Few laughs, tough questions as Biden chats with Kimmel

Few laughs, tough questions as Biden chats with Kimmel


President Joe Biden recently had his first in-person interview with a late-night host since taking office. He sat down with Jimmy Kimmel on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” for a conversation that touched on various topics, ranging from the challenges in Washington to gun control and abortion.

Frustration and Optimism

During the interview, Jimmy Kimmel expressed frustration about the intractable problems in Washington. He advised President Biden, “I think you need to start yelling at people.” However, Biden demurred, acknowledging that the country is still grappling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the challenges, Biden insisted he’s “never been more optimistic in my life.”

Biden’s optimism, he explained, stems from his belief in the younger generation. He praised them as the “best educated, least prejudiced, most giving generation in American history.” According to Biden, this generation has the potential to bring about significant changes. However, he emphasized the need to persevere and not give up.

The Setting and Audience

The interview took place in the afternoon in Los Angeles, as Biden was visiting the city for the Summit of the Americas. First lady Jill Biden was present in the audience, along with Biden’s granddaughter Naomi and her fiancé. It provided an opportunity for Biden to engage with a different format and reach a broader audience.

Previous Late-Night Appearance

Biden’s previous late-night appearance as president was in December when he spoke remotely with Jimmy Fallon on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” This interview with Kimmel marked his first in-person late-night appearance, allowing for a more personal and immediate conversation.

Gun Control and Political Opposition

Kimmel began the interview by addressing the pressing issue of gun control, referencing the recent string of mass shootings. He questioned why more hasn’t been done to address this problem. In response, Biden pointed out that “this is not your father’s Republican Party.” He blamed his political opposition for being too afraid to take action on guns due to potential primary election challenges.

Kimmel then pressed Biden on whether he could use executive orders to increase gun control, highlighting that former President Donald Trump “passed them out like Halloween candy.” While Biden has taken some unilateral steps on firearms, he expressed his reluctance to exceed the limits of his authority. He stated, “I don’t want to emulate Trump’s abuse of the Constitution and constitutional authority.”

Biden explained that he understands some people may feel frustrated and wonder why Democrats don’t employ the same tactics as Republicans. However, he stressed the importance of upholding democratic principles and not compromising the integrity of the constitution. He warned, “If we do the same thing they do, our democracy will literally be in jeopardy.”

Disappointment and Climate Change

At another point in the interview, Kimmel expressed his disappointment in the progress made on issues like climate change and abortion. He remarked, “We’ve moved backwards.” This sentiment reflected a broader concern about the urgency of these challenges and the need for meaningful action.

Abortion Access and Supreme Court

During the conversation, Kimmel sympathized with Biden’s challenges, particularly the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision that is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion access nationwide. Kimmel referred to Biden’s job as “terrible” and expressed his support for the president, but also acknowledged the difficulties of the position.

Biden acknowledged the gravity of the situation and mentioned that his administration is looking into executive orders that could help with abortion access. However, he emphasized that the best and most lasting solutions would come through legislation and elections. If the court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, Biden predicted it would cause a “mini revolution” and lead to voting out politicians who oppose abortion access.


The interview between President Biden and Jimmy Kimmel provided a platform for discussing pressing issues and shedding light on the challenges faced by the Biden administration. Despite the serious tone and tough questions, Biden remained optimistic about the potential for positive change, particularly through the involvement of younger generations. The conversation highlighted the importance of upholding democratic principles and finding long-lasting solutions through legislative action.