On Wednesday night, President Joe Biden made his first appearance on a nighttime talk show since his inauguration. He received some of the softest questions imaginable from host Jimmy Kimmel on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” but he still found a way to screw it up.
One of Biden’s gaffes during the interview came when Kimmel asked him about gun control. This has been the hottest topic in the Biden administration lately, in part because it is one of the only issues the administration believes Democrats have a chance of campaigning on.
During the discussion, the president claimed that “people have 300 rounds in a magazine” — a ridiculous remark.
Biden started by telling Kimmel he had met with “every single family member” of the students and teachers who were killed in the recent school massacre in Uvalde, Texas.
“They stayed with me for almost four hours, over 200 of them, meaning family and extended family. And the stories they told and the pain you could see on their faces, it just made you, I mean, it just, it leaves such a …”
Sensing Biden was beginning to flounder, Kimmel cut him off and asked another pandering question.
“Shouldn’t we demand that every senator in the United States sit with those families?” Kimmel said, drawing applause from the audience.
To be clear, no one on either side of the political aisle wants these families or any others to suffer the pain and loss they have experienced. Every decent person agrees that children should not be killed by deranged criminals.
The debate is about the best way to address such tragedies and prevent them from happening to the best of our abilities.
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With this specific question, the late-night host was implying Republicans are ignoring the pain these families are feeling. Kimmel was suggesting that if we force senators to sit with the families of the victims, the senators will immediately change their minds regarding which policies will best prevent future mass shootings.
The implication itself is absurd. Republican lawmakers are already well aware of the problem and the pain these families are feeling. Again, the disagreement is not about whether mass shootings are evil, but rather about what needs to be done to address this evil.
With that said, Kimmel’s question was a complete softball for Biden. All the president had to do was say senators who sat down with these victims might gain a new perspective on gun laws. That probably isn’t true, but it is the answer Kimmel was fishing for, and it would have played perfectly with Biden’s base.
Instead, the president went off the rails.
“I think we should make the demand,” Biden said. “Here’s what has to happen. All of you folks … you got to make sure that this becomes a voting issue.
“It’s gotta be one of those issues where you decide, ‘Your position on the issue, senator or candidate for House or Senate, on what we’re gonna do with assault weapons and how … people have 300 rounds in a magazine, what you say on those things is gonna determine how I’m gonna vote for you.’ It should be one of those issues.”
For the first half of this spiel, Biden’s point was at least coherent. He wants Americans to demand that candidates push for widespread gun control.
Yet as he is prone to do, the president went off-script and talked about magazines that hold 300 rounds. Such magazines do not exist for any firearms a civilian can legally purchase.
The most popular rifle magazines hold 20 or 30 rounds, although some states have set a limit of 10 or 20. The biggest can hold 100 rounds.
There is no magazine for a legally obtainable rifle capable of holding 300 rounds.
Biden’s inability to understand basic facts about guns shows exactly why he should not be trusted to make substantial decisions about who can have them.