John Oliver on Trump/Billy Bush’s “Locker Room” Talk, the Continued Existence of Guantánamo


Between the torture of this election and actual torture that the American government has carried out via the Guantánamo Bay detention camp off American soil, John Oliver covered varied forms of misery brought about by the U.S. government (or in Trump’s case, prospective members of the government). Since it was still fresh news, and since there was, simultaneously, a debate that devoted a good amount of time to it, Oliver began last night’s episode of Last Week Tonight discussing Trump’s revolting 2005 “off-camera” (whoops!) comments wherein he emphasized to Billy Bush that, as Oliver put it, “one of the perks of fame is that he can grab women’s genitalia without permission.”

Beyond Trump, Oliver had some words for Billy Bush — namely: “Incidentally, fuck Billy Bush.” He deems him deserving of those words “not just for laughing along,” but also for, immediately after the conversation where Trump bragged about it being easy for famous men to “do anything they want to” women, creepily encouraging a hug between Trump and soap star Arianne Zucker. Oliver doesn’t let it go unnoticed that Bush’s words included, “How about a little hug for the Bushy”:

It is troubling enough that he’s serving as Donald Trump’s hug pimp, but let’s not gloss over the fact that he said, ‘how about a little hug for the Bushy,’ a phrase that, if it isn’t already, should really be a felony offense in all 50 states.

Oliver notes that that same week, Wikileaks revealed some troubling (and unsurprising) information about Hillary’s valuable Wall Street speeches, but ultimately one thing she would not have said was, “I’m for open trade and open borders, but more than anything, I’m for luring men to furniture stores where I can grab them by the dick. I’m famous!”

Here at the end of Obama’s presidency, Oliver doesn’t deny that he’s accomplished a lot (especially considering immense pushback from Congress), but devoted the main section of the show to one of Obama’s inarguable failures — the unmet promise of the closure of Guantánamo Bay. Olive takes us through a repetitive timeline of statements from Obama in which he asserted that its closure was imminent…starting in 2009. “It’s Obama’s ‘one that got away,’ which is odd, considering that it’s a place where literally no one can get away,” says Oliver, noting that one of the reasons it’s been so hard to close it is that even a majority of the U.S. population (52 percent) think it should remain open — despite it being the home to various human rights abuses, and despite it costing 7 million dollars per prisoner per year

Oliver gets into the history of America’s use of the island, stating that we’ve been renting it from Cuba since 1903 — and paying $4,085 in rent. “We’ve barely been talking to Cuba, we disagree with their politics, and yet every year we send them checks for hilariously small amounts of money. We’re basically Cuba’s grandparents.”

He talks about how interrogation techniques included “physical beatings, short shackling, and hours and sometimes days of repeated loud music,” and how the reasons that some people are there can boil down to something as small as wearing a specific kind of Casio watch used by Al Qaeda. Oliver points out the proven misinformation that can come from torture strategies. “If you gave me a purple nurple for just 10 seconds, I would look you in the eye and swear that my favorite cereal is grape nuts.”

With only 62 detainees left on the island, there are 31 “who’ve not been charged with a crime, but who’ve not been cleared to be released.” Oliver emphasizes the need to close it, particularly before a president who’s more gung-ho about it — and all its legal loopholes — comes along and figures out a way to further abuse it. In the final moments of the segment, he cuts to Donald Trump repeating, “We’re going to load it up with bad dudes.”