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In appearance on 'Jimmy Kimmel,' Biden blames NRA, GOP for failing to control gun violence

President Joe Biden departs the White House on Wednesday for a trip to Southern California, where he will participate in the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. During his visit on Wednesday, he made an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/25977bcc10efc537747bdd1bcc033438/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
President Joe Biden departs the White House on Wednesday for a trip to Southern California, where he will participate in the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. During his visit on Wednesday, he made an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

June 9 (UPI) -- On his visit to California to attend the Summit of the Americas, President Joe Biden stopped by for a rare appearance on the late-night talk show circuit and spoke with Jimmy Kimmel about a range of issues, including gun violence in the United States.

Biden spoke with the host of Jimmy Kimmel Live for about 20 minutes during the segment, which was broadcast by ABC on Wednesday night.

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The appearance was Biden's first on any late-night talk show since he became president and his first on Kimmel's program since 2019 during his campaign.

Kimmel first asked the president why political leaders haven't done anything for gun control reforms in view of numerous mass shootings, especially when changes such as universal background checks are overwhelmingly supported by the American public.

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"A lot of it is about intimidation by the NRA," Biden answered. "This is not your father's Republican Party, it's a MAGA party.

"So you find people who are worried, I believe, that if they vote for rational gun policy they're gonna be primaried and they're going to lose in a hard-right Republican primary."

Biden noted in his interview that gun violence nationwide decreased during the 1990s when, as a senator, he worked on a federal assault weapons ban that was in effect until it expired in 2004. Attempts to revive the ban since then have been unsuccessful.

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Speaking to Kimmel, the president added that gun violence is an issue that should be on voters' minds when they go to the polls this fall -- when Republicans will aim to retake control of Congress.

Other pressing issues Kimmel posed to Biden during the appearance are the economic recovery after COVID-19 and the rapid rise of inflation over the past year, which has been particularly driven by energy prices.

"We have the fastest-growing economy in the world. We have 8.6 million new jobs since I got into office," the president said. "Unemployment rate is down to 3.6%. We reduced the deficit last year by $320 billion. This year we're going to reduce it by $1.7 trillion, trillion dollars."

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Biden and the Federal Reserve have taken steps to control rising inflation, including a rare half-point hike in key interest rates last month. Over the past 12 months, the rise has been higher than at any point over the last 40 years -- which Biden called the "bane of our existence."

Another issue on many Americans' minds is abortion and the Supreme Court's impending decision in a Mississippi case that could overturn the landmark decision in Roe vs. Wade that legalized the practice. A leaked opinion last month from the court's conservative majority indicates that the high court will strike down the 49-year-old law before its term ends later this month.

If Roe vs. Wade is overturned, the question of whether abortion is legal will rest with each individual state.

Biden said Wednesday night that if the court vacates the 1973 ruling, the federal government should make sure abortion is protected nationwide by codifying Roe vs. Wade into law. An attempt in Congress to take that step last month was unsuccessful.

The president also said that he believes some Republicans will be voted out of office if the Supreme Court overturns the ruling. Polling has consistently shown that a majority of Americans support some form of legalized abortion.

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"I don't think the country will stand for it," he said. "It's going to cause a mini-revolution and they're going to vote a lot of these folks out of office."

Despite the challenges presently facing America, Biden added that he's the most optimistic he's ever been that positive change is coming -- particularly from the younger generations.

"Look at the young people. Best educated, least prejudiced, most giving generation in American history," he said. "This generation is going to change everything. We just have to make sure that we don't give up."

At a comedic turn, Kimmel asked the president what he does when he wants to flush sensitive documents down the toilet.

"I call Trump," Biden quipped.

Biden is in Los Angeles for the Ninth Summit of the Americas, where the president will speak later on Thursday afternoon.

This week in Washington

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks as she attends the Capital Pride Festival on Pennsylvania Avenue on Sunday. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

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