President Barack Obama offered his first official comment on the recent shootings of police officers in Ferguson, Missouri tonight — on a comedy talk show. Obama appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday night, saying that while what had been happening in Ferguson was "oppressive and objectionable and was worthy of protest," there was "no excuse for criminal acts."
"Whoever fired those shots shouldn't detract from the issue," the president said, after Kimmel raised the issue. "They're criminals. They need to be arrested. And then 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 understand they don't want to be stopped and harassed because of their race, that we're able to work together to try and come up with some good answers."
The president also read out mean tweets
The president offered his thoughts and prayers to the officers shot, and referenced his recent speech marking the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march in Selma, Alabama. "What was beautiful about Selma," he told Kimmel, "was reminding ourselves that real social change in this country so often has happened because ordinary people are willing in a nonviolent fashion to make their voices heard."
In addition to serious statements on racial abuses, tensions, and violence, Obama also took the time to read out a set of mean tweets to camera. The president said he dodged the worst of Twitter's vitriol by simply not tweeting, and told Kimmel that although his daughters, Sasha and Malia, have the newest smartphones, he's not allowed to use the "new fangled" technology. "I still have a Blackberry," the president said. "I don't text. I email."
When asked if he could share Hillary Clinton's email address — a reference to the ex-Secretary of State's controversy over the use of a private email account while in office — Obama told Kimmel that he wasn't at liberty to divulge the information. "I don't think she'd want you to have it, frankly," he told the talk show host.