On the one-year anniversary of the no-good, very-bad election night of 2016, Trevor Noah and The Daily Show decided to look back at a man whose presidency was a flop. No, not Trump—whom Noah likens to “that kid who begged to sit at the grown-up’s table and now he’s bored that the people won’t stop talking about news”—but instead, 43rd President George W. Bush: brother to Jeb!, warmonger, surprisingly good painter.
The living nightmare of Trump’s presidency, Noah pointed out, has made us look back on Bush’s time in the Oval Office with nostalgia. “Up until last year,” Noah said, “he was widely seen as the worst president in American history.” After all, he bungled Katrina relief, set policies that let the U.S. slide into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and invaded both Afghanistan and Iraq.
But after rock-bottom approval ratings of 25 percent during his second term, Bush’s popularity has rebounded to 59 percent. Given this trajectory, “By the end of Trump’s second term, Bush is going to be posing for Mount Rushmore.”
So what, Noah wondered, could possibly make us look back at Trump’s presidency with any sort of fondness? Cut to a retirement home in 2029, where America has elected President Gorgon, a literal Gila monster with a predilection for raping human skulls (but the alternative, Robo-President 5000 “seemed too president-y, and it didn’t have a clear message,” complains a faux Gorgon voter).
Bad as the prospect of a Gila monster in the White House is, “It could be worse,” The Daily Show’s 2029 characters reflected. “We could have elected Mike Pence.”