Stephen Colbert refuses to apologize after #FireColbert hashtag goes viral on Twitter

"I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So it’s a fair fight"

Published May 4, 2017 12:36PM (EDT)

  (AP/Greg Allen)
(AP/Greg Allen)

A day after sparking outrage with a crude joke about President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Stephen Colbert was defiant on Wednesday night.

"Welcome to ‘The Late Show.’ I’m your host Stephen Colbert. Still? Am I still the host? I’m still the host!" Colbert joked to open the show.

He added, "Now, folks, if you saw my monologue Monday, you know that I was a little upset with Donald Trump for insulting a friend of mine. So at the end of that monologue, I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don’t regret that. I believe he can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight."

The controversy erupted on Monday when Colbert defended CBS News' John Dickerson, whose Sunday interview with Trump was abruptly cut short by the president when Dickerson persisted in asking tough questions. Trump referred to the well-respected program of which Dickerson is the host, "Face the Nation," as "fake news" because he didn't like how he was being treated.

Colbert's joke in response to this? "Mr. Trump, your presidency, I love your presidency; I call it ‘Disgrace the Nation.' The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster."

That led to a popular hashtag, with people calling on Colbert to be fired.

In a surprising move, one person who has jumped to Colbert's defense (kind of) is the last man standing from the Fox News' old guard, Sean Hannity.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He specializes in covering science and history, and is particularly passionate about climate change, animal science, disability rights, plastic pollution and a wide range of political issues. He has interviewed many prominent figures (reflecting his diverse interests) including President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), actress Cady McClain ("All My Children"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin (2002-present), comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2") and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Donald Trump Partner Video Stephen Colbert Vladimir Putin