President Joe Biden Says Younger Generation Helped Create Political Space for Change in ‘Daily Show’ Interview With Guest Host Kal Penn

President Joe Biden stressed the importance of the younger generation and the impact they have had on society in his interview for The Daily Show.

Kal Penn kicked off his hosting week talking to the president, his first Daily Show visit since taking office. During Monday’s episode, Biden discussed several topics ranging from climate change to student loan forgiveness and protecting LGBTQ rights, but throughout the interview, he kept crediting “young people” for helping to create change.

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“That generation between 18 and 35 now. They’re the ones who created the space,” the president said. “They had enough of it. They had enough of it.”

He said when trying to put the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 together, he met with younger citizens and “we passed the largest environmental plan in all of history, over $368 billion dollars. We got it done.”

He continued, “People can’t deny it [climate change] anymore. They can’t deny the fact, and I’ve traveled the world. I’ve gone to all the COP meetings around the world, meaning the meetings on climate. If we don’t keep the temperature from going above 1.5 degrees Celsius raised, then we’re in real trouble. That whole generation is damned. I mean, that’s not hyperbole. Really, truly in trouble.”

Regarding the president’s efforts to reduce fossil fuels and review drilling and oil production, the response from “young people who want you to continue to be their champion but might not think that you’re going far enough or fast enough on climate,” Biden explained that it’s a slow process. “It’s a matter of transitioning, but it’s not like you can cut everything off immediately,” he said.

Penn went on to ask the president about the obvious divide in Congress and the difficulties it’s caused with trying to get things done. Biden expressed that he’s “been relatively successful in working across the aisle.” He also claimed that “more than a half a dozen Republican Senators I’ve known for years over the last two years come to me individually … saying, ‘Joe, I agree with you. But if I do anything publicly, they are going to primary me and I’ll lose.'” Biden didn’t mention any names, but stressed that the Republican Party is going through a significant transition and that the next two years will tell “how they end up, whether the MAGA Republicans control the party or we get back to conservative.”

The president also maintained his stance that those challenging his administration’s student loan forgiveness plan “have no standing.” He even compared the plan to the PPP program during the pandemic that went to helping impacted businesses, saying a “number of the very people who are criticizing me in Congress actually got benefits in the program. You don’t hear them talking about it, right?” A case related to student loan forgiveness is currently pending in the United States Supreme Court.

Amid the recent passing of two controversial anti-LGBTQ laws in Tennessee and discussions in other states, Biden and Penn also discussed marriage equality and what “the federal government might be able to do to protect LGBTQ Americans, especially trans kids, who are dealing with all of these regressive state laws that are popping up.”

Biden maintained that he’s had a “simple” outlook on the topic since he was younger, saying, “It doesn’t matter whether it’s same-sex or a heterosexual couple, they should be able to be married.”

As for anti-transgender legislation, the president told Penn, “What’s going on in Florida, is as my mother would say close to sinful. I mean, it’s just terrible what they’re doing. It’s not like, you know, a kid wakes up one morning and says, you know, I decided I want to become a man or I want to become a woman or I want to change.” Biden went on to express the importance of passing “legislation like we passed on same-sex marriage – you mess with that, you’re breaking the law and you’re going to be held accountable.”

Biden’s full interview will air on Monday’s episode of The Daily Show at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central.

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