Tonight, Jimmy Kimmel taped a special segment alone onstage before the Jimmy Kimmel Live! audience was seated. In it, he struggled to address yesterday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas which took the lives of 19 children and 2 adults.
“Here we are again – on another day of mourning in this country,” Kimmel, whose youngest son is five, said and then paused to gather himself before continuing, “where once again, we grieve – for the babies – the little boys and girls whose lives have been ended and whose families have been destroyed.
“While our leaders on the right – the ‘Americans’ in Congress and at Fox News and these other outlets – warn us not to politicize this. They immediately criticize our President for even speaking about doing something to stop it. Because they don’t want to speak about it. Because they know what they’ve done. And they know what they haven’t done. And they know that it’s indefensible. So they’d rather sweep this under the rug.”
Kimmel soon shifted to one of his favorite sparring partners, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, but with a surprising amount of sympathy.
“And here’s the thing – I don’t believe Ted Cruz doesn’t care about children. I don’t. I refuse to believe he is unaffected by this. He’s a father. I bet he went to bed sick to his stomach last night. It’s easy to call someone a monster. But he’s not a monster – he is a human being. And some people might not like hearing me say that, but it’s true.
“So here’s the thing I would like to say to Ted Cruz, the human being, and Governor Abbot, and everyone: It’s OK to admit you made a mistake. In fact, it’s not just OK, it’s necessary to admit you made a mistake when your mistake is killing the children in your state.
“It takes a big person to do something like that. It takes a brave person to do something like that. And do I think these men are brave people? No, I don’t. I don’t.
“But man – I would love it if they surprised me.”
Last night, after their shows had already taped, both Stephen Colbert and James Corden went back in front of the cameras to try and make some sense of the tragedy
An emotional Corden called the violence “unfathomable” on The Late Late Show.
“When I drop my kids off at school in the morning and kiss them goodbye, it doesn’t cross your mind that that could ever be the last goodbye,” he esaid. “The thought of that phone call — that your child is the victim of a mass shooting — is beyond comprehension as a human being.”
He continued, “I’m so deeply sad for the families of these children, the trauma of the survivors and for the future these kids will never see.”
Corden said he found it hard to fathom “the number of people who must think this is an OK byproduct to never make meaningful changes to gun laws.”
He continued, “It doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t reflect the country that I think America is.”
An also-emotional Colbert picked up on the Late Show where Corden left off saying, “Let’s pray this time our leaders show a modicum of courage in trying to prevent this from ever happening again. But prayers won’t end this. Voting might, so when you vote ask yourself this question: Who running for office has publicly stated that they are willing to do anything and everything in their power to protect your children from the criminally insane number of guns in America?”
The audience cheered the sentiment.
Back to tonight, when the usually-lighthearted Jimmy Fallon used his interview with former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki to address the topic on the Tonight Show.
Fallon asked Psaki how she reacted to such horrors while press secretary. She came at it first as a mom who has two young kids in school.
“The first reaction I had, of course, was shock,” she told Fallon, “and sadness and that kind of feeling you have when your throat gets tight and you feel like if you talk, you’re going to cry. That kind of sadness. And then you feel fear.”
Tears welling, Psaki continued, “I think like so may parents across the country, I was thinking abut sending my daughter to kindergarten today and, is she safe? Is she ok there? What kind of security do they have? Should they have security? Those are the kind of thoughts that are going through your head when you’re in the White House because you’re thinking about what the country’s experiencing and what you can do to help [it] heal.”