Jon Stewart fires back at Mitch McConnell over 9/11 victims fund

By Christopher Brito

/ CBS News

Jon Stewart chokes up at hearing on 9/11 fund

Jon Stewart struck back against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after the lawmaker said the former "Daily Show" host was "all bent out of shape" over the 9/11 first responders bill. Stewart responded to the Kentucky Republican's comments during his appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

After Stewart publicly shamed Congress at a House hearing last week, McConnell dismissed the comedian's efforts to secure funding for the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund on Fox & Friends on Monday. "We have never failed to address this issue, and we will address it again." he said. "I don't know why he's all bent out of shape."

Jon Stewart Won't Let Mitch McConnell Off That Easy by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on YouTube

On Colbert's show hours later, Stewart emerged from underneath his friend's desk and took aim at McConnell. "No, Mitch McConnell, I am not bent out of shape!" he said. "I'm bent out of shape for them. 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 would think that would be enough to get Congress' attention? But apparently, it's not."

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He also addressed McConnell's comment that Congress members typically have "a lot of things going on at the same time" when the GOP leader was asked about Stewart's frustration over missing seats during the committee hearing. McConnell said Stewart was "looking for some way to take offense."

"I feel like an a*shole," Stewart said sarcastically. "This is a huge misunderstanding. I didn't know they were busy. I didn't mean to interrupt them with their jobs!"

Stewart pleaded with McConnell to reach out to first responders and survivors of the nation's worst terror attack — and grant them a meeting in person promptly.

"So, if you want to know why the 9/11 community is bent out of shape over these past, let's call it 18 years," he said, "Meet with them, tomorrow, as soon as possible, and don't make them beg for it."

"I beg of you, meet with them tomorrow, but you know what?" he added. "If you're busy, I get it."

A day after Stewart's emotional testimony last week, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to permanently reauthorize the fund, which is part of the larger James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Now, the fund will go to a full House vote, and then it will be up for Senate approval. McConnell has not stated whether he will bring up the fund for vote in the Senate.

Stewart's recent face-off with Congress is hardly the first one. For almost a decade, he's tussled with lawmakers over the Zadroga Act and used the "Daily Show" to advocate for 9/11 first responders and victims.

First published on June 18, 2019 / 10:04 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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