If the lesson of this year’s election was that people who disagree need to spend more time talking with each other, then what better way to start than tonight’s Daily Show conversation between host Trevor Noah and The Blaze’s Tomi Lahren.
A few months ago, Noah admitted that he has a bit of a crush on the young conservative pundit, who made a name for herself with a video screed against Colin Kaepernick that went seriously viral on Facebook. “That is the least-woke, most awake person I have ever seen,” he said in the segment. “She’s only 24 years old. And she’s already angrier than 50 Clint Eastwoods.”
He then imagined the two of them joining forces before saying, “We’re from two different worlds. It just wouldn’t work. I’m from Africa, you’re from heaven. But hey, we’ll always have Facebook.” Lahren fired back with a video of her own and invited Noah to come “Make America Great Again” on her show anytime.
Tonight, they finally met in person. His first question: “Why are you so angry?”
Lahren insisted that she’s “not that angry,” but Noah wasn’t buying it. “It’s like Ellen saying, I don’t like dancing,” he said. “You are angry about everything, it seems.”
“Sometimes people just need to be called on their shit,” she replied. Speaking to the Americans who protested Donald Trump’s victory, she added, “When you are protesting a fair and free election, that, to me, you’re going to get called on your shit a little bit. It’s a time to clear the streets, accept reality. Time to move on, time to make America great again.” As a “millennial,” Lahren said she doesn’t like “labels,” but does consider herself to be a “conservative,” a contradiction that made Noah chuckle but seemed to go over his guest’s head.
“For somebody who is not racist, you have to spend a lot of time saying, ‘I’m not racist,’” Noah told Lahren, pivoting to her past denouncements of Black Lives Matter. She said the movement “started with good intentions,” but once they started “pushing the false narrative” of “hands up, don’t shoot” and “rioting and looting and burning and militant actions” she “lost respect” for them.
Noah accused her of painting all Black Lives Matters protesters with a broad brush based on the actions of a small minority, but she couldn’t hear it, using the massacre of police in Dallas by a lone gunman to characterize the entire national organization. “You are the same person who argued on your show that just because Donald Trump has supporters from the KKK doesn’t mean is he in the KKK,” he said. “What if somebody said I felt emboldened by Tomi Lahren so I went out and shot black people? Are you now responsible?”
In an effort to break through the “bubble” that clearly divides them, Noah asked Lahren what she wishes people understood about her. “I wish that we could disagree with each other without thinking that we are bad people or ill-intentioned folks,” she said. “So because I criticize a black person or I criticize the Black Lives Matter movement, that doesn’t mean I’m anti-black. It does not mean that I don’t like black people or that I am a racist, it means I’m criticizing a movement.”
Insisting that she doesn’t “see color,” Lahren said she believes in her right to criticize Colin Kaepernick as much as she does Hillary Clinton.
“I don't believe in that at all when people say that,” Noah said. “There is nothing wrong with seeing color. It is how you treat color that is more important.” When she says things like Black Lives Matter is “the new KKK,” Noah said that goes beyond “criticism” and into the realm of offensive and “incendiary” speech.
Lahren did not back down, once again equating what Black Lives Matter has done to the KKK, leaving Noah practically speechless. Moving to her “criticism” of Kaepernick, who she said did not voice his grievances in the “right way,” Noah said, “Here is a black man in America who says, I don’t know how to get a message across. If I march in the street, people say I’m a thug. If I go out and I protest, people say it’s a riot. If I bend down on one knee than it is not… what is the right way for a black person to get attention in America?”
She did not have an answer to that question, instead choosing to attack Kaepernick again for “taking out” his anger on the national anthem and the flag. “A guy kneeling in the corner, I don’t understand why that offends you so much,” Noah said.
“Because I’m white, I should shut up?” Lahren said, seemingly out of nowhere. “I shouldn’t be able to talk about black issues because I’m white?”
“No one brought up whites at all, I never said that,” Noah said, joking, “I don’t see color.”
In the year since he took over from Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show, Noah has hardly been known for the type of tough interviews in which his predecessor often engaged. Tomi Lahren might not have been the most challenging opponent, but tonight Noah proved he’s willing to mix it up when necessary.