For the first time as president, Joe Biden appeared on late-night TV, with a guest appearance on Jimmy Fallon's "The Tonight Show."
The appearance is the first of any sitting president on a late-night show since former President Barack Obama in 2016.
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While former President Donald Trump during his presidency did not make any appearances on any late-night television shows, President Obama was a regular on the late-night circuit. He appeared on "The Tonight Show" as well as shows hosted by Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Bill Maher and Samantha Bee.
Appearing remotely via video on “The Tonight Show” Friday night, Joe Biden was his usual, chipper self while talking with host Jimmy Fallon about topics ranging from the state of the country, his approval ratings, and how he’s tackling some of the bigger issues across the country.
Fallon started the interview by asking Biden what exactly is in the Build Back Better Plan, and if it will pass in the Senate before the end of the year. Biden replies with how he "hopes" it will pass, but mentions how he does not have a single Republican vote yet for it to pass in the Senate. Biden says how it will be "tough."
Jimmy Fallon referenced last week’s Kennedy Center Honors, saying he was there and saw Republicans and Democrats together laughing at jokes while being cordial to one another.
President Biden stated that the “Trump arm of the Republican Party, which seems to be the Republican Party now, did not even show up at the Kennedy Center.”
In a conversation about the bygone era of bipartisanship, President Biden shared that Sen. Bob Dole asked him on his deathbed to give a eulogy for him.
President Biden went on to say that there aren’t relationships like he had with Bob Dole anymore because “QAnon and the extreme elements of the Republican Party, what Donald Trump keeps sort of, it seems to me, keep feeding with the big lie makes it awful hard, and I think most Republicans – there’s an awful lot of Republicans in Congress who I think would agree.”
Fallon transitioned into a discussion over the coronavirus vaccines, the latest on the booster shots, and what it will take to get more people to get vaccinated. President Biden emphasized the importance of Americans getting the booster shots.
Biden mentioned how Jimmy Fallon's new song featuring Ariana Grande and Megan Thee Stallion titled, "It Was A…(Masked Christmas)" was a great way to get the message out.
Fallon thanks the president for his tweet showing support for the song.
Biden also brought up some of the furor over vaccine mandates, as he told Fallon, “This stuff about ‘Biden’s mandating these things happening, and it is un-American. Look at it this way. It is patriotic to get this done. Not a joke. It is patriotic to get it done.”
Fallon asks the president if he pays attention to his approval ratings.
"Not anymore," Biden quips back with applause and laughter from the audience.
While noting Biden’s falling approval ratings, the president alluded to how Americans are worried, but stated how most are also getting “inaccurate information” about the economic situation in the country.
Later on in the interview, Fallon asks what life has been like since moving into the White House. President Biden noted that he and First Lady Jill Biden both come from middle-class backgrounds and “worked like hell.”
He stated they’re not “used to people waiting on us” and in the White House “there’s somebody to make your breakfast or something to pack your clothes or someone to carry your bags.”
“We now have a deal -- and they’re great, the guys who run the kitchen on the second floor, is we don’t have them come in to do breakfast for us, because there’s no need for them to have to do breakfast for us. We can make our own eggs or pour a bowl of cereal -- ” Fallon jumped in to ask if he cooks his own eggs.
The president responded, “Well I don’t. Jill does,” to laughter.
The interview ends with Fallon asking, "If we talk again, and check in this time next year, what do you hope we’re gonna be talking about?"
"I hope we’re gonna be talking about how we’ve gotten COVID more under control, I hope we’re gonna be talking about how we have actually reduced the burden on middle-class folks financially, that salaries continue to go up. I hope we’re gonna talk about unemployment’s still going down, I hope we’re gonna be talking about inflation being under control,” Biden began.
But “the other thing,” Biden continued, “I really hope that we’re going to be able to demonstrate that we’ve made worldwide progress on the environment. Because I think it’s a critical thing. And pray to God, pray to God we will have passed the John Lewis act and the Voting Rights act because what’s going on now, in about 30 states, is literally un-American. It’s about trying to prevent people from voting, rather than allow them to vote.”
Biden is referring to a wave of voter suppression laws passed in states controlled by Republicans in the months since Donald Trump lost the 2020 election.
“So there’s a full plate, but I think we can do it. I’m optimistic about the future, and I’m optimistic about this country," Biden says.
“So I think the sky’s the limit on what we can do in the second quarter of the 21st century,” the President concluded.
"The Tonight Show" airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.