President Joe Biden used his first in-person appearance on a late-night talk show since taking office to take shots at his White House predecessor and the “hard right” Republican party in an interview that was dominated by gun control talk.
Biden also touched on a number of other hot-button issues like abortion rights, climate change and inflation during his Wednesday night appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” — which came about four months after his last on-the-record interview with a reporter.
The president knocked former President Donald Trump during the roughly 20-minute Q&A when host Jimmy Kimmel questioned the possible use of executive orders to push through gun control.
Kimmel, who is typically left-leaning, quipped that “Trump passed those out like Halloween candy.”
The president acknowledged that he has issued executive orders within his power. “But what I don’t want to do — and I’m not being facetious — I don’t want to emulate Trump’s abuse of the constitution and constitutional authority,” the commander in chief said.
He also took aim at Republicans.
“I also get asked, ‘look the Republicans don’t play it square, why do you play it square?’” Biden said. “Well guess what, if we do the same thing they do, our democracy would literally be in jeopardy and that is not a joke.”
He went on to say that the GOP party has undergone “a radical shift” since Trump was elected, moving “hard right” and its members often vote against what many call “common sense” gun control because they’re afraid of being voted out of office.
“This is not your father’s Republican party,” Biden said. “This is a MAGA party, a very different Republican party and you find people who are worried, I believe, that if they vote for rational gun policy, they’re gonna be primaried and they’re going to lose in a hard-right Republican primary.”
He said, however, that the American people must in fact make gun control a voting issue in order to pass the reform measures that will likely die in the current Senate.
The president also spoke about the recently leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe V. Wade — calling it “ridiculous.”
“I don’t think the country will stand for it,” Biden said.
“It’s clear that if in fact the decision comes down the way it does and these states impose the limitations they’re talking about, it’s gonna cause a mini revolution and they’re going to vote a lot of these folks out of office.”
He said his administration is exploring the possibility of employing executive orders to protect abortion rights and said federal legislation is needed as well.
Earlier in the interview, Biden touted the success of the American economy and job growth since taking office.
“We have the fastest growing economy in the world,” he said. “Unemployment rate is down to 3.6%. We reduced the deficit last year by $320 billion, this year we’re gonna reduce it by $1.7 trillion.”
However, he admitted that the US has not escaped the pains of inflation as the prices of food and gas have surged, affecting everyday Americans.
“Inflation is the bane of our existence,” he said.
Biden’s visit to “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” is his first in-person late night show appearance during his presidency. Last December the president appeared virtually on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon.
It’s also one of the few sit-down interviews the president has given recently — notably with a comedian and left-leaning talk show host and not a journalist. Biden hasn’t given an on-the-record, sit-down interview to a reporter in about four months.