Jimmy Kimmel has hit back at conservatives who accused him of trying to politicise his infant son's heart condition by speaking out in favour of Obamacare.
The beloved US chat show host returned to screens on Monday night ( 9 May), a week after revealing his son's emergency surgery and the importance of a health care system that helps everyone. He had urged Americans to unite for health care regardless of their political allegiance.
"Until a few years ago, millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all," Kimmel said in his emotional monologue. "Before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease, like my son was, there was a good chance you'd never be able to get health insurance."
Fans rallied in support fo Kimmel following his on-air outpouring but his words touched a nerve with former congressman Joe Walsh who tweeted: "Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn't obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else's health care."
CNN's political pundit Matt Lewis was also among his detractors. He said that, while he felt empathy for Kimmel, he didn't agree that "this is the right move for him to do to politicise this. This is a guy who is incredibly rich, of course, he's not going to have a problem."
Providing viewers with an update, Kimmel told the audience his son was doing very well. The 49-year-old star said:"He's eating, He is getting bigger. He's sleeping well. He can read now, which they say is unusual."
The father-of-two went on to address the backlash he had faced from conservatives. He said: "I cannot count the number of times I've been called an 'out-of-touch Hollywood elitist creep,'" Kimmel said on Monday night's program, adding he "kind of appreciates" the insult.
"When I was a kid, we had to drink the powdered milk because we couldn't afford the liquid," Kimmel said. He added that on rare trips, his family would smuggle their dog into motel rooms to avoid paying a $2-pet fee.
"My dream was to become an out-of-touch Hollywood elitist,'" Kimmel said. "And I guess it came true."
Kimmel concluded with the most insincere apology he could muster. "I'd like to apologise for saying that children in America should have health care. It was insensitive. It was offensive, and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me."
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sean Spicer has claimed that President Donald Trump is addressing the very issues raised by Kimmel. "That's why we're fighting so hard for this. But most importantly, I think in the end of Jimmy Kimmel's monologue, he said we need some of these things that aren't Republican or Democrat, that are American policies, and I think that's what the president is fighting for right now," he said.