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Stewart Hits Back At McConnell, Says He Uses 9/11 Community As 'Political Pawn'

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Comedian Jon Stewart lashed back at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Monday. 

Colbert showed a clip of McConnell calling Stewart “bent out of shape” for his criticism of Congress’s lagging efforts to renew funding for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. 


Colbert asked Stewart if he was really "bent out of shape." 

"No, no Mitch McConnell, I am not bent out of shape, I’m in fine shape," Stewart retorted. "Well I am out of shape. But not because of you… I’m fine. 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 still in terrible need."

"You would think that that would be enough to get Congress’s attention. But apparently, it’s not,” he said. 

When presented with McConnell’s comments that members of Congress missed a hearing regarding the fund because they were “busy,” Stewart responded with sarcasm. 

"I feel like an asshole," he said. "Now I feel stupid. This is a huge misunderstanding. I didn’t know that they were busy. I didn’t mean to interrupt them with their jobs.”

Stewart furthered his criticism of the Senate majority leader by saying that he uses the 9/11 community as a “political pawn.” 

"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," he said. 

Stewart noted the work others have put into renewing funding for the bill. 

“We’ve spent a year compiling bipartisan co-sponsors and advocates for this bill, all in the hopes that when it finally gets to the great Mitch McConnell’s desk, you won’t jack us around like you’ve done in the past,” he said. 


Stewart ended his argument on a sarcastic note. 

"If you want to know why we’re 'bent out of shape', meet with them tomorrow, and don’t make them beg for it. You could pass this thing tomorrow. If you’re 'busy' I get it."

Stewart’s comments come after he received media attention for his emotional message at a September 11th Victim Compensation Fund hearing. He criticized Congress for their slow efforts at gathering funds to renew the bill. Later on, he specifically criticized McConnell for failing to deal with the matter "compassionately." McConnell responded by saying that Congress has “never failed to address this issue" and will address it again. 

Current compensation for 9/11 first responders is set to run out this year. Stewart is advocating for a bill that would ensure funds until 2090.

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