"We're taping this a little while after Donald Trump walked into the White House briefing room and tried to poison American democracy," Colbert began, standing next to his desk. "That's why I'm not sitting down yet, I just don't feel like it yet. That's also why I'm dressed for a funeral, because Donald Trump tried really hard to kill something tonight."
Colbert went on to say that Trump "lied for 15 minutes," telling the American people "just nonsensical stuff about illegal vote dumps and corrupt election officials and secret Democrat counting cabals."
Noting that many had predicted this lengthy post-election process and Trump's response to a potential defeat, Colbert became visibly upset, bowing his head.
"We all knew he would do this. What I didn't know is that it would hurt so much," Colbert said of the president's reaction. "I didn't expect this to break my heart. For him to cast a dark shadow on our most sacred right from the briefing room in the White House, our house, not his. That is devastating."
Colbert continued, "This is heartbreaking for the same reason that I didn't want him to get COVID, certainly why I want him to survive because he is the President of the United States. That office means something and that office should have some shred of decency."
The late-night host went on to directly address Republican politicians, saying, "Republicans have to speak up, all of them. Because for evil to succeed, all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing. So say something right now, Republicans, not later."
He added that the eyes of the nation are on how politicians react to Trump's remarks and actions in the coming days.
"Americans are going to count something else starting right now. They're going to count who was willing to speak up against Donald Trump trying to kill democracy, and they'll count who will stay silent in the face of this desperate attack on the bedrock institution of this truly great nation," he said, going on to reference Trump's campaign slogan Make America Great Again. "'Cause he just attacked the thing that makes us most great, and it's time for you all to mean what your hats have been yelling."
Before sitting down for his rehearsed monologue, Colbert noted, "This is one I really wish I could swear. But I will say this, we're not going to show you a second of what that sad, frightened fraud said tonight because it's poison and I like you. He can suck silence."