The Mehdi Hasan Show on Peacock is fast becoming a must-watch.
Just days after thoroughly embarrassing John Bolton over his complicity in the Iraq War, Hasan welcomed comedian Jon Stewart and John Feal, a demolition supervisor at Ground Zero who was injured in the September 11 attacks, onto the program to discuss their tireless work fighting for benefits for 9/11 first responders.
Now the duo is pleading with Congress to try to get health benefits for veterans who’ve suffered complications after being exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Asked how he’s managed to get through to Congress, Feal said he has “nothing to lose… and can outlast their career.”
“I’ve been at this for 16 years. I’ve had over 1,800 meetings, over 300 trips to D.C., I know every square inch of Capitol Hill. I know when they’re going to the bathroom, when they’re gonna have lunch,” he continued. “I get in their heads and make their lives miserable. We’re talking about men and women who did extraordinary things to keep us safe 24/7.”
Then Hasan asked Stewart about Republican Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee, both of whom voted against the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund bill, citing its cost.
“I think one of the issues that occurs with the Republican Party, unfortunately, is nothing is real until it happens to them. It’s an inability to empathize or to understand that other people may be suffering issues that you don’t suffer,” said Stewart, adding, “Certainly, Mike Lee was one of the more difficult senators John and I had to deal with down there—along with Mitch McConnell, and, quite frankly, much of the Republican leadership.”
Hasan pressed Stewart on how the GOP’s attitude toward veterans’ benefits squares with the image they have created for themselves as the party of the military.
“They’re the party of symbolism. It’s paper patriotism. It’s the party that, if Colin Kaepernick takes a knee, they’ll never watch another football game again. They stand for the anthem, but when it comes down, [it’s] everybody support the troops until the troops need support, and then they disappear.”