. “Okay: first of all, many families here do not have au pairs. In fact, 0.03 % of families in America have au pairs. You’re more likely to have a show on Quibi than have an au pair,” he joked, before using Earhardt to illustrate the narcissism that drives so many Trump supporters.
“Look—instead of trying to act like this is an everyone thing, what she should really say is, ‘Damn, this new thing Trump did is really going to affect me. So now I really care,’” Noah continued. “Because this is what a lot of people do about President Trump. They’re willing to tolerate him because his actions don’t affect them personally.”
Noting other policies Trump has pushed through during the pandemic, including a suspension of refugee admissions and rollbacks of environmental protections, Noah compared the president’s crisis behavior unfavorably to viewers’ at home.
“So don’t forget, while you’re finally getting around to watching Ozark and trying to bake bread for the first time, Donald Trump? He’s also using coronavirus as an opportunity to do all the things he always wanted to do,” Noah said. “The only difference is, when quarantine is over and you throw away your bowl of yeast, Trump’s hobbies are gonna keep going for a very long time.”
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