Jimmy Kimmel Live!: Little Laughter, Tough Questions for Biden


There wasn’t much laughter, but US President Joe Biden got unsolicited advice from Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday as the president sat down for his first in-person interview with a late night host since taking office.

The host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” expressed frustration at the persistent problems in Washington, advising the president, “I think you should start yelling at people.”

Biden objected, saying the country is still suffering the effects of the pandemic, but insisted he was “never this optimistic in my life”.

Kimmel quickly intervened: “Why are you so optimistic? It does not make any sense!”

Biden said he pinned his hopes on young people, the “best educated, least prejudiced, most giving generation in American history.”

“This generation is going to change everything,” Biden said. “We just have to make sure we don’t give up.”

The show was taped in Los Angeles that afternoon. Biden is visiting the city this week for the Summit of the Americas, which brings countries from across the hemisphere together. First lady Jill Biden was in the audience, along with Biden’s granddaughter Naomi and her fiancé.

Biden’s only previous late appearance as president was in December, when he spoke remotely with Jimmy Fallon on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”

Kimmel began his interview with questions about gun control, citing a string of recent mass shootings.

“I think, I mean, just to get into it, why didn’t we do something about this?” Kimmel asked.

Biden replied that “this isn’t your father’s Republican Party,” blaming his political opposition for being too afraid to do anything about guns because they fear challenges in the primary election.

Kimmel urged Biden to use executive orders to increase gun control, noting that former President Donald Trump “shared them like Halloween candy.”

While Biden has taken some unilateral steps against firearms, the president said he was not interested in going beyond the bounds of his authority.

“I don’t want to imitate Trump’s abuse of the Constitution and constitutional authority,” he said.

Biden said he knows some people feel like, “Republicans don’t play it square, why do you play it square.”

“Well, guess what,” he said. “If we do the same as they do, our democracy is literally in jeopardy. No joke.”

Kimmel replied, “It’s like playing Monopoly with someone who doesn’t play or doesn’t follow the rules, and how do you ever progress if they don’t follow the rules.”

“You should send them to jail,” Biden joked.

At another point in the interview, Kimmel said he was disappointed with the progress being made on climate change and abortion.

“We’ve gone backwards,” he said.

Later, Kimmel sympathized with Biden’s challenges, especially the upcoming US Supreme Court ruling expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized access to abortion nationwide.

“What a terrible job you have,” Kimmel said. ‘I’m glad you’re doing it. But, boy oh boy, does this seem like a bad performance.”

Biden said he was looking for executive orders that could help with access to abortion — “we’re investigating it now” — but said the best solutions were legislation and elections.

If the court overturns Roe v. Wade, Biden said, “it will start a mini-revolution and they will vote a lot of these people out of office.”

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