Bill Maher Defends Trump Voters to Katie Couric in Contentious Interview

Source: Janet Van Ham / AFP

Donald Trump is a polarizing man, and has been since he rose to prominence after taking over the Trump Organization from his late father in the 70’s. Since he entered the field of politics, and especially since the disastrous end of his first term as president in 2021, when it comes to Trump, you either love him or you hate him.

A Wide-Ranging Sentiment

This is a statement that extends both to everyday Americans to celebrities to politicians currently working in the halls of Congress. Donald Trump brings out strong opinions, and most people are not shy in revealing how they feel about the former president.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

This has led to some significant tension in Congress, particularly in the House of Representatives. The far-right Freedom Caucus, led by the current Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, has made no secret of their loyalty to Donald Trump, nor their preference in voting on issues in ways that he would prefer.

A Lame Duck Congress

This has led to, unfortunately, very little being done in the halls of Congress during this current session. The current slate of Representatives has been rated as the second least productive in American history by independent pundits, and the hard-right Conservatives are largely the reason to blame. 

Source: Wikimedia/Voice of America

From the first business of choosing a Speaker of the House – which was held up for fifteen votes before Kevin McCarthy finally won the Speaker’s gavel in January of 2021 – and then the subsequent ousting of McCarthy and the second choice of Johnson, this Congress has been subject to significant chaos, and it’s all been – largely – at the behest of Trump.

Specific Decisions that Have Been Scrapped

It’s not all general chaos, either. There have been some specific instances where decisions were made or bills were killed, and some of the representatives or Senators responsible revealed that it was due to Donald Trump’s request.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

The most recent example of this unfortunate pattern is the bipartisan border security bill that was passed earlier this year by the Senate. It was a bipartisan effort that took months to craft in the Senate, with multiple significant priorities for Republicans included within the text of the bill.

The Border Security Bill: DOA

All of those positive traits didn’t stop Republicans in both the House and Senate from ultimately killing the bill, though. Speaker Johnson even publicly said that the bill was “dead on arrival” if it made its way to his desk, and many were frustrated that such a badly-needed bipartisan effort was killed before it could make its way to Biden’s desk.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Reports of a private conversation that Johnson had after the fact, though, revealed that he had refused to bring up the bill at the behest of Donald Trump. Addressing the border crisis during an election year would kill a significant bargaining chip for the Republicans to run on, and Trump has made the border crisis a large part of his reelection campaign.

Making Public Stances Clear

All of these various reasons, along with Donald Trump ongoing and escalating legal issues, are why Trump is so deeply polarizing, and why so many people have gone out of their way to make their stance on him clear, one way or the other.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

This commentary has expanded to late night talk shows such as Last Week With John Oliver and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. These comedians have made no secret of their distaste for Trump and his bombastic way of speaking and doing politics, and Trump is a sure winner when it comes to ratings.

Bill Maher: Loud and Proud

No late night talk show host has made his distaste of Donald Trump and his voters more clear than Bill Maher, though. The old-school liberal has made his brand of “calling out the crazy on both sides,” and Maher has brought on liberals and conservatives of all flavors to get a wide range of opinions on the former president.

Source: Wikimedia/Angela George

Of late, though, it seems that Maher might be changing his opinion on Trump. Or, at the very least, the people who vote for him.

Scandalizing Katie Couric

A recent interview with Katie Couric on his podcast Club Random led to his guest being slightly scandalized by Maher’s opinion on Donald Trump, and subsequently, his voters.

Source: YouTube/Club Random Podcast

Maher insisted that Trump, in his CNN town hall last year, “killed it,” and Katie Couric was quick to protest. “He’s not a stand-up comedian!” she said, responding to Maher discussing the audience reaction to Donald Trump.

“People Loved Him”

“Popularity. Doesn’t matter,” Maher said. “People loved him and what he was saying. And then you cut to a panel of six know-it-alls in Washington who do nothing but talk about the negative. No one’s been harder on Trump than me. But I get it, and I’m bored with it. And there’s a different way to do this, I think.”

Source: YouTube/Club Random Podcast

Maher’s comment is in reference to multiple liberal-leaning talk shows, which make a significant portion of their brand talking about, and criticizing Trump. Just like Fox News’ opinion shows are largely about criticizing Biden and liberal policies, many opinion shows on CNN and MSNBC do the same for the former President.

Maher Theorizing On The Way

Couric was confused, and pressed Maher on what he believes the way to proceed is, particularly with people who are as irrational as Donald Trump’s voters can be.

Source: YouTube/Club Random Podcast

Maher was quick with his response. “Not to defend Trump, but to defend the people who still vote for him. Because what they see on the other side, to them, is even more dangerous. Because it’s closer to home: ‘My kid is coming home from school and he thinks he’s a racist?’ He’s five, what have you been telling him?”

A Backlash to Far-Left Politics

Maher continued. “‘My son thinks maybe he’s not a bot.’ And maybe that’s true, that happens. Those kinds of things are what they say. ‘That’s why I’m voting for Trump.’”

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Couric seemed understanding of this reasoning. “A backlash to the pendulum swinging so far to the left,” she responded. She didn’t address either of Maher’s comments on gender-affirming care for trans youth or educational programming on race in the United States, in a clear effort to be tactful.

Important Issues to Democrats

And it is understandable that Maher would pick these two issues when discussing ways for liberals to try and come to an understanding with conservatives. For many liberals, issues of gender affirming care and race education are all-encompassing, issues that affect everyone whether they belong to the marginalized group being discussed or not.

Source: Wikimedia/Anne Marie Champagne

Many liberals believe that, by crafting policy that benefits the most vulnerable of society – be that socially, racially, or economically – politicians and the leaders of society become a part of creating a better world for the generations that will come after us.

Scary Issues for Republicans

Conservatives, particularly conservatives with religious backgrounds, have a much bleaker view of these issues. Republicans have made a lucrative platform off of fear baiting their constituents, and the current election cycle is no exception.

Source: Flickr/Trevor Stone

The major Republican issues of the current election season – transgender rights, the border crisis, and abortion rights – all have one thing in common: emotion. These are issues that people feel very deeply on, and Republicans are capitalizing on the fears of their constituents with the issues in order to rally the vote this coming November.

The Line Between Rationality and Madness

Maher theorized on this in his conclusion with Couric. “For lots of people, it’s not as though they actually like Trump. But he’s all that stands between us and madness.”

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Whether this is true or not will be seen this November when Americans show up to the polls. It’s something for politicians and election experts to take into consideration, especially with President Biden’s approval numbers so low from his constituents. Relying on turning out the vote of reliably Democratic voters might not be enough to win against Trump this time. The win may, in fact, lie in convincing moderate Republicans that Biden understands their fears, and that he’s willing to work for them too.

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James Cross

Written by James Cross

James Cross, an enigmatic writer from the historic city of Boston. James' writing delves into mysteries, true crime, and the unexplained, crafting compelling narratives that keep readers and viewers on the edge of their seats. His viral articles, blog posts, and documentary-style videos explore real-life enigmas and unsolved cases, inviting audiences to join the quest for answers. James' ability to turn real mysteries into shareable content has made him a sensation in the world of storytelling.

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