President Joe Biden on Wednesday blamed the lack of any progress on gun safety on intimidation by the gun lobby, and he called on voters to make it a deciding issue come November during his first in-person appearance on a late-night talk show.
Biden told late-night host Jimmy Kimmel that the National Rifle Association has persuaded Republicans into thinking that “if they vote for rational gun policy, they’re going to be primaried.”
“Well, I think a lot of it’s intimidation by the NRA,” Biden said. “Look, this is not your father’s Republican party. This is a MAGA party.”
Biden, a Democrat, said he is considering additional executive orders, but doesn't want to emulate his predecessor's use of the non-legislative strategy, calling it an "abuse of the Constitution.”
The appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on ABC with a late-night host who has discussed weighty issues gave Biden an opportunity to humanize himself with voters and get his message across to millions.
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.
Kimmel lightly chided Biden for his continued optimism amid limited progress on his legislative agenda issues.
“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,” Kimmel said.
Biden smiled and joked: “We’ve got to send them to jail,” a reference to a punishment in the board game.
While former President Donald Trump was absent on late-night television as president, Barack Obama was a regular presence on the shows during his time in office.
Wednesday's appearance was Biden’s first in-studio late-night spot following pandemic-era Zoom interviews with Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers.
This report contains material from Reuters and The Associated Press.
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