There weren’t a lot of laughs when President Joe Biden bantered with Jimmy Kimmel during his first in-person appearance on a talk show since taking office.
The host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” expressed frustration about intractable problems in Washington, and advised the president, “I think you need to start yelling at people.” Biden insisted he’s “never been more optimistic." Kimmel interjected: “Why are you so optimistic? It makes no sense!”
Biden said he's pinning his hopes on young people, calling them the “best-educated, least prejudiced, most giving generation in American history.”
Much of Wednesday's discussion focused on gun violence. Kimmel asked why Biden could not do more on his own.
"Can't you issue an executive order? Trump passed those out like Halloween candy," Kimmel said.
"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," Biden responded. "I mean that sincerely, because I often 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 will literally be in jeopardy. Not a joke."
Biden said he is hopeful that he can work with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to come up with gun control legislation.
“He’s a guy that, when he says something, he means it," Biden said about McConnell.
The show was taped Wednesday in Los Angeles.