Obama scraps Jimmy Kimmel visit amid "more serious matters"

As crises continue erupting all over the world, presidential fundraising trips still make the cut. Late-night television appearances, on the other hand, do not.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed Tuesday that tentative plans to appear on Jimmy Kimmel's late night show during President Obama's three-day trip to the West Coast were scrapped, at least in part because of how it would look.

The decision "is at least in part related to the challenges of doing a comedy show in the midst of some of these other, more serious matters that the president's dealing with in the international scene," Earnest told reporters.

The president has taken criticism in recent days for jetting off to raise money as a war in Gaza rages and amid heated tensions with Russia in the wake of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. But Earnest has repeatedly defended the trip.

He said the standard should be "whether or not those political activities interfere with the president's constitutional responsibilities as the commander in chief of the United States of America," and argues that this trip does not.

"The president, like most professionals, has the capability to deal with more than one priority at a time and particularly, somebody who has the trappings of the presidency alongside him," Earnest said, citing the benefits offered by Air Force One, dedicated phone lines, and an ever-present group of senior advisers.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for