Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel slammed President Donald Trump and Congress over inaction on gun control Thursday night in the wake of the shooting at a Florida high school which killed 17 people on Valentine's Day.
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Kimmel made an emotional plea for action in his monologue on "Live!" -- first agreeing with two of Trump's statements from a Thursday morning address about the shooting. He cited two similar quotes from Trump, including that "no parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning."
"I agree with both of those statements," Kimmel said. "And here's what you do to fix that, tell your buddies in Congress, tell Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Marco Rubio, all the family men who care so much about their communities, that what we need are laws, real laws, that do everything possible to keep assault rifles out of the hands of people who are going to shoot our kids. Go on TV and tell them to do that."
The comments received loud applause from his audience.
He continued on, attacking Republican politicians and commentators for saying it was too soon to have a discussion over gun control. Ryan, the House Speaker, was among those politicians, telling reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday, "We need to step back" and it is "not the time to jump to conclusions." Kimmel singled out similar comments from McConnell, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
"Don't you dare let anyone say it's too soon to be talking about it, because you said it after Vegas, you said it after Sandy Hook, you say that after every one of these eight now fatal school shootings we had in this country this year," Kimmel said. "Children are being murdered."
Kimmel's comment on "eight now fatal school shootings" appears to be a reference to an Everytown for Gun Safety study, with the correct number being eight intentional shootings causing death or injury in 2018.
Kimmel also made specific reference to Trump's only major policy decision relating to gun control in his first year in office.
Despite Trump's immediate appraisal on Twitter of the shooting coming as a result of the suspect being "mentally disturbed," the president signed H.J. Res. 40 on Feb. 28, 2017 ending the Social Security Administration's requirement to enter the names of people who receive mental health benefits into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. This system is used for gun background checks at purchase.
"One of your very first acts as president, Mr. Trump, was to roll back the regulations that were designed to keep firearms out of the hands of mentally ill," Kimmel said. "You did that. Your party voted to repeal the mandates on coverage for mental health. So I agree, this is a mental illness issue, because if you don't think we need to do something about it, you're obviously mentally ill."