In the days leading up to Joe Biden’s first in-person late-night interview of his presidency on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Fox News has been up in arms with claims that the appearance proves he’s not taking the country’s myriad problems seriously. But what those complaining neglected to remember is just how serious Jimmy Kimmel can be when he wants to.
After joking in his monologue that “as a precautionary measure” they had rounded up and removed anyone named “Brandon” from the audience, Kimmel shared a comprehensive montage that showed Donald Trump fielding “tough questions from real hard-hitting journalists” at Fox and sent his “thoughts and prayers” to get them through this “difficult time.”
When Biden finally joined Kimmel at the desk, the host reiterated Fox News’ concerns that he might not ask his guest “serious questions.”
“They really ask serious questions,” a sarcastic Biden replied before telling Kimmel he’s happy to have a real conversation with someone “really smart” like him.
Kimmel began by discussing an issue close to his heart, gun violence prevention, asking point blank, “Why haven’t we done anything about this?”
The president blamed “intimidation by the NRA” and the “MAGA party” that has taken control of the GOP before pivoting to praise Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for meaning what he says despite their many disagreements on the issues.
“Like when he said we can’t confirm a Supreme Court Justice with a year left and then said the opposite?” Kimmel asked in response.
Biden didn’t quite have an answer for that one, but while he said we need another assault weapons ban he would not “emulate Trump” by issuing any executive orders that potentially violate the Constitution. “I also get asked, ‘Look the Republicans don’t play it square, why do you play it square?’” he added. “Well guess what, if we do the same thing they do, our democracy would literally be in jeopardy and that is not a joke.”
“I also get asked, ‘Look the Republicans don’t play it square, why do you play it square?’ Well guess what, if we do the same thing they do, our democracy would literally be in jeopardy and that is not a joke.”
When Kimmel suggested that the Democrats are “playing Monopoly with someone who won’t pass Go and won’t follow any of the rules,” Biden said then we need to “send them to jail.”
From there, they moved to other areas that have failed to move significantly in a progressive direction despite Democrats controlling the presidency and both houses of Congress—at least until the midterms.
When Kimmel called Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema “iffy at best,” Biden cautioned against blaming Democrats—the vast majority of whom are united—for problems that 100 percent of Republicans have no interest in solving.
As Biden continued to explain all of the popular measures that a divided Congress will never allow to pass, Kimmel grew more frustrated. “Maybe it’s just that Americans aren’t as knowledgeable as they should be,” the host lamented. “Or maybe there’s a Death Star pumping false information into our brains.”
Biden rightly guessed that he was once again talking about Fox News.
“It’s enough already!” Kimmel continued. “And I think you need to start yelling at people!” And when Biden said he’s never been “so optimistic” in his life, he shot back, “Why are you so optimistic? It makes no sense!”
The president responded with an irrationally hopeful answer about the power of “young people” in America today and something nonsensical about “biracial couples” in TV ads, which Kimmel made a crack about before throwing to his own commercial break.
By the end of the 23-minute interview, Kimmel was marveling at just how bad things have gotten for the country in the two years since Biden took office—much of which can be traced back to his predecessor. “What a terrible job you have,” he said with a dark laugh. “I’m glad you’re doing it. But, boy oh boy, does this seem like a bad gig.”
“We should have done something about gun violence a long time ago, the climate—we could all look back at these days and go, ‘Oh my God, why didn’t we—’” Kimmel said, before Biden interrupted to say that we have made “some progress.”
“Some, some!” the host said in response, indicating that he feels it’s clearly not enough.