9:16pm PT by THR staff
President Obama Addresses Ferguson, Reads Mean Tweets on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'
President Barack Obama stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday.
The late-night host welcomed Obama for his first in-person visit to the Jimmy Kimmel Live stage with a humorous introduction: "The first Kenyan-born Muslim socialist ever elected to run this country."
In Jimmy Kimmel style, the president partook in a reading of mean tweets. "I have to say though, those weren't that mean... You should see what the Senate says about me," Obama said after reading numerous negative comments directed at him on Twitter. He also admitted that he does not "physically tweet in general" because he "generally" has "some other stuff to do."
Kimmel and Obama also addressed Ferguson in length, to which the president said the "criminals" who shot at two cops on Wednesday night "need to be arrested." He extended his well wishes to the officers: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the officers and their families, and thankfully... they’re going to be OK."
"What was beautiful about Selma was reminding ourselves that real social change in this country so often has happened because ordinary people are willing in a non-violent fashion to make their voices heard," Obama said. "What had been happening in Ferguson was oppressive and objectionable and was worthy of protest. But there was no excuse for criminal acts and whoever fired those shots shouldn't detract from the issue."
"What we need to do is make sure that like-minded, good-spirited people on both sides — law-enforcement, who have a terrifically tough job, and people who understandably don't want to be stopped and harassed just because of their race — that we're able to work together to try and come up with some good answers," Obama continued.
The president told Kimmel that he put a task force together following the first Ferguson event, which was comprised of police officers, police chiefs and organizers who participated in protests in Ferguson and New York. "What we have to make sure of is that the folks who disregard and disrespect the other side — people who resort to violence — that they're marginalized."
He further added: "What was happening in Ferguson was you had city government telling the police department 'stop more people. We need to raise more money.'"
Obama went on to humorously admit to audiences that he "can't drive" when Kimmel inquired if he ever takes the wheel.
"I cannot drive," Obama said, adding "I mean I —" to which Kimmel replied: "Is that because you don't have a birth certificate?"
Obama continued the banter, referring to an earlier joke about his "Kenyan" citizenship. "In Kenya, we drive on the other side" of the road.
Obama has appeared multiple times on The Tonight Show, The Late Show and The Daily Show. He also appeared on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report in its final month. This was his first in-person visit to Jimmy Kimmel Live. He appeared via satellite in 2008 when he was running for his first term.
Obama was in Los Angeles to attend a fundraiser hosted by ICM’s Chris Silbermann and his wife, Julie Franz.