TIME magazine released its list of the most influential people of 2019. The list runs the gamut from actors like Mahershala Ali, comedians like Hasan Minhaj, and even video game superstars like Ninja, to politicians like Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden. It also means that people like Mitch McConnell and Jared Kushner are also highlighted, as there is always some manure underneath beautiful flowers.
The one thing about throwing a gala for people that includes comedians is that you ensure some good entertainment. So when TIME magazine held its TIME 100 Gala, on Tuesday, former Daily Show correspondent and current Patriot Act host Hasan Minhaj was an obvious decision to hand a microphone over to. Minhaj has made his career speaking truth to power—you can see some of that in action here—and on Tuesday, he decided to once again point out to the many powerful people in the room what having power means and could mean to millions, if not billions, of people.
Minhaj: After the the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi I came in and I had a super hot take, I was like murder is bad; and then the kingdom didn’t like it. They pulled the episode. They banned me from the Mecca.
The truly horrific political murder of Jamal Khashoggi has been largely forgotten by the traditional media outlets as they’ve moved on to other more pressing matters like whether or not Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are too socialist to convince the thirty percent of idiots* who approve of anything Trump does, to change their vote. Minhaj handled the story on his Netflix show, Patriot Act, and received some heavy Saudi backlash. The issue, which should be something the traditional media continues to report on over and over again—as it directly relates to their own livelihoods—was likely perpetrated by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s best buddy, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. There is circumstantial evidence that place some blame for the death and dismemberment of Khashoggi on Kushner himself.
Minhaj being finished with the joke part of his speech explained that while some might call him brave there were real brave people like Loujain Al-Hathloul, fighting for equal rights in countries like Saudi Arabia, who continue to subject to torture and imprisonment. But he took it even further, calling out Kushner in that very powerful room.
Minhaj: I’m very lucky. I’m very lucky that I get to be here in America. I can make jokes about very powerful leaders and and I have the safety of being here in America. We have a lot of incredible rights here in America and Safety’s that we take for granted often times and there are people on the front lines that cannot be here, like Loujain Al-Hathloul, who is a Saudi activist who helped fight to lift the women’s driving ban, and she is currently in prison. She cannot be with us here tonight. She has been tortured. […]This is a very powerful room, and you know, I know there’s a lot of very powerful people here. It would be crazy if there was a high-ranking official in the White House that could WhatsApp MBS and say, “Hey, maybe you could help that person get out of prison because they don’t deserve it,” but that would be crazy. That would be — that person would have to be in the room, but that’s just a good comedy premise. Thank you guys so much. Good night.
Kushner’s working relationship with Mohammed bin Salman continues to expose the United States to complicity in murders like the recently reported mass crucifixion of political dissidents. People like Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump should be pariahs for the rest of their days.
*Sorry, I mean “f*cking idiots.”