Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart made a surprise appearance on CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Monday evening to address points Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) had made about him earlier in the day.
Last week, Stewart spoke before a congressional committee in favor of fully compensating the September 11, 2001 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which was set to run out of funding. During his appearance, only about half of the lawmakers meant to sit before him on the committee actually showed up, HuffPost reported.
Following Stewart’s remarks to the committee, in which he chastised those who didn’t appear to hear other first responders’ stories of their detrimental health effects following their running into the debris after the Twin Towers fell in 2001, the committee passed the required recommendation to push the bill forward.
Over the weekend, Stewart expressed his continued aggravation over continued stalling over passage of the bill — particularly singling out McConnell.
“I want to make it clear that this has never been dealt with compassionately by Senator McConnell. has always held out until the very last minute, and only then, under intense lobbying and public shaming, has he even deigned to move on it,” Stewart said about the majority leader’s action on the VCF, per reporting from the Washington Post.
McConnell responded in kind, appearing on Fox News the next day to say he didn’t understand why Stewart was “all bent out of shape” over the matter.
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) June 18, 2019
That same evening, Stewart made another commentary about McConnell’s lackadaisical approach to the VCF. Appearing from underneath Colbert’s desk, Stewart explained he wasn’t “bent out of shape,” although he admitted he was “out of shape” from too many pizzas, per reporting from CNN.
“I’m fine,” Stewart explained. “I’m bent out of shape for them [9/11 first responders]. These are the first heroes and veterans and victims of the great trillions of dollars war on terror. And they’re currently still suffering and dying, and in terrible need. You know, you would think that that would be enough to get Congress’ attention, but apparently it’s not.”
Stewart also responded to McConnell, who had explained earlier in the day that lawmakers couldn’t be bothered to attend his hearing last week because they were busy.
“You’re not good at this argument thing,” Stewart said of McConnell’s rationale. “Basically, we’re saying you love the 9/11 community when they serve your political purposes. But when they’re in urgent need, you slow-walk, you dither, you use it as a political pawn to get other things you want, and you don’t get the job done completely. And your answer to that charge is, ‘Yeah, duh. We’re Congress. That’s how we do.'”
Stewart’s comments toward the Senate Majority Leader were met with applause from audience members.