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Comedian Jimmy Kimmel fought back tears Monday night during an emotionally charged monologue on the politics of gun control after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history devastated his hometown of Las Vegas.
“There is probably no way to ever know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings who were at a concert, having fun and listening to music,” said Kimmel, who sent his condolences to the victims’ families.
The late-night host also called out some politicians who — in the wake of Sunday's tragedy — offered their prayers and messages of support but no solutions to the issue of gun crime and mass shootings.
“With all due respect, your thoughts and your prayers are insufficient,” Kimmel said.
“We have 59 innocent people dead,” he added in response to comments by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday that it was not the right time for a political debate on gun control. “It wasn’t their time either. So I think now is the time for political debate," Kimmel said.
Authorities clarified Tuesday night that the widely reported number of 59 deaths includes the gunman.
Hours after the massacre, President Donald Trump tweeted his “warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting.”
The president also dubbed the attack an “act of pure evil,” but on Tuesday said there will be a conversation about gun laws “as time goes by.”
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., called the attack “senseless” and offered his prayers as well. Vice President Mike Pence offered condolences.
Kimmel also criticized politicians like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
“They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country,” Kimmel said.
The comedian said he hates talking about politics on his show, but finds gun control to be a “public safety issue” worth discussing.
“I want this to be a comedy show,” he added. “I just want to laugh about things every night, but it seems to be increasingly difficult lately. It feels like someone has opened a window into hell.”
It’s not the first time Kimmel has taken on Washington.
The comedian waded into the national health care debate in May when he broke down on air talking about his infant son’s heart surgery and the state of the health care system in the U.S., imploring lawmakers to ensure there were affordable health care options for sick children like his son.
And last month, Kimmel fired back at Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., for his new health care bill, the do-or-die effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. Kimmel called Cassidy a liar for promising on the show that pre-existing conditions would be covered under the bill, but not following through with it.