The last time Hillary Clinton stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live, she was still battling it out with Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination and Donald Trump still had Ted Cruz and, to a much lesser degree, John Kasich, to worry about. Five months later, with a more unified base behind her and a solid lead in almost every battleground state poll, Clinton had nothing to do but come out swinging against her Republican opponent.
Clinton hasn’t held a proper press conference with political reporters in more than 260 days, but this was her third time sitting next to Jimmy Kimmel since she became a 2016 candidate for president. But while Kimmel may be a friendlier interviewer than some, the questions about her trustworthiness came before she even emerged on the stage. During a “Lie Witness News” segment that preceded her appearance, Los Angeles pedestrians weighed in on a “big announcement” she hadn’t made earlier that day, deeming it mostly full of lies.
“Who would have guessed this audience would be so enthusiastic about the co-founder of ISIS?” Kimmel asked Clinton after the applause died down. Laughing and calling that particular accusation “one of the crazier things that’s been said this campaign,” Clinton said she doesn’t “get upset anymore” about the things Trump says “because I’d be upset all the time.” But on a more serious note, she said that type of rhetoric is “harmful” because it “actually helps terrorists.”
Asked how she plans to prepare for her upcoming debates with Trump, Clinton said, “I watched a lot of his debates during the primaries and he insulted all of his opponents, he insulted all the moderators, he insulted, I guess about 80 percent of the American people and the rest of the world.” So while she wants to “take it seriously,” she is also preparing for any potential “wackiness” by drawing on her elementary school experience.
Kimmel also helped Clinton clear up some of the recent rumors about her health by taking her pulse—“Oh my God, there’s nothing there,” the host joked—while she defended her vitality. “Back in October, The National Enquirer said I would be dead in six months,” she said, “so with every breath I take I feel like I have a new lease on life.” On Kimmel’s request, Clinton successfully opened a jar of pickles.
As Clinton tried to steer the conversation back to issues like job creation and student debt, Kimmel kept the focus on Trump. “If you were elected president, how great would it be if your first act was to deport Donald Trump to Mexico?” he asked. When Clinton said this is “such a serious time in our country,” he replied, “Not really.”
“I would prefer to be running against somebody who I thought was qualified to be president and temperamentally fit to be commander-in-chief,” Clinton said to applause from the audience, even if that would make her job right now a whole lot more difficult. While she said America has seen some less than “great” presidents in our history, she added, “I don't think we’ve ever been confronted with somebody who we see right now in the midst of this election is unqualified and temperamentally unfit.”
It wasn’t until his second segment with the candidate that Kimmel uttered the word she most likely dreads the most these days: “emails.” Asked if she is worried about the pending release of nearly 15,000 emails by the State Department just before the debate, Clinton repeated a line she has used before. “My emails are so boring.” She then added, “We’ve already released, I don’t know, 30,000-plus, so what’s a few more?”
Kimmel ended the segment by playing a game with Clinton. He asked her to pick real Donald Trump quotes out of a fishbowl and read them aloud without cracking a smile. There was only one she refused to read and it was about Trump’s more-than-fatherly affection for his daughter, Ivanka.