It’s unusual to hear former “Daily Show” host and liberal comedian Jon Stewart say anything good about conservatives, much less President Donald Trump, but he managed to go to bat for the administration this week on one issue: The handling of monetary compensation for victims of 9/11. The project, which has been Stewart’s baby for years, is meant to provide money for first-responders who have suffered illnesses as a result of working at Ground Zero.
In testimony before Congress, Stewart praised the administration for their handling of the compensation, telling lawmakers that claims “are moving through faster, and the awards are coming through.”
He repeated that praise in an interview with The New York Daily News, where he said: “The Trump Justice Department is doing a good job running the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund.”
Stewart was one of the chief public spokespeople for the creation of the fund itself, and now he wants the Trump administration to back a bill that would renew and add more money to the dwindling fund. Standing in Stewart’s way is the GOP majority in the Senate, which has not been persuaded to sign on to the new bill. So far only three Republicans are on board with the cause. Stewart wants the president to use his bully pulpit to draw more Republicans to his side.
“I am hoping that President Trump and his administration can support the bipartisan legislation that would fully fund and extend the VCF and allow it to continue compensating injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors,” Stewart told the NYDN. “They need it and deserve it.”
Trump tweeted out video of Stewart praising him in front of Congress, but it remains to be seen if he’s impressed enough with the comedian’s support to go along with him on this issue. Clearly, Trump’s people in the DOJ understand the importance of giving this money out as required by the original bill, but that doesn’t necessarily say anything about the president’s personal feelings about the legislation. And with a lot of other things hanging in the air right now with Trump’s legislative agenda, it’s not clear if the 9/11 fund will be on his priority list.
Still, it’s interesting to see an avowed liberal like Stewart actually say something positive about this administration. It sure doesn’t happen very often.