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Seth Meyers on the GOP trying to work around Trump: “You can only cage the bear for so long”

The Late Night host takes a big-picture look at Trump’s tweets, media war, and role in health care.

Seth Meyers’s “A Closer Look” segment has become the most reliable news breakdown in late-night television, and his June 28 take on Donald Trump, Trump’s obsession with the media’s portrayal of him, and how his ego is playing into the ongoing health care debate was no exception.

Take Trump’s recent tweets tearing down Amazon and the Washington Post. As Meyers noted, these came after a Washington Post report that some of the clubhouses at Trump-owned golf courses feature a framed 2009 Time magazine cover lauding Trump and The Apprentice that does not, in fact, exist.

“Trump hung a fake Time magazine cover with his face on it in his private golf clubs,” repeated Meyers in awe. “That is the literal definition of fake news.”

But what makes Meyers’s Closer Look segments so good is that they never focus on just one anecdote or headline, instead together tying related stories to create a larger picture of why one particular piece is crucial to understanding the whole.

“While Trump tweets crazy things,” Meyers said, “the far more urgent thing happening in Washington right now is the GOP’s attempt to ram through their health care bill.”

Given Trump’s unpredictable temperament, it’s not entirely surprising that, as Meyers pointed out on Wednesday, Republicans are largely trying to craft and pass this legislation without the help of the president himself. In one example Meyers shared, Sen. John Cornyn told CNN that Republicans are straight up “trying to hold him back a little bit.” But as Meyers noted in response, “You can only cage the bear for so long. Eventually, he’s gonna bust out.”

Meyers was immediately proved right on Thursday morning, as Trump attacked MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski on Twitter for her “low IQ” and “bleeding badly ... facelift.” But even before the president delivered that jaw-dropping commentary, Meyers had used his well-honed wry analysis to zero in on what Trump’s ongoing war with the media, his soft spot for Fox News, and his notoriously thin skin mean for his administration’s ongoing policy goals — and the millions who stand to lose insurance should the current version of the Senate’s health care bill pass.

At one point, Meyers played a clip of a contributor on Fox News — the news network the president routinely watches and retweets — laughing that, hey, “the crazy thing is, we’re all gonna die!” and “unless they’re absolutely psychic and have a party line to heaven, they don’t know who’s gonna die or when!”

“Imagine if your doctor came back with your test results,” Meyers said, “and told you, ‘I have good news and bad news, and the good news is we’re all gonna die...’”

The notion that “we’re all gonna die” isn’t exactly fake news. But it’s also not a reassuring stance to take as Republicans keep fumbling to craft a health care bill that won’t immediately cause an uproar, all while walking on eggshells around a president so concerned with unflattering news reports that his own properties resort to framing a fabricated positive one.

You can watch the full Closer Look segment (“Trump Tweets While Republicans Huddle on Health Care”) in the clip above.

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