Transcript: Jon Stewart finally weighs in on 2016, Donald Trump

Jon Stewart during the taping of the "Axe Files" in Chicago

Story highlights

  • Jon Stewart is no longer hosting a daily news satire show, but he weighed in on 2016 during a taping of the "Axe Files" podcast
  • Stewart had harsh words for the media and for candidates on both sides of the aisle

The Axe Files, featuring David Axelrod, is a podcast distributed by CNN and produced at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. This episode includes strong language that some might find offensive

(CNN)UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now, from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, and CNN, the Axe files, with your host, David Axelrod.

DAVID AXELROD: Oh, can I say...
JON STEWART: Now you can say, this is how Jews meet all the time. When people aren't paying attention, we sneak into churches and just chat.
    AXELROD: That theme song, by the way, was actually the original John D. Rockefeller theme music. So...
    STEWART: Yet, you got to be a rich (inaudible)..
    AXELROD: ...(Inaudible)...
    STEWART: ...to have your own theme music.
    AXELROD: Oh yes. So, Jon, I have to ask you? Where you been man?
    STEWART: Me?
    AXELROD: Yes, there's a lot going on out here?
    STEWART: I've been in line. I was out in line, out front.
    AXELROD: Do you wake up ever and say to yourself that this was some kind of big celestial joke on you that you announce your retirement from the Daily Show and I see when you did you said it didn't appear that there was going to be anything wildly different about this election year. You had done four others. How's that working for you now?
    STEWART: Well, I mean, I think we talk about it as though it's something incredibly different, but in truth, how different is it, really? I mean, media is, as usual, focused on the wrong things and advocating responsibility for the general filtration of toxicity. You have enormous amounts of money flowing into crazy people who are channeling populace of years past. So, I don't, you know, if you took Sarah Palin's head and jammed onto Donald Trump's body, would it make any more sense? Probably not.
    AXELROD: Look a little weird though, I think.
    STEWART: I don't know that it would look any weirder.
    AXELROD: Um, yeah, on that point, you once said, "I assume there are bad actors in society. Its inherent politicians would be disingenuous. I assume monkeys are going to throw sh--. I get angry with people who don't go 'bad monkey' or...
    STEWART: Wait, I said that?
    AXELROD: ...create a distraction that allows it to be continued unabated." How responsible is the media for Donald Trump?
    STEWART: Oh, I don't -- Look, listen. I don't necessarily believe that a full court press on his untruthinness would necessarily change it. I mean, he's not -- he was voted for, but I do think he is, generally, the conclusion to years of -- he makes sense if you view it through the prism of talk radio. I like to drive, and so I listen to talk radio and it is 24/7 of 'your country is being taken away from you.' As far as I can tell, the conservative side on the right side, they feel an ownership over America. They are the stewards of America. They are its forbearers...
    AXELROD: Was it (inaudible)?
    STEWART: Exactly. Republicans, conservatives, love America. They just hate like 50 percent of the people living in it. So, in general...
    AXELROD: Isn't part of their concern that that 50 percent is becoming, or whatever percent, is becoming a greater -- we're becoming a much more diverse country?
    STEWART: Sure. So yeah, no nativism -- look, this is -- it's not as though this is inherent only to this country as well. Globalization has created this strange pushback throughout the entire world. You see a lot of countries retreating into nativism...
    AXELROD: Mm-hmm.
    STEWART: ...into that type of really...
    Stewart, pre-beard, hosting The Daily Show in 2015
    AXELROD: Like there are Trump-like characters all over Europe and different country.
    STEWART: Yes. Yes. It's very similar to -- I don't know if you ever saw "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" -- very similar. But no, in some ways it's a natural reaction to fear. Now, if you have that fear stoked on a daily basis, at an incredibly high pitch -- and this is not -- We really need to do something about this country; we're facing some difficult problems. This is you are run by a tyrant; he is going to take away your rights. We are falling. There are rapists and murders at the border coming to kill you. If that's what you've been fed and that's what you're buying into, Donald Trump makes more sense than anybody else out there because he's going, "Great, let's build -- the Visigoths are out the gate. Let's build a f---ing wall and not let it..." It makes total sense. What wouldn't make sense are the general republican leadership going, "There are Visigoths at the wall, they are here to kill you, let's try and not pass a new budget resolution." You know that's...
    AXELROD: Yeah.
    STEWART: Their rhetoric has never matched their action. Donald Trump is saying, "Oh, that's your rhetoric? Then yeah...
    AXELROD: Although, you know, there is...
    STEWART: ...let's build a wall."
    AXELROD: ...there's a weird paradox in both his message and their attacks, which is, on the one hand they say, "Well, the dictator is encroaching and threatening. On the other hand, their critique of the President is that he's feckless." And it's hard to be a feckless dictator unless you're...
    STEWART: Are you suggesting...
    AXELROD: ...Groucho Marx and Duck Soup.
    STEWART: Are you suggesting, sir, that there me be slight cognitive dissonance?
    AXELROD: Well...
    STEWART: Is that what you're suggesting? Because...
    AXELROD: Well...
    STEWART: ...will not sit here...
    AXELROD: ...some...
    STEWART: ...and be told -- Look, I don't even know that Donald Trump is eligible to be President, and that's not a birther thing, that's -- I don't know. Look, I'm not a constitutional scholar, so I can't necessarily say, but can you -- are you eligible to run if you are a man-baby or a baby-man? See, I don't know what the -- look, I don't know, and again, I'm not here to be politically incorrect. If they're referred to as man-baby Americans, but he is a man-baby. He has the physical countenance of a man and a baby's temperament and hands. So, to have that together -- I mean, for God sakes, I should sp-- so, I do have a history with the man, and so in effort of full disclosure, we made fun of him and I think we were afraid it was a boiled ham and a wig or something. Who knows? And so he tweeted at me because, as you know, great leaders...
    AXELROD: Tweet.
    STEWART: ...tweet...
    AXELROD: Yes.
    STEWART: ...late at night. In fact, I remember, Lincoln's Gettysburg tweets going after he delivered...
    AXELROD: That's why their dress was so short he had to turn it under for you.
    STEWART: Yes. Well, after the Gettysburg Address, he tweeted out, emancipate this motherf---er. So Donald Trump tweeted John Leibowitz. He thought, he's going to use my birth name...
    AXELROD: Was your name.
    STEWART: ...which is Liebowitz. Yes. Jon Stewart Leibowitz is my -- Jonathan Stewart Liebowitz is my full name. he was going to tweet that and then he tweeted out, "Be proud of your heritage. Don't run away from who you are. By the way, he's overrated" or something along those lines.
    AXELROD: Incisive.
    STEWART: It was very incisive. And so we thought, "Well geeze, let's answer." So, we tweeted back to him, Donald Trump's real name, which I don't know if you even this, is F--- Face Von Clownstick. And...
    AXELROD: The research you guys must do on that show is unbelievable.
    STEWART: Yeah. We have people -- Lexus Nexus will tell you that. And so, we wanted to know why he was running away from the Von Clownstick heritage and we got into this huge fight and this...
    AXELROD: Did he sue you? He tends to sue for things like that.
    STEWART: Yeah, I mean, I'm just -- I don't know that a man-baby can be president. He's -- character is destiny and he is the most thin-skinned individual -- and look, you've been around politicians, you know they're thin-skinned. You know President Obama, for all his qualities that you love, gets angry and I've borne the...
    AXELROD: Irritated, I would say.
    <