UPDATE With Video Bill Maher tonight praised Jimmy Kimmel’s emotional monologue from earlier this week, saying it brought health care issues “into American living rooms.” But HBO’s Real Time host wasn’t so generous about Kimmel’s political savvy.
On Monday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel tearfully shared news of his week-old son’s open-heart surgery, and decried Donald Trump’s proposed (and failed) $6 billion cut in funding to the National Institute of Health.
Maher said he was proud of his friend Kimmel, and quoted the new dad’s plea that “If your baby’s going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make – I think that’s something whether you’re a Republican or Democrat we all agree on.”
Just as the Real Time audience was starting to applaud, Maher stopped them short. “Unfortunately that’s not true,” he said of Kimmel’s statement. “One side wants to tax rich people so that babies don’t have to die and one side is mostly against that.”
“Let’s not f*ck around with this,” Maher said. “We are not on the same page with this.” Suggestions that all politicians are the same, he continued, is “what makes people not vote.”
The Real Time host didn’t get much of an argument from his guests. New Yorker writer George Packer said this week’s Republican-backed House vote on Trump’s health care plan was “clarifying” in that it demonstrated “naked cruelty.”
“I don’t know if Jimmy Kimmel’s moving monologue about this will change people’s minds,” Packer said, “but I think losing your health insurance might.”
Counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd wasn’t convinced of Kimmel’s impact one way or another. Kimmel, he said, represents coastal elites who voted for Hillary Clinton. “We look at (him) and hope it represents an undercurrent in America that wants change,” the CNN regular said, “but they wanted change in a different direction and they voted for it.”
Maher wasn’t letting go quite so easily, though, pivoting back to the Republican vs. Democrat side-taking – and managing another swipe at the history-challenged Trump: “Why couldn’t we solve the Civil War? Because one side thought black people were farm equipment who could sing.”