Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart accused Republicans of being all talk and no action when it comes to taking care of veterans.
After being shown a clip of a veteran yelling at Republican lawmakers outside the Capitol over her concerns about healthcare, Stewart told MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell that he’s been out with those veterans trying to get the attention of political leaders.
“They were up there with a photo-op, and they had the microphones,” Stewart said. “We don’t have microphones down here. It’s just family members and victims and advocates. They’re up there with a microphone, and we hear from the steps, ‘America is a country worth fighting for.’ Meanwhile, the people who fought for that country are down here, saying they’re sick and dying from an easily solvable problem. We have the money.”
Stewart was in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday with a coalition of other advocates to lobby for the passage of a bill that would list burn pit exposure as a presumptive condition for any service member who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. The legislation, sponsored by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and California Rep. Raul Ruiz, both Democrats, would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide health and disability services to veterans affected by toxic exposures while serving in those countries.
Stewart accused Republican lawmakers of branding the country in talking points but not talking to people who have fought for the nation.
“They wouldn’t stop and hear the real stories,” Stewart said. “They would rather talk about the platitudes on America and its greatness than talk to the people who embody its greatness, who are the epitome of its greatness, and who are suffering.”
Stewart also advocated for 9/11 first responders last year to get them access to a compensation fund. His goal now is to help almost 200,000 veterans who say their health is compromised by their exposure to burn pits while serving.
“The parallels are incredible,” Stewart told Fox News. “I’d say the only difference between what happened with the 9/11 community and what’s happening with the veteran community is the 9/11 community was injured by toxic exposure from an enemy attack.”