Jimmy Kimmel marked Day 17 of the government shutdown by inviting one of the nearly 800,000 federal employees working without pay to get a paycheck — by working on his late-night talk show.
“It’s unfortunate that these people, these workers who have nothing to do with this ridiculous wall, aren’t getting paychecks, especially right after the holidays,” Kimmel said at the start of Monday’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on ABC.
Wanting to do his part, Kimmel vowed to put a federal employee to work on his show every night until the shutdown ends. The first he welcomed was John Kostelnik, a prison guard and union president at the Federal Correctional Complex in Victorville, Calif.
“Do you object to being used as a pawn in this fight over a wall?” Kimmel asked Kostelnik.
“Absolutely,” he responded immediately.
Kostelnik also said that he, along with the rest of the government employees not currently drawing paychecks, “hope” they will see their money eventually, at the end of the shutdown. But for now, Kimmel handed Kostelnik a tambourine and put him in the show’s band, despite Kostelnik saying he does not play any instruments.
“That’s called solving problems, folks,” Kimmel said.
The government shutdown occurred due to a standoff between the president and House Democrats over funding for the wall he wants to erect along the United States-Mexico border.
“This is already shaping up to be a very different year for President Trump. He now faces real oversight from Congress for the first time now that Democrats have control of the House,” Kimmel said.
Calling the president “Humpty Trumpty,” Kimmel added that “not paying people that work for him” is “Donald Trump doing what Donald Trump does best.”
“He’s threatening now to declare a national emergency to fund this wall, which, is that something he needs to declare? Every day of this presidency is a national emergency. This is the third longest shutdown ever, the first for no reason,” Kimmel said.