This is an article published in the Fox News:

In raising the subject of Hunter Biden, the liberal comedian Colbert claimed to Joe Biden that "the people who want to make hay in Washington are going to try to use your son as as a cudgel against you."

I can't understand the bolded part. I guess 'make hay' means 'take profit', specifically 'get a job or a position' but the following phrase doesn't make any sense. 'as as a cudgel against' seems that 'threaten a person with his/her flaw' or 'use a leverage to someone'. If so the whole meaning is too negative that the president-elect would be a very weak plaything.

What is the clear meaning of the bolded part? 'as as' seems to be a typo.

3 Answers 3


What is the clear meaning from 'that'? 'as as' seems to be a typo.

Firstly the whole sentence is a very clumsy admixture of metaphors. When reading this we are tempted to think that that someone is going make hay with a cudgel - a nonsensical idea. Then, as we read further we find that the speaker has actually transitioned into a completely different analogy. I hope this person's comedy is better than their grasp of English.

Joe Biden's son was implicated in a scandal. This was a big story in the news for a while. It might perhaps have swayed people's opinions in the presidential election.

"the people who want to make hay in Washington are going to try to use your son as as a cudgel against you."

The comedian intends the following:

... "the people in Washington who want to profit politically from the story (about Hunter Biden) are going to try to use the scandal about your son in order to discredit you (as a candidate for the presidency)".

There were very different spins given to the story in the newspapers according to the political beliefs of the editors. The New York Post published an exposé and the CNN TV news organisation tried to ignore it according to some sources.

I suggest you search online for "Hunter Biden story" to find out more about the background.

For example

CNN liberal apologists caught burying The Post’s Hunter Biden exposé: Devine
... On the morning of Oct. 14, the day we [the New York Post] published an email from Hunter’s abandoned laptop in which a top executive from corrupt Ukrainian energy company Burisma thanked Hunter for arranging a meeting with his then-VP father, CNN political director David Chalian is heard telling Zucker and his underlings that the news network would not cover the story.

“Obviously, we’re not going with the New York Post story right now on Hunter Biden,” said Chalian. “We’ll just continue to report out this is the very stuff that the president was impeached over . . . that Senate committees looked at and found nothing wrong in Joe Biden’s interactions with Ukrainians.” https://nypost.com/2020/12/02/cnn-caught-burying-the-posts-hunter-biden-expose-devine/

Does this help?

P.S. "as as" is indeed a typo.


@Astralbee explains in their answer (q.v.), the meaning and derivation of "make hay", quote:

It is a shortening of a proverb "make hay while the sun shines ... - Astralbee"

  • 4
    You don't appear to have answered the question of what 'make hay' means.
    – Astralbee
    Dec 18, 2020 at 12:19
  • @Astralbee - I've added an edit, referencing your answer. Dec 18, 2020 at 12:28

It is a shortening of a proverb "make hay while the sun shines", which originally meant that you should take advantage of favourable conditions to work so that you have something for when you cannot work. The overall message of the proverb is a positive one. However, the shortened version "make hay" seems to have come to mean simply to take advantage, which could be in a negative context - to take advantage of other people means to impose upon them. In the context of your example it seems the meaning is that these ones will take advantage of others' weakness.


You're mostly correct about both metaphors. Your confusion is about who would be doing this. Colbert's not talking about people who want a job from Biden. He's talking about Biden's enemies doing it.

Make hay means to get a profit while you can, often from something which won't last so you've got to do it now. It could be about getting a job, but usually isn't. Use as a cudgel is just as you wrote. Generally it's some weakness that you mention over and over, like you're beating them with it.

The whole thing in plain English is "your enemies will try to get an advantage by constantly criticizing your son".

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