On Monday night, Jimmy Kimmel began his late-night monologue by honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights icon who was viciously targeted by the U.S. federal government and whose revolutionary thinking has been softened by U.S. history classes for decades.
“Thank you for joining us on the day we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a real patriot, great man who lost his life to the same sick mentality that permeates this country to this day,” said Kimmel. “If Dr. King were alive today, he would probably watch the news and go, ‘Let me be more specific about this dream I had.’”
The comic then turned to The New Yorker’s shocking footage from inside the U.S. Capitol riot.
“We’ve been seeing more footage of what happened inside the Capitol that day, and it’s a lot worse than a lot of people guessed,” said Kimmel. “Fortunately, these geniuses taped it all for us—they documented their crimes for the FBI to see. But there were some moments of levity.”
He then threw to a clip of a group of Capitol insurrectionists inside the congressional chamber rifling through documents and complaining about Sen. Ted Cruz’s “objection to counting the electoral votes of the state of Arizona,” before realizing that it meant he was on their side in trying to block the results of the election, saying, “he’s with us.”
“OK, first of all, Ted Cruz doesn’t have any friends, so I’ll stop you right there,” cracked Kimmel. “And secondly, I just wish these people were smart enough to know how dumb they are.”
As the rioters were going through their “friend” Cruz’s documents, taking photos of them to try and find some sort of evidence that would prove their conspiracy theories true, one of them was captured on video saying, “I think Cruz would want us to do this, so I think we’re good.”
The Texas Republican, for the record, has been pushing election fraud lies for months—rhetoric that helped fuel the Capitol rioters. In the wake of the Capitol siege, there’s been a considerable amount of backlash against Cruz (and justifiably so), with his communications director resigning, Democratic officials discussing censuring Cruz, and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, suggesting that Cruz should be added to the no-fly list. Kimmel, for his part, has been dinging Cruz over his Capitol takeover complicity for weeks.
Kimmel joked Monday of the “Cruz would want us to do this” video: “Not exactly international espionage. He was probably taking pictures of the Quiznos menu that Ted Cruz uses to order lunch.”