As the only network host airing new shows this week, it was left to Jimmy Kimmel to give the official late-night response to the horrific mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And he had a lot to say.
Four and half months after he broke down in tears discussing the massacre that left 58 people dead in his hometown of Las Vegas, Kimmel once again decided to forgo the jokes in his monologue Thursday night in favor of an impassioned plea to lawmakers to finally do something about America’s gun violence epidemic.
Kimmel voice started out shaky as he began to talk about the “senseless shooting” that caused the loss of 17 lives, most of whom were young students. He quickly moved to show a clip from President Donald Trump’s speech about the massacre Thursday morning, during which the president deliberately chose not to mention guns.
The host wholeheartedly agreed with Trump’s assertions that “no child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an American school” and that “no parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning.”
“And here’s what you do to fix that,” Kimmel said. “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.”
Kimmel told Trump to force the “allegedly Christian men and women who stuff their pockets with money from the NRA year after year after year to do something now—not later, now.”
“And 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 shootings we’ve had in this country this year,” Kimmel said, breaking down in tears. “Children are being murdered.”
Kimmel accused the president of doing “worse than nothing” about the issue by rolling back Obama-era regulations designed to keep firearms from mentally ill people. “I agree, this is a mental illness issue,” he said. “Because if you don’t think we need to do something about it, you’re obviously mentally ill.”
“If one illegal immigrant causes a car accident, we’ve got to build a wall to keep the rest of them out,” Kimmel continued. “Why are you looking for solutions to that problem but not this one?”
In his speech, Trump said he wanted to “ease” Americans’ “pain,” but in order to do that, Kimmel told him he needs to do “something” about guns. “Somewhere along the line, these guys forgot they work for us and not the NRA,” he said. “This time, we’re not going to allow you to bow your head in prayer for two weeks until you get an all-clear and you move on to the next thing.”
Kimmel concluded by asking viewers to visit Everytown.org to find out how to contact their representatives about guns, just as he did in his successful campaign to preserve Obamacare. “And if they don’t listen,” he said, “vote them out of office.”