On Monday, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel vowed to hire a federal employee to work on his show every night until the government shutdown ends.
It marked the 17th day of the shutdown, which started on Saturday, December 22 due to a standoff between the President and House Democrats over the $5.7 billion needed to build a border wall against Mexico. The wall has been a chief goal for Trump and his administration.
More recently, Trump has also threatened to declare a national emergency as an attempt to circumvent Congress when leaders continued to push back.
“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.
Kimmel Welcomes the First Federal Employee to Work on His Show
The first federal employee he welcomed was John Kostelnik, a prison guard and union president at the Federal Correctional Complex in Victorville, California.
“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 nearly 800,000 government employees not getting paid, “hope” they will see their money eventually, at the end of the shutdown.
The ramifications for the shutdown are even more far-reaching, affecting private companies, charities, Wall Street and farmers.
For now, Kimmel handed Kostelnik a tambourine and put him in the show’s band, despite Kostelnik’s saying he does not play any instruments.
“That’s called solving problems, folks,” Kimmel said.
President Threatens to Declare National Emergency to Fund Wall
“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, referring to the midterm election turnout of 2018.
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.