The beleaguered president appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Wednesday night, with the host expressing frustration on Washington being unable to solve a bevvy of issues like gun violence, abortion and climate change.
Kimmel began his interview asking Biden ‘why haven’t we dont anything about this?’ pointing to the recent string of mass shootings.
‘This is not your father’s Republican Party,’ the president replied – a favorite phrase he’s been using recently in front of political donors.
The president blamed his political opposition for being too afraid to do anything about guns because they fear primary election challenges.
Kimmel pressed Biden on whether he could use executive orders to increase gun control, noting that former President Donald Trump ‘passed them out like Halloween candy.’
Although Biden has taken some unilateral steps on firearms, the president said he wasn’t interested in stepping beyond the limits of his authority.
‘I don’t want to emulate Trump’s abuse of the Constitution and constitutional authority,’ Biden said.
‘I think you need to start yelling at people,’ Jimmy Kimmel (right) told President Joe Biden (left) during their sit-down Wednesday in Los Angeles
Biden’s (left) first stop in Los Angeles, where he’s attending the Summit of the Americas, was Kimmel’s (right) Hollywood studio. First Lady Jill Biden was in the audience, along with Biden´s granddaughter Naomi and her fiance
First LadyJill Biden (right), grand-daughter Naomi Biden (center) and her fiance Peter Neal (left) watch President Joe Biden’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
President Joe Biden (left) and First Lady Jill Biden (right) pose for a photo with Jimmy Kimmel (center) in Los Angeles Wednesday
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 thing they do, our democracy will literally be in jeopardy. Not a joke.’
Kimmel responded, ‘It’s like you’re playing Monopoly with somebody who won’t pass go or won’t follow any of the rules, and how do you ever make any progress if they’re not following the rules?’
‘You’ve got to send them to jail,’ Biden joked.
At another point in the interview, Kimmel suggested he was disappointed in the progress that was being made on issues like climate change and abortion.
‘We’ve moved backward,’ he said.
Later on, 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.
‘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 gig.’
Biden said he was looking at executive orders that could help with abortion access – ‘we’re looking into it right now’ – but said the best solutions were through legislation and elections.
If the court overturns Roe v. Wade, Biden said, ‘it’s going to cause a mini revolution and they’re going to vote a lot of these folks out of office.’
President Joe Biden (left) sits tight during a commercial break during his appearance Wednesday on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Biden (left) said to Kimmel (right) that he wasn’t keen to use executive action to provide gun control because he didn’t want to ’emulate Trump’s abuse of the Constitution’
As Kimmel suggested Biden become a yeller, the president said he has ‘never been more optimistic in my life.’
Kimmel swiftly interjected: ‘Why are you so optimistic? It makes no sense!’
Biden said he was pinning 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.’
Biden has been frustrated by his poor poll ratings amid concerns about high gas and energy prices, baby formula shortages, and lack of progress on several legislative fronts like voting rights and abortion rights, as well as gun safety.
His advisers are hoping to retool their messaging in the upcoming weeks, hoping to focus on the positive elements of the economy, such as job and wage growth.
‘Inflation is the bane of our existence,’ Biden said.
He criticized U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil for making fat profits but not drilling new wells or refining more gasoline and instead buying back its own stock.
‘I mean, it’s just ass – excuse me – it’s backwards,’ Biden said.
Biden’s first stop in Los Angeles, where he’s attending the Summit of the Americas, was Kimmel’s Hollywood studio. First Lady Jill Biden was in the audience, along with Biden´s granddaughter Naomi and her fiancé.
Biden’s only previous late-night appearance as president was in December, when he spoke remotely with Jimmy Fallon The Tonight Show.
President Joe Biden opened the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles Wednesday evening with a Holly-wood style opening ceremony at the Microsoft Theater – typically a venue for the Emmys
President Joe Biden greets children from Los Angeles during the inaugural ceremony for the Summit of the Americas Wednesday night
A Cirque du Soleil performer hangs from the ceiling of the Microsoft Theater during Wednesday night’s inaugural ceremony at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles
President Joe Biden (left) and First Lady Jill Biden (right) watch the performances during Wednesday night’s Summit of the Americas inaugural program in Los Angeles
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive for the inaugural program for the Summit of the Americas at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday
A protester shouts through the beginning of President Joe Biden’s speech Wednesday night in Los Angeles at the inaugural ceremony of the Summit of the Americas
California Gov. Gavin Newsom welcomes attendees to his state at the inaugural ceremony for the Summit of the Americas
First Lady Jill Biden waves to the crowd at the Hollywood-style opening ceremony of the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles Wednesday night
First Lady Jill Biden (left) watches the inaugural ceremony alongside Vice President Kamala Harris (right) for the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles Wednesday night
Biden opened up the Summit of the Americas with a Holly-wood style opening ceremony at the Microsoft Theater – typically a venue for the Emmys.
‘We meet again today in a moment when democracy is under assault around the world, let us unite again and renew our conviction that democracy is not only the defining feature of American history, but the essential ingredient to Americas’ future,’ the president said.
Ahead of the summit, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he would boycott the gathering of the leaders of North, Central and South America over the U.S.’s plans to not invite the authoritarian heads of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Biden stuck with the snub – and López Obrador made good on not showing.
‘Our region is large and diverse. We don’t always agree on everything. But because we are democracies, we work through our disagreements with mutual respect and dialogue,’ Biden told the crowd.
A number of heads of state were present, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife – who Biden hugged when they greeted directly before the inaugural program. Vice President Kamala Harris gave remarks welcoming the crowd to her home state of California, as did Gov. Gavin Newsom and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.
As Biden went through some of aims of the summit, he also argued to leaders that ‘safe and orderly migration’ helps the region.
‘Unlawful migration is not acceptable,’ the president said. ‘We will enforce our borders.’
Besides the Mexican president, the heads of the three Northern Triangle countries – Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador – which are responsible for most of the migrants crossing into the United States, are not attending the summit.
President Joe Biden (left) waves as he stands alongside First Lady Jill Biden (right) as they welcome leaders to the U.S.- hosted Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles
President Joe Biden (center right) greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (center left) as First Lady Jill Biden (right) says hello to Sophie Gregoire Trudeau (left)
BROMANCE: President Joe Biden brings Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in for a hug as the first ladies shake hands
The president was briefly interrupted by single, female protester at the beginning of his remarks. She continued yelling as she was walked to the back of the theater by security.
The president had followed a song-and-dance number, complete with percussionists roaming through the theater, that had been put together by Emilio Estefan, who’s long been active in Democratic politics.
‘I probably should stop right here, I’ve followed some difficult acts in the past … but not such a difficult act as I’ve seen in the last 45 minutes up here,’ he said – a remark meant for the performers, but worked for the protester too.
The inaugural program also included performances from Colombian singer Jorge Celedon, Mexico’s Alex Fernandez and the Mariachi Divas Espectacular – which, as the name suggests, is a large Mariachi ensemble.
Cirque du Soleil acrobats dangled from the stage to a rendition of ‘Lean on Me’ performed by The Tenors, with the musical accompaniment done by ‘The President’s Own’ Marine Band.
Attendees exited to John Williams’ theme music from the movie Hook.
President Joe Biden and granddaughter Naomi (center), along with her fiance Peter Neal, (upper right) greet California Gov. Gavin Newsom (left) and his kids, as well as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as they arrive at LAX Wednesday afternoon
FAMILY AFFAIR: President Joe Biden arrived in Los Angeles Wednesday and greeted the children of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, as his grand-daughter Naomi (in yellow) and her fiance Peter Neal greet LA Mayor Eric Garcetti
President Joe Biden (right) is welcomed to Los Angeles by California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom (center) and his children (left)
Biden had landed in Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon for the Summit of the Americas with Hunter’s daughter Naomi and her fiance Peter Neal at his side.
He was greeted at LAX by California Gov. Gavin Newsom – who easily won his primary Tuesday night – and his children, along with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s, whose nomination to become Biden’s ambassador to India is stalled in the Senate.
The president’s granddaughter Naomi and her finance Neal are set to have their wedding reception at the White House in November when they tie the knot.
During the flight, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said nothing will be off the table when Biden meets with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the summit Thursday – including talk about democratic elections after Bolsonaro this week questioned Biden’s 2020 win.
‘There are not topics off limits in any bilateral the president does, including with President Bolsonaro, first. Second, I do anticipate that the president will discuss open, free, fair, transparent democratic elections,’ Sullivan told reporters on board Air Force One.
Biden is set to sit face-to-face with Bolsonaro for the first time as president as part of the U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.
In the run-up to the summit Bolsonaro, nicknamed ‘Trump of the Tropics’ raised doubts that Biden was indeed the winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, echoing his political ally former President Donald Trump’s false election fraud claims.
‘The American people are the ones who talk about [election fraud,],’ he said in a TV interview, according to Reuters. ‘I will not discuss the sovereignty of another country. But Trump was doing really well.’
President Joe Biden greets the children of California Gov. Gavin Newsom – Dutch William Siebel Newsom, Hunter Siebel Newsom, Montana Tessa Siebel Newsom, and Brooklynn Siebel Newsom – as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcettit (left) looks on
President Joe Biden walks off Marine One with grand-daughter Naomi and her fiance Peter Neal as he heads to an interview with late night host Jimmy Kimmel
‘We don’t want that to happen in Brazil,’ said Bolsonaro, who is on the ballot in October.
The White House was already getting questions about why Biden would grant Bolsonaro a meeting, while snubbing a trio of authoritarian leaders from the hemisphere: Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega.
‘I will not discuss the sovereignty of another country. But Trump was doing really well,’ Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday about the 2020 U.S. presidential election, insinuating he doubted President Joe Biden was the rightful winner
‘I guess what I would say about the decision to do a meeting is that President Bolsonaro is a democratically elected leader of Brazil, a country the United States shares a significant set of common interests and concerns,’ a senior administration official told reporters on a summit planning call.
Bolsonaro has suggested he could pull a Trump and, if the loser, might not concede his October presidential race.
On Wednesday before the leaders’ arrival, protesters gathered around LA’s City Hall with trucks blasting Bolsonaro for a ‘liar’ and for ‘burning the Amazon.’
Sullivan said Biden would also discuss Bolsonaro’s environmental record with the Brazilian leader.
‘Climate will be an important topic of conversation and we believe that it can be an area of progress in the U.S.-Brazil relationship particularly around concrete and tangible action to protect the Amazon,’ Sullivan said.
Sullivan was also asked if Biden is pushing democratic themes during his three days in Los Angeles, why he isn’t ending the summit with a press conference.
‘I think it would be hard to argue that he hasn’t taken many, many questions from the press,’ Sullivan answered when asked about a lack of press conference. ‘He’ll be, over the course of the next three days, obviously in front of and addressing the press in various ways.’
Biden ignored questions from the press Wednesday morning after reading a statement to reporters about Tuesday night’s primary results on Joint Base Andrews’ tarmac.
He then tripped up the steps of Air Force One.
President Joe Biden salutes as he boards Air Force One Wednesday to attend the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles There he’ll come face-to-face with Brazil’s ‘Trump of the Tropics,’ President Jair Bolsonaro, who has cast doubt on Biden’s 2020 win
President Joe Biden waves as he boards Air Force One on Wednesday. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was asked if Biden is touting democracy on this trip, why he isn’t holding a formal press conference during the Summit of the Americas
People walk by a truck with messages against Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro during a protest in front of LA City Hall in Los Angeles Wednesday
Trucks in front of LA City Hall Wednesday called Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro a ‘liar’ and highlighted his environmental record of ‘burning the Amazon’
‘And I think by the end of this you can be pretty confident that he will be displaying – putting on full display – America’s raucous democracy and all of its wonderful and attractive forms,’ Sullivan continued.
‘I don’t see the kind of formal press conference issue as a particular litmus test,’ the top Biden adviser added.
Instead, Biden’s first stop when he touched down in Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon was to tape the
Jimmy Kimmel’s Hollywood studio for a taped interview.
It will be his first in-person sit-down with a late night show host since inauguration.
Biden’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! will air later Wednesday night.
Making use of the backdrop of Los Angeles, Biden will kick off the Summit of the Americas Wednesday evening at downtown LA’s Microsoft Theater, which has hosted the Emmys, Grammys, MTV Video Music Awards and other star-studded programs.