Joe Biden Makes First Presidential Tonight Show Appearance

“Hey, Jimmy, how are ya, man?”

That’s how President Joe Biden responded to his big welcome from Jimmy Fallon as the main guest on Friday’s episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. While this is Biden’s third time coming on the show, it is his first appearance on any late-night show since he was sworn in as president in January.

Biden’s chat was virtual, which means, alas, he did not get to schmooze in the green room with the night’s other guests Jodie Turner-Smith, Rick Ross, and Jazmine Sullivan.

Fallon applauded Biden for passing his infrastructure bill, which the president said would replace all the lead pipes in America (it allocates money for this issue, though some say the cost could be more). Biden also said it would provide better internet connection all over the country and create millions of jobs. “Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!” Fallon replied.

Biden talked about the Build Back Better initiative, which, he said, would help parents with affordable child care and “a whole range of things in there” to help with cost of living issues in a “reasonable, rational way.” He added that “no one making less than 400,000 bucks a year will pay an additional cent in taxes.”

He admitted that he doesn’t have a single Republican vote supporting that bill, to which Fallon made a mugging “uh oh” face. This point led to a conversation about bipartisanship and how it has frayed in the post-Donald Trump environment.

“A lot of Republicans and Democrats used to get on really well together,” Biden, who first came to the Senate in 1973, reminisced. He added that he was proud to give Republican Senator Bob Dole’s eulogy. “We disagreed but we were friends,” he said, and then lamented the current political hazards of “QAnon and the extreme elements of the Republican Party, and what Donald Trump keeps feeding with The Big Lie.”

Fallon confessed that he’s been despondent about COVID, and wondered what more he could do to change the minds of people who still refuse to get vaccinated. Biden joked that listening to Fallon’s song “It Was A…(Masked Christmas)” with Megan Thee Stallion and Ariana Grande was a good place to start.

“We’re movin’,” Biden said, applauding the (mostly) American companies that have provided vaccines and boosters. He also noted he was happy that many children are now eligible to get shots. “The politicization of this,” he continued, getting a laugh as he sighed, “I dunno what the h—” before cutting himself off.

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