back to top

Comedian Blasts A Room Full Of Congress Members For Inaction On Gun Control

"If $3.7 million can buy political influence to take lives, if we raise $4 million, would you guys take that to save lives?"

Posted on

The Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj gave a hilarious and powerful speech as the headliner of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Dinner in Washington on Thursday.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Minhaj was the guest entertainer at the awards dinner, attended by the media and members of Congress. Gov. John Kasich, former candidate for the Republican presidential nominee, gave the keynote speech at the dinner.

Minhaj wasted no time roasting Kasich, saying, "John, we have so much in common. We're both from small towns, people can't pronounce our names, and neither of us will ever become president."

He then took on the GOP, saying, "John, you are a rational, sane, even-keeled, well-thought out, seasoned politician and you thought you could be the GOP nominee. You crazy, John, you crazy, man."

Advertisement

Minhaj grilled the Republican Party about ending up with Donald Trump as their presidential nominee: "Howww? How is 86% of the GOP like, 'Yesss! RACIST CHEETO! Finally!'?"

youtube.com

He didn't spare Hillary Clinton, either, calling her the "Toyota Camry of presidential options."

"Like you're at The Price Is Right, and they presented you with Hillary, you'd get the same response as a Camry. 'Awww nooo, I already had one in the '90s.'"

He also joked about Clinton's relationship with Wall Street.

"The reality of the situation is Hillary is the dude in the relationship and we don't know how to feel about it. We're all in bed with Hillary late at night and we're looking at her cell phone and we're like, 'Hey, who's Wall Street?' And she's like, 'Don't worry about it, babe, it's just a friend from work.'"

He then took on the media: "CNN is cool, but what exactly do you guys do? Every time I turn on CNN, Wolf Blitzer is talking to a hologram, Don Lemon is hosting a panel on whether or not we should use the n-word, and Anthony Bourdain is eating couscous. You guys are basically Bravo with plane crashes."

youtube.com

Minhaj also picked on Vice, saying, "Vice News is cool because they'll just send your local barista to go talk to the head of ISIS. Like why is Chad sitting down with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?"

He compared MSNBC to "everybody's annoying vegan friend."

"It's like, we get it, you're right. I just don't want to hear it right now."

But Minhaj saved his sharpest barbs for members of Congress: "Thing is, Congress's approval rating is 12%. That's not even one star on Yelp. There are restaurants with rat infestations that are rated better than Congress."

youtube.com

Minhaj ripped into the Congress, saying that the media called them the "do-nothing Congress."

"But you guys do a lot," he said. "You guys go to fundraisers. You guys host fundraisers. You have staff set up fundraisers for you to host. That's three things right there, and that doesn't even include all the time you guys spend trying to repeal Obamacare or not passing gun control. That's five things you guys do."

The most powerful moment in Minhaj's speech came when he addressed members of Congress about the Orlando attack and delivered a scathing rant about the influence the NRA and pro-gun lobbies had on them.

youtube.com

Here are excerpts from his address:

"What we saw in Orlando was one the ugliest cocktails of the problems we still see here in America; a cocktail of homophobia, xenophobia, lack of access to mental health care, and sheer lack of political will.

"We look to you guys as our leaders. You make almost $200,000 a year to write rules to make our society better. Not tweet, not tell us about your thoughts and prayers.

"Ultimately, it comes down to money and influence. And right now, since 1998, the NRA has give $3.7 million to Congress. There are 294 sitting members of Congress that have accepted contributions from NRA, and that doesn't even include the millions of dollars from outside lobbying.

"Right now, specifically Congress has blocked legislation for the CDC to study gun-related violence. We can't even talk about the issue with real statistics and facts.

"I don't know if this is like a Kickstarter thing, but if $3.7 million can buy political influence to take lives, if we raise $4 million, would you guys take that to save lives?"

"When I got into comedy, when you guys got into the media, when you guys got into politics, we wanted to do the best work we could possibly do. And is this what you want your legacy to be? That you were a 'could've done something' Congress but you didn't because of outside lobbying; that you were complicit in the deaths of thousands of Americans?

"And look, I know being a member of Congress is hard. You got to placate your base, you got to look out for re-election, you got to answer to lobbyists.

"But please, persevere. Because our thoughts and prayers are with you."

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

Promoted