Two “bubbles” collided on national TV Thursday night, and while the people at the center of the clash are calling for more respect and civility in politics, their supporters rushed to claim victory over the exchange on social media.
Trevor Noah, the host of the news satire program “The Daily Show,” interviewed conservative commentator Tomi Lahren for 26 minutes on his show Thursday, and the two talked about everything from Black Lives Matter to the Affordable Care Act to the recording of Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women.
Noah has been an outspoken critic of President-elect Donald Trump throughout the presidential campaign, regularly skewering him on his comedy show and on social media. Lahren hosts her own program on the right-wing outlet TheBlaze and sparked controversy in late August with a fiery rant in which she called NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick a “crybaby” for his ongoing protest against racial injustice during the national anthem.
Together, they came together for an extended interview that, while heated at times, ended with both thanking each other for a “conversation we should continue having,” as Noah put it.
Before they began talking, Noah showed his audience, which he acknowledged may never have heard of Lahren, a clip of her show, in which she railed against people protesting Trump’s election victory ("crybabies with nothing better to do"), Occupy Wall Street "brats" and "the militant" Black Lives Matter movement.
"Why are you so angry?" Noah asked after the clip rolled.
"I'm actually not that angry," Lahren responded. "It's just that there are things that need to be said, Trevor, and a lot of people are afraid to say them."
Lahren called coming onto the show the equivalent of walking into the lion's den, and Noah’s audience made its preference clear often, cheering and applauding whenever he poked holes in Lahren’s logic or strongly rebutted her arguments.
When Lahren said she believed Trump was level-headed and reasonable, Noah asked, "Do you have Twitter?" And when she claimed she doesn't see color, the "Daily Show" host asked her what she does at traffic lights.
"For somebody who's not racist, you have to spend a lot of time saying, 'I'm not racist,'" he told her.
Lahren reiterated her criticism of Kaepernick's personal form of peaceful protest, but she stopped short of telling him to leave the country and even offered to have the 49ers quarterback on her show.
However, Noah pressed her on two issues specifically; her claim that the Black Lives Matter movement is the “new KKK,” and her continued support of Trump after audio surfaced of him bragging about making unwanted sexual advances on women.
“The KKK is still around ... and most importantly, to say that Black Lives Matter is the new KKK is to really minimize what the KKK did and what they stand for,” Noah said. “That is not the same thing.”
Noah also got Lahren to say that the audio recording of Trump was “indefensible,” but Lahren, a former Marco Rubio supporter, maintained that once Trump became the Republican nominee, she had to support him over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
"It was not a good day for Trump supporters," she said of the tape release. "But I'm still comparing someone who said some nasty things, to a woman (Clinton) who has done nasty things.”
Still, Lahren defended herself and asked for civility and communication between people who disagree, saying “I wish we could disagree with each other without (people) thinking that we are bad people or ill-intentioned folks.”
The two also tweeted supportive messages of each other after the interview.
Of course, neither was remotely successful in persuading the other to change his or her mind, and on social media, their supporters were quick to claim their side had gotten the better of the exchange.
While some expressed support for the civility of the exchange, there is still a wide divide that the one interview could not close all by itself.
Information from The Washington Post was included in this report.