Moments after Trevor Noah sat down behind his desk on the set of ‘‘The Daily Show,’’ he looked straight into the camera and said three words: ‘‘The border wall.’’
‘‘It’s now official, neither Mexico nor Congress will pay for it,’’ Noah informed his audience Thursday night. ‘‘So, like many of you after Valentine’s Day, Trump is turning to Plan B.’’
‘‘Plan B,’’ in this case, is President Donald Trump’s likely declaration of a national emergency to secure more money for his proposed border wall. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced that Trump will sign a $333 billion budget deal to avoid another government shutdown even though the compromise falls drastically short on delivering the 234 miles of steel walls the president has pushed for.
Cue the national emergency, which Trump declared Friday morning — the same time he plans to sign the spending bill, The Washington Post reported.
The news was met with instant backlash as the hashtag ‘‘#FakeEmergency’’ began trending on Twitter with more than 14,000 mentions as of early Friday morning, while late-night comedians, some of Trump’s most vocal critics, gleefully ridiculed the impending announcement.
On Comedy Central, Noah appeared perplexed by Trump’s forthcoming declaration, describing it as ‘‘weird.’’
‘‘Normally in an emergency you don’t spend months debating whether or not something is an emergency. Like, it’s normally pretty clear,’’ Noah said. ‘‘If someone is breaking into your house, you wouldn’t call 911 and be like: ‘No, no don’t send someone right way. Give me a few weeks. Let me see if I can convince him to leave. I’ll let you know.’ ‘‘
He later offered an alternative to the wall: New York City subway turnstiles.
‘‘Those things are so unreliable,’’ Noah said following a segment on how New Yorkers routinely jump the mechanical gates. ‘‘You have to swipe like six times and it never works. Swipe and swipe and swipe and then you try and walk through and the bar hits you in the crotch. It’s the worst.’’
The host’s face lit up in an ‘‘aha’’ moment.
‘‘Forget national emergency. You know what, if Trump wants to stop Mexicans, he should just put a row of New York subway turnstiles at the border,’’ Noah said before adopting an accent. ‘‘They would be like, ‘Ai yi yi, swipe again, swipe again. I’m turning around.’”
The show’s social media accounts also didn’t hold back, mocking White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’s official statement on the matter, which appeared to be written on the iPhone Notes application. The show offered further commentary through ‘‘Bricky The Wall,’’ billed as ‘‘President Trump’s border wall mascot.’’
Stephen Colbert adopted a graver tone as he broke the news to his viewers that Trump would be getting $1.375 billion for 55 miles of fences along the border in Texas.
‘‘That’s a serious walkback,’’ Colbert said with mock trepidation. ‘‘Honey, I know you wanted a diamond engagement ring, but what about this candy necklace? . . . You can eat it.’’
Colbert then played a clip of McConnell on the Senate floor speaking about the deal and Trump’s plan, pointing out that the Republican leader’s droning voice seemed to belie the imminent emergency.
‘‘You can tell by the tone of my voice and the urgency with which I am informing you that this is a true national emergency,’’ Colbert drawled, impersonating McConnell. ‘‘In a related matter, I see that the Senate chamber is on fire and filled with scorpions. Everybody, everybody run. Run for your lives. Now.’’
On NBC, Seth Meyers couldn’t contain his shock.
‘‘Wait, you’re declaring a national emergency?’’ an incredulous Meyers asked. ‘‘This is like one of those news stories where a crazy guy calls 911 because McDonald’s ran out of nuggets. There’s nothing wrong with McDonald’s. You’re the problem.’’
In the hours after the announcement, social media was equally rife with reactions, many slamming the emergency as ‘‘fake,’’ while others applauded the president.
Prominent conservatives defended Trump and supported the plan.
Tomi Lahren of Fox News clapped back at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who repeatedly skewered Trump’s expected emergency declaration on social media and to reporters on Thursday.
‘‘I couldn’t be happier with the @realDonaldTrump power move today!’’ Lahren wrote in another tweet.
But criticism only increased when word spread that Trump plans to go to Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida, on Friday after signing the bill, Reuters reported.