Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s long-running late night talk show “Real Time”, took a few minutes out of his show Friday night to respond to the backlash to a segment from last week’s show where he voiced his hope that the US economy takes a nosedive into recession in the relatively near future, because – as Maher argued – a recession is the only thing that will help get rid of Trump by “eroding his popularity.”
Maher started the segment by repeating his now infamous line: “A recession is a survivable event. What Trump is doing to this country…is not” before lobbing a few criticisms of his own at the “right-wing nut-o-sphere” that took umbrage with his remarks. Responding to Laura Ingraham’s claim that Maher has been rooting for an “economic collapse”, Maher called her claims “laughable”, arguing that he never said anything about wishing for an “economic collapse.” “All I did was make a wish!,” Maher joked. Anybody who doesn’t understand this, he said, could use a “course in perspective.”
“And finally, new rule, anyone who went apeshit over the last two weeks because I said going through a recession would be worth it if it undermined Trump’s popularity has to enroll in college and take a course in perspective,” Maher told his audience.
Maher believes his economic commentary is important, given that the American left is seemingly fixated on children being separated from their parents at the border, gun control and “intersectional” issues like transgender Americans’ rights to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, while ignoring the fact that Democracy in America is “going the way of the DoDo bird”..
“Democracy is about to go the way of the dinosaurs because we’ve been taken over by a dodo bird,” he added, to laughs. “So let me repeat: Recessions are survivable events. We survive one every time a Republican is in the White House. It’s true. Every Republican president since Teddy Roosevelt has presided over a recession.“
But criticisms of Maher’s comments weren’t exclusively made by the right: Dean Obeidallah, a CNN contributor, wrote that “Bill Maher is wrong to root for a recession – and it hurts progressives that a so called progressive like millionaire Bill Maher is rooting for Americans to suffer.” And while Maher scoffed at the notion that Alex Jones’ accused him of being worth $100 million, he does collect an annual salary of $10 million. The controversy began when Maher suggested during his show last week that only an economic recession would be enough to dislodge Trump from office – and that an economic downturn would be well-worth it to spare Americans from Trump’s policies like his tax reform bill which handed money back to corporations and the wealthy (ignoring the fact that many working Americans – particularly those living in states that voted for Trump – have also benefited).
“I feel like the bottom has to fall out at some point,” Maher said.
Of course, Maher is right about one thing: The US economy has survived, on average, one recession every ten years. And with the current business cycle – already the second-longest on record for the US – drawing inevitably closer to its end, the odds that Trump ends up presiding over a recession are increasing with each passing day.