Jimmy Kimmel had trouble hiding his frustration on Wednesday as he spoke with the most powerful man in the free world about why he couldn’t get anything done on guns.
The comedian and late-night host channeled the feelings of many Americans as he interviewed Joe Biden in one of the longest on-camera conversations of Biden’s presidency. Kimmel pointed to the lack of federal action following gruesome shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, N.Y., and pressed Biden on why he hasn’t done more to curb access to semi-automatic weapons. Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, handed out executive orders “like Halloween candy,” Kimmel joked.
Biden said he didn’t want to push the constitutional limits on presidential power like Trump did. “What I don’t want to do, and I’m not being facetious, is I don’t want to emulate Trump’s abuse of the Constitution, and constitutional authority,” Biden said. “I often get asked, ‘Well, the Republicans don’t play it square, why do you play it square?’”
“Well, guess what?” the president continued. “If we do the same thing they do, our democracy will literally be in jeopardy.”
Biden suggested that voters frustrated with the lack of movement on the issue need to make clear to candidates that their vote this year will be contingent on their position on gun control.
“You got to make sure this becomes a voting issue,” Biden said.
In polling, gun legislation hasn’t been showing up as a top issue for Americans. “Biden was saying, it really has to become a No. 1 voting issue for anything to change,” says Lauren Wright, a political scientist at Princeton and an expert on presidential messaging. “Even if there’s a marginal change among Democrats, I think it is really helpful for Presidents to try to go to these types of media environments to get their message out.”
In recent weeks, Biden has continued to press his goal of reinstating the expired 1994 assault weapons ban. But current negotiations between Senate Democrats and Republicans are focused on more modest steps, such as tightening background checks and encouraging states to pass red flag laws. Biden blamed the lack of action on “intimidation” by the National Rifle Association and the GOP’s hard-right turn in recent years.
“This is not your father’s Republican party,” Biden said, adding that he believed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was limited on how much he could work with Biden by the “radical shift” in his own …read more
Source:: Time – Politics