Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) argument that a cigarette tax led to Eric Garner’s death didn’t hold up for Daily Show host Jon Stewart on Thursday night.
“What the f*ck are you talking about?” Stewart asked after playing footage of Paul’s remarks. “I guess now we know what it takes for a senator from Kentucky to admit cigarettes can kill. I don’t know what to say. I appreciate the purity of your anti-tax dogma, but the cigarette tax is truly the least salient aspect of this case.”
Earlier in the day, Paul blamed the $5.85 state tax on cigarette packs for causing the fatal encounter between Garner and New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo this past July, saying, “Some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes, so they’ve driven cigarettes underground so as to not make them so expensive.”
But Stewart compared Paul’s reasoning to saying that government parking regulations caused the Hindenburg disaster in 1937.
“Honestly, Eric Garner could have been out there with mixtapes or squeegees or a snocone, and the same kind of sh*t could have happened” Stewart argued. “For the second time in 10 days, a grand jury — which at least in federal cases has a 99 percent indictment rate — failed to indict an officer who caused the death of an unarmed citizen.”
Stewart also issued a “correction” on his commentary from Wednesday night.
Instead of saying no one connected to Garner’s death was indicted, he explained, he should have pointed out that 22-year-old Ramsey Orta, who videotaped the encounter, was in fact indicted by a grand jury shortly afterwards.
“Let that be a lesson to you kids out there: photographing crime does not pay,” Stewart said.
Watch Stewart’s commentary, as posted online on Thursday, below.