Jimmy Kimmel has been roundly praised for his emotional speech on his show last night, in which he defended the Affordable Care Act after describing how his newborn son required open heart surgery last week to stay alive.
But Joe Walsh, former Illinois Congressman and current right-wing talk show host, wasn’t moved, tweeting this response:
Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn’t obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else’s health care.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) May 2, 2017
Walsh’s response drew a lot of ire from Obamacare supporters, but none more so than Patton Oswalt, who brought up a scandal from Walsh’s past that many of the radio host’s critics are quick to use against him.
Joe, you won’t even pay child support for your OWN kids. We already knew you felt this way, you worm. No need to tell us — we’re good. https://t.co/gwUPduG13g
During Walsh’s term in the House of Representatives from 2011-2013, the Tea Party politician was sued for $117,000 in unpaid child support by his ex-wife. The two settled the lawsuit out of court, agreeing afterwards in a statement that “Joe is not and was not a deadbeat dad and does not owe child support.”
Still, the lawsuit was used in attack ads against Walsh during his 2012 re-election campaign, which he lost to Democrat Tammy Duckworth. Then, about a month after Walsh’s term ended, the child support issue surfaced again amidst reports that he sought a reduction in his required child support payments due to his employment being “terminated through no voluntary act of his own.”
Regardless of what his settlement statement said, the “deadbeat dad” label has been chasing Walsh for years, and his put down of Kimmel’s speech prompted another round of such clapbacks.
This is precisely the right thing to post on a website where people constantly make fun of you for not paying child support. pic.twitter.com/gFVKQSdJlU
— CalmTomb (@CalmTomb) May 2, 2017
@WalshFreedom The laws of your state and this nation obligate you to pay your child support.
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) May 2, 2017
@WalshFreedom thank you for having the courage to fight against those conniving evil takers, sick children
— John Brougher (@johnbrougher) May 2, 2017
Kimmel returned to “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Monday night after abruptly taking a week off from the show. He explained his absence in a tearful speech recounting how he discovered shortly after the birth of his second child that the newborn required immediate open heart surgery and would require several more surgeries over the next several years of his life.
The late-night host went on to point out that while he and his wife could easily afford the cost of these surgeries, less fortunate families facing the same situation may not have been able to afford the medical procedures necessary to keep their child alive.
“We were brought up to believe that we live in the greatest country in the world,” Kimmel said. “But until a few years ago, millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all. You know, before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease, like my son was, there’s a good chance you’d never be able to get health insurance, because you had a pre-existing condition.” And if your parents didn’t have insurance, he added, “You may not even live long enough to get denied because of your pre-existing condition.”
“If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make…No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It just shouldn’t happen. Not here.”