Stewart fires back at McConnell for calling him 'bent out of shape' over 9/11 first responders

PHOTO: Jon Stewart appears as a guest on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," June 17, 2019.PlayCBS
WATCH Jon Stewart slams Congress in passionate testimony

On Monday's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," comedian Jon Stewart fired back at Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after McConnell said Stewart was 'bent out of shape" over wanting Congress to move faster on taking care of 9/11 first responders with health problems.

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Stewart drew national attention last week when he made an emotional appeal before the House Judiciary Committee for making the Victims Compensation Fund permanent, at one point almost shouting, “They responded in five seconds, they did their jobs, with courage grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later, do yours!"

PHOTO:Jon Stewart testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on re-authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on Capitol Hill, June 11, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Zach Gibson/Getty Images, FILE
PHOTO:Jon Stewart testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on re-authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on Capitol Hill, June 11, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

While the committee voted to advance the proposal to fully and permanently fund the program, its fate in the Senate is unclear. In 2015, the original funding bill was held up by McConnell, only to be passed as part of last-minute negotiations over an overall year-end spending deal.

In his testimony, Stewart took aim at McConnell, promising that he and other advocates won’t allow a “certain someone” in the Senate to use the program as a “political football” in spending negotiations.

PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., June 11, 2019. J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILE
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., June 11, 2019.

McConnell responded on "Fox and Friends" on Monday, saying he didn't know why Stewart was "bent out of shape," denied he was moving slowly on the issue and said the extension would pass when it came up for renewal.

PHOTO: Jon Stewart appears as a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, June 17, 2019. CBS
Jon Stewart appears as a guest on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," June 17, 2019.

"I'm not bent out of shape, I'm fine. I'm bent out of shape for them," Stewart responded on CBS' "The Late Show."

"These are the first heroes and veterans and victims of the great trillions of dollars War on Terror. And they are currently dying, suffering and in terrible need. You know you would think that would be enough for Congress to pay attention, but apparently, it's not." he said.

"Listen, senator. I know that your species isn't known for moving quickly," he said.

Colbert then asked him, “Would that be a turtle reference Jon?”

It was "a little red meat for the base," Stewart answered.

"But damn, senator. You're not good at this argument thing. 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 use it as a political pawn to get other things you want," Stewart said.

"Just understand the next time we have a war or you're being robbed or your house is on fire and you make that desperate call for help, don't get bent out of shape if they show up at the last minute with fewer people than you thought were going to pay attention and don't actually pull it out. just leave it there, smoldering for another five years 'cause that's how sh--'s done around here mister. I'm sure they'll put it out for good when they feel like getting around to it. No offense," he concluded.