Biden cites Trump ‘abuse’ defending his caution on gun safety
The US president has been grilled on late-night television by Jimmy Kimmel about Democrat failures to pass new gun-safety measures after mass shootings.
President Joe Biden urged Americans to elect politicians who support stricter gun laws and said on a late-night talk shown that he hasn’t done more on gun safety through executive action because he doesn’t want to “abuse” the US constitution like his predecessor, Donald Trump.
Kimmel castigated federal lawmakers for their inaction on guns in an emotional monologue last month following the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school.
He asked Biden why he couldn’t issue more executive orders on gun safety. The president cited Trump as a cautionary example of executive overreach.
“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,” the president said, to applause. “I often get asked: ‘look, the Republicans don’t play it square, why do you play it square?’” he added.
But if Democrats follow suit, he said, “our democracy would literally be in jeopardy.”
Pressure has mounted on Biden and Democrats who control Congress after a spate of recent shootings, including the Uvalde, Texas, murders and a racist, fatal attack in Buffalo, New York. The House passed gun-safety legislation Wednesday, but the bill is likely doomed in the Senate, with any eventual new law hinging on delicate negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in the evenly divided chamber.
The president said he has already taken executive action to make it harder to obtain certain types of weapons, but said he lacks the power to make more sweeping changes unilaterally.
Kimmel repeatedly pressed Biden on his lack of progress on his broader agenda, including issues ranging from guns to abortion rights, voting rights, climate change and inflation. Biden chalked up the inaction to the divided Senate, where Democrats hold only 50 seats.
“We’ve seen such a radical shift in one party and the ability of that party, of that minority, of the MAGA folks,” Biden said, referring to Republicans and Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
He also predicted that if Republican-led states enact bans on abortion following an expected Supreme Court ruling overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, voters would respond with a “mini-revolution.”
Biden is in Los Angeles to host the Summit of the Americas, a gathering of Western hemisphere leaders. He will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday. BM
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