Jon Stewart has gone after Mitch McConnell in the past, but now he’s so mad that turning him into a bizarre internet meme won’t suffice. On Monday night, the former host returned to The Daily Show for the first time since he stepped down in August as part of his years-long effort to secure health-care funding for 9/11 first responders, who have suffered with serious illnesses linked to the air they inhaled at Ground Zero. First responders received funding through the 2011 Zadroga Act, but that law will expire if Congress does not pass a long-term extension this week.
Most of the episode was devoted to the issue, and it featured a field piece showing Stewart’s mostly unsuccessful attempts to speak to members of Congress in recent days. There’s now enough support to get the legislation passed, but the Republican leadership could still kill it. Stewart said he thinks House Speaker Paul Ryan will get on board because, “ultimately, he is still human.” Instead, he focused his ire on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who he said is “unwilling to move the bill forward for purely political reasons.”
Stewart went on to explain that McConnell pushed a similar bill to benefit sick workers in his home state of Kentucky, but pulled the 9/11 legislation from a recently passed transportation bill because he didn’t get concessions related to oil sales. Stewart’s assessment: “Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky doesn’t give a shit about anything but politics.”
The show concluded with Stewart and Noah asking people to pester their representatives on social media, particularly the Senate majority leader, with the hashtags #EndTheFuckery or #WorstResponders. It probably makes McConnell yearn for the days when Stewart was merely comparing him to a cartoon turtle. Watch the entire episode here.