A day after calling out the network for not hosting him to discuss the GOP blocking a veteran’s health care bill, Jon Stewart appeared on Fox News on Friday to assure the conservative cable giant’s viewers that the legislation had no added spending in it.
“This bill is utterly and completely focused on veterans’ issues. There is no pork in it. It is a kosher bill. I’d say ‘halal,’ but I know how that might play on this network,” the former Daily Show host slyly quipped at one point.
Senate Republicans on Wednesday night blocked a bill that would expand health care to veterans exposed to burn pit toxins, even though that same legislation sailed through the Senate with 84 votes just two months ago. Democrats have since accused the GOP of voting against the PACT Act as retaliation for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announcing he reached a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on the Biden administration’s long-sought climate and tax bill.
Stewart, a leading advocate for veterans and 9/11 first responders’ health aid, quickly took action on Thursday, doing a string of media hits to raise awareness and criticize Republicans for stalling the legislation.
“If this is America First, America is fucked,” said on the steps of Congress on Thursday afternoon. Stewart even surprisingly made an appearance on far-right cable channel Newsmax, telling its audience that “every one of those Republicans” who voted against the bill doesn’t “support the troops.”
During a Thursday night interview on MSNBC, Stewart told host Mehdi Hasan that Fox News—which has hosted him many times in the past to discuss his vets and first responders advocacy—“refused” to book him to talk about this issue. “We have been begging them to get on the air all day long so that we can finally bring along some possible accountability to these senators,” he claimed.
A Fox News spokesperson on Friday morning mentioned Stewart’s past appearances while noting he was now slated to appear twice on the network.
In his first interview with America’s Newsroom, the comedian was gracious and cordial to anchor Bill Hemmer, devoting most of his energy to promoting the legislation and pushing back on the GOP’s supposed concerns about the bill’s funding and spending.
At the same time, Stewart used the segment to make some not-so-subtle jokes about the network and it’s right-wing audience.
“I want to dispel some of the misinformation put out about this bill: No spending that is not related to veterans has been added to this bill. No last-minute budget gimmicks have been added to this bill,” he said. “Not one word has been added to that bill from the pact act bill that the Senate passed 84-14. Not one word has been added to it. There is no added pork. Hunter Biden didn’t sneak in and add in unrelated spending in the middle of the night,” he continued, referencing the network’s obsessive coverage of the president’s son.
Hemmer said that Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) relayed concern about a “budget gimmick” in the bill but that the senator believes the PACT Act will “eventually” pass.
“First of all, that’s just not true,” Stewart shot back. “The provision was in the bill when it passed 84-14. Ask Pat Toomey because he complained about it on June 16 when it originally passed. Nothing has changed.”
Adding that “‘eventually’ is not okay,” the comedian reiterated that the bill had no excess spending in it that doesn’t directly go to veterans’ health care.
“There is no pork in it,” he quipped. “It is a kosher bill. I’d say ‘halal,’ but I know how that might play on this network.”