Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has finally agreed to meet with 9/11 first responders after days of being shamed by Jon Stewart.
Stewart has been lobbying Congress to renew the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and took particular aim at McConnell during an interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace in an effort to appeal to conservative voters who can pressure the Kentucky senator to take action.
“This has never been dealt with compassionately by Senator McConnell,” Stewart said, referring to McConnell as the “white whale” of this issue since 2010. “He 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.”
McConnell dared criticize Stewart in response, resulting in Stewart taking the additional step of clapping back on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
“I didn’t know that they were busy,” Stewart sarcastically said. “I didn’t mean to interrupt them — with their jobs!”
Stewart rightfully fears McConnell will try to use the 9/11 first responders bill as a political bargaining chip when it should be immediately passed with no strings attached.
“If you want to know why the 9/11 community is bent out of shape over these past — let’s call it 18 years, meet with them, tomorrow, as soon as possible, and don’t make them beg for it,” he concluded. “You could pass this thing as a standalone bill tomorrow. I beg of you, meet with them tomorrow.”
McConnell did not meet with them the next day, but after much public shaming, he is finally going to meet with them on Tuesday afternoon.
9/11 first responder John Feal confirmed the meeting to the New York Post, and assured McConnell that while they are prepared to fight for the funding they desperately need and deserve, they are seeking a cordial meeting.
“Listen, we come in peace,” Feal said. “But we also — we’re prepared for anything, whether it’s a street fight or Mitch McConnell saying yes.”
Feal also had a message for President Donald Trump.
“The president can just come out today with a tweet and tell every Republican senator to get on board — because they all fear him,” he said. “The president wraps his arms around law enforcement, military, firefighters. Here’s the perfect chance for him to do that while he’s getting ready for a re-election bid.”
But, as usual, it’s likely their pleas will fall on deaf ears and that McConnell is only looking to make it appear that he’s interested in doing the right thing. That’s why Americans, regardless of party, should continue shaming McConnell and Republicans until they pass the legislation.
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