In a monologue during his show Thursday night, Jimmy Kimmel called on Trump to implement gun control measures and shun the influence of the National Rifle Association in D.C. In the monologue, Kimmel called Trump's stance on gun violence hypocritical, and begged for him to implement the "common sense" policies he promised while running for president.
Kimmel got emotional and even teared up in his monologue. "Children are being murdered," he said, his voice cracking.
He began by responding to the address that Trump had given to the nation earlier that day about the Wednesday shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. The president said that he had a "determination to assist in any way that we can" but never mentioned the issue of gun control. Kimmel did not approve. (Trump only even used the term "gun" once, when he said "gunfire.")
Addressing Trump, Kimmel said "here's what you do" to actually "assist" with the problem: "What we need are laws. Real laws that do everything possible to keep assault rifles out of the hands of people who are gonna shoot our kids."
Kimmel referenced the fact that Trump often bragged about his "common sense" on the campaign trail and implied that it's logical to look for legislative solutions to the United States' epidemic of gun violence. "That is a perfect example of the common sense you told us you were going to bring to the White House," Kimmel said. "It's time to bring it. We need it."
Next, Kimmel took on the hypocrisy in Trump's calls to drain the swamp.
'Tell these Congressmen and lobbyists who infest that swamp you said you were going to drain," he said, "to force these 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."
The NRA spends millions every year on donations to political campaigns, parties, and PACs, as well as on "outside spending" like campaign ads. In fact, the association put over $21 million toward Trump for the 2016 election. In 2016, over half of the House of Representatives took money from the NRA or similar gun rights organizations.
Kimmel said that Trump has "done worse than nothing" about the issue of gun violence, citing his rollback of an Obama rule that made it harder for people who are on Social Security because of mental illness to buy guns. Trump also made it easier for people with outstanding arrest warrants to purchase firearms. His 2019 budget proposal would reduce funds to the federal background check system by 16 percent.
During his Thursday speech, Trump characterized gun violence as a mental health problem, saying, "We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health." He suggested that people should speak out when someone they know shows signs that they might commit violence. On Twitter, he noted that Parkland suspect Nikolas Cruz exhibited many of these signs and wrote that they should have been reported to the authorities "again and again."
According to Kimmel, Trump's talk about mental health is disingenuous because he doesn't seem committed to solving the gun violence issue from that perspective, either. Kimmel brought up the fact that the GOP — Trump's party — voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which mandates health insurance coverage and therefore enables anyone struggling with mental health issues to seek medical help.
Finally, Kimmel compared Trump's stance on gun violence to his position on immigration.
"If one illegal immigrant causes a car accident, we've got to build a wall to keep the rest of them out," he said. "Why are you looking for solutions to that problem and not this one?"
Maybe the Parkland will provide enough incentive for Republican politicians to pass some gun control legislation — but if Trump's speech is any indication, that isn't part of the GOP plan.