Stephen Colbert says he has no regrets about a monologue that included a crude sexual reference on the relationship between the presidents of the United States and Russia and has since prompted calls to fire him and boycott "Late Show" advertisers.
"He, I believe, can take care of himself," Colbert said at a Wednesday taping of his CBS late-night show. "I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it's a fair fight."
In his Monday monologue, Colbert said: "Mr. Trump, your presidency, I love your presidency. I call it "Disgrace the Nation."
- Merkel and Putin’s complicated relationship
- Stephen Colbert takes flak after lewd anti-Trump rant
- The Erdoganization of Israel
That raised the hackles of conservatives and Trump supporters, who accused Colbert of obscenity and making a homophobic remark that would have gotten right-wing pundits canned.
Colbert joked about the backlash in the opening moments of the Wednesday show. According to a CBS transcript mentioned in the Washington Post, the comedian told the audience: "Welcome to 'The Late Show.' I'm your host, Stephen Colbert. Still? I am still the host? I'm still the host!!"
Colbert said he was upset at Trump for insulting a friend, "Face the Nation" host John Dickerson. Trump referred to that show as "Deface the Nation" and later walked out on Dickerson during a weekend interview.
Colbert said he didn't regret making "a few choice insults" but acknowledged he may have gone a bit too far and also indirectly addressed the homophobic accusation.
"So while I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be," he concluded. "I'm not going to repeat the phrase, but I just want to say for the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is to me, an American hero.
"I think we can all agree on that. I hope even the president and I can agree on that. Nothing else. But, that."