U.S 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 bullied Republicans into thinking that “if they vote for rational gun policy, they’re going to be primaried.”
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 like U.S. health care and the mass shooting crisis gives 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 (XOM.N) 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, and said how can you play “Monopoly” by the rules with his rival Republicans who don’t.
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.
This Wednesday, however, will mark Biden’s first in-studio late-night spot following pandemic-era Zoom interviews with Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers.
Kimmel started his career as a raunchy host of Comedy Central’s “The Man Show” before becoming host of his own late-night show. Kimmel has not been shy about using his platform to address social issues with a personal bent.
Kimmel passionately spoke about the health-care debate following the birth of his son, who was born with a serious heart issue. Kimmel also broke down in tears after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, his hometown, which ultimately killed 60 people.
The United States and China are expected to use Asia’s top security meeting this week to trade blows over everything from Taiwan’s sovereignty to the war in Ukraine, although both sides have indicated a willingness to discuss managing differences.
The Shangri-La Dialogue, which attracts top-level military officials, diplomats and weapons makers from around the globe, will take place June 10-12 in Singapore, the first time the event has been held since 2019 after it was postponed twice because of COVID-19.
On the sidelines of the summit, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Minister of National Defence General Wei Fenghe are expected to hold their first face-to-face meeting since President Joe Biden took office more than two years ago.
“We expect, from our perspective, the substance of that meeting to be focused on managing competition in regional and global issues,” a senior U.S. official said.
Chinese media have also said Beijing will use the meeting to discuss cooperation with the United States.
Austin and Wei are likely to then use speeches over the weekend to re-affirm their commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, while delivering some pointed remarks in the direction of the other.
Relations between China and the United States have been tense in recent months, with the world’s two largest economies clashing over everything from Chinese belligerence towards Taiwan, its military activity in the South China Sea and Beijing’s attempts to expand influence in the Pacific region.
Although the summit is focused on Asian security issues, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will remain central to discussions. The conflict, which has killed tens of thousands of people, uprooted millions and reduced cities to rubble, entered its 100th day last week.
Ukraine will send a delegation to the meeting but the Russians will not be attending, according to a source familiar with the list of attendees.
“American participants will use the occasion to criticise China’s strategic partnership with Russia,” said Li Mingjiang, associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
“We’ll see some inferences of the China-Russia partnership as a coalition of autocracies … China will defend their relationship with Russia, their position and policy in response to Ukraine.”
With U.S. military and political capital soaked up by the war in Ukraine, Austin will be under pressure to convince China’s rivals in Asia that they can rely on Washington.
“They say that China is this huge threat and they’re even saying it’s an acute threat. Yet it seems a major part of the attention and resources are basically going to Europe,” said Elbridge Colby, a former senior Pentagon official. “It’s not about words, it’s about walking the walk.”
Bilateral talks between the United States and China, and much of the conference, will likely focus on Taiwan.
China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory, has increased military activity near the island over the past two years, responding to what it calls “collusion” between Taipei and Washington.
“The U.S. is going to come out swinging on Taiwan specifically but also China’s growing assertiveness throughout the Indo-Pacific,” said Derek Grossman, a senior defence analyst at the RAND Corporation, a think tank.
This month, Biden said the United States would get involved militarily should China attack Taiwan, although the administration has since clarified that U.S. policy on the issue has not changed and Washington does not support Taiwan’s independence.
Washington has had a long-standing policy of strategic ambiguity on whether it would defend Taiwan militarily.
The Pacific islands have also emerged as a key front in Washington’s strategic competition with China.
Biden’s special envoy is due to visit the Marshall Islands next week amid growing U.S. worries about China’s efforts to expand its influence in the region. Last week, a virtual meeting of 10 Pacific foreign ministers hosted by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Fiji agreed to defer consideration of a Chinese proposal for a sweeping trade and security pact. read more
Also looming over the Shangri-La Dialogue is the increasing military threat posed by North Korea, which has carried out at least 18 rounds of weapons tests this year, underscoring its evolving nuclear and missile arsenals.
Officials from South Korea, the United States and Japan said on Wednesday that North Korea’s recent missile tests were “serious, unlawful” provocations. read more
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will open the conference on Friday with a keynote speech in which he is expected to call for peaceful resolutions to disputes in the Asia-Pacific region.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Television viewers will find nearly blanket prime-time coverage of a Congressional hearing Thursday on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, with the exception of Fox News Channel.
Fox News will cover the first in a series of House Select Committee public hearings as “news warrants,” it said in a release, otherwise leaving intact its regular lineup including “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Fox Business Network, Fox News Digital and other corporate siblings will carry the hearing, with Fox News’ Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum co-anchoring.
On the broadcast side, Fox affiliate stations and those owned by Fox Corp. will have the opportunity but not the obligation to carry the hearing, the company said. With Fox News out of the scheduled mix — aside from a post-hearing special at 11 p.m. EDT — the most-watched cable network won’t add its heft to coverage.
While Fox Business is among the top-rated business channels, its peak audience is in daytime, where it’s been averaging 227,000 viewers recently. In comparison, Fox News averaged 2 million prime-time viewers last week, and 1.3 million for the full day.
Asked why Fox News Channel is foregoing full hearing coverage, a Fox spokesperson said that viewers can find it on multiple Fox News Media cable and digital platforms.
The hearing will reconstruct events leading up to the 2021 riot, including then-President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 election based on false claims of voter fraud and the orchestrated effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.
The Fox News approach is in marked contrast to the other major broadcast networks and cable news channels, which will be covering the 8-10 p.m. EDT hearing in whole. Fox News will air a post-hearing, two-hour special anchored by Fox News chief legal correspondent Shannon Bream, joined by Baier and MacCallum.
CNN’s coverage will begin at 7 p.m. EDT, anchored by Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper, and resume with post-hearing analysis and further reporting anchored by Don Lemon starting at 11 p.m. EDT.
On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace and Joy Reid are in charge of coverage that begins at 7 p.m. EDT and will continue after the hearings with a special edition of “The 11th Hour” with Stephanie Ruhle.
The broadcast networks are giving their nightly news anchors the prime position, with David Muir anchoring for ABC, Lester Holt for NBC and Norah O’Donnell for CBS, each starting at or close to 8 p.m. EDT.