On Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, the day after the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention, “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir and “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts conducted the first joint interviews with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris in Wilmington, Delaware. The interviews aired in a special edition of “20/20” called “The Ticket: The First Interview” on Sunday, Aug. 23.
The following is a transcript of Muir’s interview:
DAVID MUIR: Well, thank you both for sitting down with us.
JOE BIDEN: Thanks for having us.
KAMALA HARRIS: Thank you.
MUIR: Mr. Vice President, as you know it was more than 30 years ago, you first ran for president — 1987. You ran three times. It’s now 2020, and you’re the candidate of change. I wonder, after dreaming of that moment for more than three decades, what it was like.
BIDEN: Well you know, we talked about this a little bit. I have an overwhelming sense of obligation, I mean, whoever wins this collection is going to determine the fate of this country for at least a couple decades, and there’s a lot at stake. So it’s an overwhelming sense of obligation to get this right. But it, I feel an obligation as I said to, to get it right, the character of the country is on the ballot. There is so much at stake.
MUIR: And Senator Harris, you’ve already made history by just being on this ticket. But something you said before you were even chosen, you said, “I want him to choose whoever he believes can help him win.” You said, “It sounds pretty cold blooded, but that’s where I am.”
HARRIS: That is correct.
MUIR: You’re the pick. How are you best suited to help Vice President Biden win?
HARRIS: Well, I believe that between Joe Biden and myself we really do represent the breadth and depth of who we are as Americans, and you know, he and I often talk about the importance of leadership and leaders that see the people and understand who the people are and respond to their needs, giving them dignity and respect in the process. And when I think about Joe’s life, I think about his career, coupled with my experiences in my career, I think that between us we have the ability to really meet the American people where they are and address their fears and their hopes and their dreams. And I think that’s critical right now.
To Joe’s point, there’s so much on the line, there’s so much at stake in this election and the people — the people of America have a right to have leaders that care about them and understand them.
MUIR: We have so much we want to get to here, but I do want to get right to the heaviness of the moment in our country. The pandemic — more than 170,000 American lives lost now — Mr. Vice President, you have said that people are dying because of this negligence. Do you blame President Trump for lives lost?
BIDEN: I don’t blame him for the COVID crisis. I blame him for walking away and not dealing with the solutions. The idea of saying that this is going to go away, that some miracle is going to happen, there’s all talk about the crazy things about bleach and using, I mean it’s just, he hasn’t listened to the scientists.
MUIR: But do you think the negligence on the part of this administration has cost lives?
BIDEN: I can tell you what Columbia University Medical School said. It said that if he had acted just one week earlier, he would have saved over 37,000 lives, 37,000 fewer people would have not passed away. Two weeks earlier over 50,000 people. This is about telling the American people the truth, letting the scientists speak, listening to the science, not and– stepping out of the way. Let the experts go out and let, let the American people know what the truth is and what has to be done.
MUIR: You said in your speech last night that you want to implement a national strategy and as part of that strategy you said, “We’ll have a national mandate to wear masks.” You know a lot of governors aren’t going to go along with that and what do you say to Americans who say, this is my freedom, my choice whether to wear a mask? Are you going to force them to wear a mask?
BIDEN: Well, look, I think I’m going to ask every governor to step up. This isn’t about freedom, it’s about freedom for your, your neighbors. It’s about a patriotic responsibility to protect your neighbors. And the only way you can do that is to be socially distanced and wearing a mask when you’re in public, when you’re outside. This is, this is, I mean I find this– the first time I’ve ever heard people say that doing something patriotic you can save other people’s lives, impacts on their freedom. Come on. Give me a break, this is about saving lives.
MUIR: You talk about the science. If you’re sworn in come January, and, and we have coronavirus and the flu combining, which many scientists have said is a real possibility, would you be prepared to shut this country down again?
BIDEN: I will be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus. That is the fundamental flaw of this administration’s thinking to begin with. In order to keep the country running and moving and the economy growing, and people employed, you have to fix the virus, you have to deal with the virus.
MUIR: So if the scientists say shut it down?
BIDEN: I would shut it down, I would listen to the scientists.
MUIR: And Senator Harris, we have seen the disproportionate toll on communities of color, all across this nation during this pandemic. The president talks about the potential of a vaccine almost daily. We have seen what’s happened with testing in this country — the lines, waiting, days, weeks for results, even when there is a vaccine — under your administration, who would get that vaccine first?
HARRIS: Well, that’s a great point because let’s also be clear that creating a vaccine, and finally having a vaccine is a very different point than people actually being vaccinated, and there needs to be a plan. And that’s one of the things that Joe and I talk about, which is the plan to ensure that we’re going to have all of the equipment in place to actually administer a vaccine to the largest number of people as quickly as possible. But doing that, keeping in mind that there are disparities, that there are different needs based on different communities and that’s why we talk about the need to track actually racial disparities — disparities based on region, geographic region and do that now. So that when we have a vaccine, those communities that are most in need, will get them. But, again, that policy and that approach will be guided by the public health experts, unlike what we have seen now which are the politics guiding a public health crisis, to the point that as Joe has said, we’ve had over 170,000 souls who perished in just the last several months.
We’ve had the economic impact that some described as being the equivalent of what we saw in terms of the harm of the Great Depression. And one of the things I think about Joe, that is so important, in terms of this moment in time, is his approach is about “we’re all in this together, we’re all in this together,” as opposed to Donald Trump, who is yet on every issue and this issue, trying to divide America on something is as important as who wears a mask or doesn’t. And I think that should portend the future in terms of where we’re going to be when it comes time for a vaccine. Are we gonna have a president in place, who is paying attention to the health and the needs of the American people? Or is he going to be manipulating the American people for his personal political gain?
BIDEN: David, can I just say one thing? I’ve been pleading with the president for the last three months: you need a plan. I suggested that save $25 billion now and put together a plan. How will you get to over 300 million Americans? He has no notion, how to do that. There’s somebody that should be in charge now directing precisely how the vaccine would be distributed, how many vials are going to have to be fact manufactured that hold the vaccine, how many shots are going to have to be required. How is he going to do it? It’s about how. Plan now.
MUIR: But on that point of a vaccine, the president has said we could have a vaccine by year’s end. He’s floated the idea of having a vaccine by November. Are you concerned at all that he’ll announce a vaccine in the days leading up to the election?
BIDEN: No, I’m not concerned. I would hope that they’d be able to have the vaccine. Now most of the medical guys and women I talked to, I get advised four times a week for an hour and a half from the leading health care providers and immunologists in the country, and they tell me that’s highly unlikely to be able to do that. But if God willing it happened, it’d be wonderful. My concern is whether or not it will be made available and how it’s made available. It has to be thoroughly transparent. The entire medical community has to understand what was done, how, how the vaccine was developed, what test did it go through, so that people have confidence in it.
MUIR: Be honest with the American people though. If you’re elected president, Mr. Vice President, where will we be? You’ve been meeting with your scientists. What does next winter look like? What does a year from now look like? Are we still in the middle of this pandemic?
BIDEN: It depends on what this president leaves me in five months. Everybody asks, which is a legitimate question, what are you going to do on January 21, 2021? It depends on what he’s left me with, and right now it looks like what’s going to happen is that the numbers are going to go up. There’s, there’s estimates that well over 200,000 people will die. Significantly more people will be infected. It doesn’t have to be that way. He can take action now, now, to deal with this.
MUIR: We know there’s another crisis attached to this pandemic and that’s the economy. Thirty million Americans on unemployment right now we just learned of another million last week filing for unemployment. You lead in the polls, but in the same polls there’s also a vulnerability. Over and over again, President Trump leads on the economy, and you know what he’s saying? He said, President Biden, a Biden administration, will raise your taxes, will you raise taxes?
BIDEN: I will raise taxes for anybody making over $400,000. Let me tell you why I’m going to do it. It’s about time they start paying a fair share of the economic responsibility we have. The very wealthy should pay fair share, corporations should pay a fair share. The fact is, there are corporations making close to a trillion dollars that pay no tax at all. I’m not punishing anybody. This is about everybody paying their fair share.
MUIR: So no new taxes $400,000 and down?
BIDEN: No new taxes, there would be no need for (inaud).
MUIR: And in the middle of a recovery because you’ve seen this before when you entered back in 2008 with President Obama — Is it smart to tax businesses while you’re trying to recover?
BIDEN: It’s smart to tax businesses that are in fact are making excessive amounts of money and paying no taxes. It’s how we did it last time, look what happened. I was put in charge of making sure that $800 billion got distributed around the country and started economic growth. Less than two tenths of 1% waste or fraud, the largest, the most consecutive number of months of growth in jobs of any time in history. We did it the right way. Look what he’s doing. The money was supposed to go to help small businesses, you have one in six small businesses have already closed. You’re finding a situation that over 60% of the money — only 40% of money for small businesses went to small businesses.
MUIR: But what is the cut off? You’re talking about small businesses, will you be raising taxes on small businesses?
MUIR: You’re talking about…
BIDEN: I’m talking about — I’m talking about businesses that in fact — look, you have 90% of the businesses out are mom and pop businesses that are out there that are making — that employee less than 50 people. There will be no raising taxes on them. We have to provide them with the ability to reopen. We have to provide more help for them, not less help.
MUIR: I want to turn to the blistering attacks we’ve seen from President Trump just this week alone on your mental fitness, whether you’re up for the job. His campaign has called you “diminished.” And I’m curious how you’d respond to that.
BIDEN: Watch me. Mr. President, watch me. Look at us both. Look at us both, what we say, what we do, what we control, what we know, what kind of shape we’re in. Come on. This is look, I think it’s a legitimate question to ask anybody over 70 years old whether or not they’re fit and whether they’re ready. But I just, only thing I can say to the American people, it’s a legitimate question to ask anybody. Watch me.
MUIR: Let’s put the attacks aside. The American people remember Ronald Reagan was 77 when he left office, you would be 78 entering office and you have said yourself that you are a transition candidate. Does that mean a one-term president, what does that mean?
BIDEN: No, it doesn’t mean– what it means is I’m, we haven’t spent nearly enough time building the bench in the Democratic Party. Remember after one of the primaries, I said, I’m going to spend time camping in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida and the rest, and they said, why would you do that? Can’t win those states. In, in any state where we have competitive people running for the Senate and the House and the legislature. It’s important the Democratic Party invest there. Invest there. So when I want to do is make sure when this is over, we have a new Senate, we won back statehouses, we’re in a position where we transition to a period of bringing people up to the visibility that they need to get to be able to lead nationally. And that’s about raising people up. And that’s what I’m about.
MUIR: So you’re leaving open the possibility you’ll serve eight years if elected?
MUIR: Let me ask you both about a moment that people love to make a lot of. I have no interest in going back and looking at all the debates. Instead, though I’d like to talk about the words on stage when the two of you were rivals. You remember that moment, Senator Harris, you were on stage talking about being a little girl who was being bussed, and you said of the Vice President’s words about working with segregationist senators that they were hurtful and personal. I think the American people want to know that these aren’t debate moments, these aren’t political points, that when you say they were hurtful and personal — you mean that. And so I’m curious what the vice president has said to you since then that made you think, OK, I’m OK with this, I can join this ticket.
HARRIS: What is hurtful to me is that black families own one-tenth of the wealth of white families. What is hurtful to me is that black and Latinos are twice as likely to die from COVID as white families. What is hurtful to me is that when you look at the disparities, and everything from health care to education, to the economic wellbeing of families in America, there are real racial disparities that are rooted in systemic racism. And — and — and a failure to address the truths that may be difficult truths. Joe Biden does that. And he is doing that. He is addressing these truths. He speaks these truths. And one of the reasons I’m so excited to be on this ticket with him and God willing to serve with him is that he has the confidence of character, and a real genuine commitment to address these issues.
And so he has policies before I was on the ticket that are about addressing racial disparities in the economy. Let’s talk about that. Around an investment in families to help them with homeownership. He has a whole plan before I was on the ticket to address HBCUs. I’m a proud graduate of Howard University. That is particularly very exciting. He has a plan that is about addressing the desperate need for reform of our criminal justice system. And that’s what this has to be about, which is translating the pain that we’ve collectively should feel as a country and I think we do collectively feel when I looked at who was marching in the streets and translate that into action that is about fixing the problems and that’s Joe Biden’s approach. And that’s why I’m so excited to be on this ticket with him.
MUIR: Mr. Vice President, your wife Jill Biden had called it a punch to the gut that night, what she saw from Senator Harris. But now that months have passed do you, do you sense an understanding of where Senator Harris was coming from when she said, personal and hurtful?
BIDEN: I sense exactly where she’s coming from and I think — look, I think a lot of people, and maybe even the senator at the time didn’t know the depth of my record. I’m also someone who has — we have the eighth largest Black population in America in this state. The reason I’m sitting here with you now is because African Americans vote over 90% for me. I don’t take anything for granted. I’ve worked like hell 10 blocks from here, the East Side, which is all African American. That’s where I worked. I was a public defender. I was deeply involved. First job I ever had I ran as a county councilman to end redlining. So, that is keeping blacks out of neighborhoods and not lending money to them, and so on. So, this is something where I don’t think most people knew the depth of the background that I had. And so, look, but we’re — we’re on the same exact page about what the possibilities are right now. There’s enormous possibilities because the blinders have sort of been taken off the American people, they’ve seen the extent of the systemic racism that exists, and they’re ready to do something about it.
MUIR: I was watching the convention, obviously, very closely. I saw you had a number of Republican headliners during the convention and everyday voters from across America, Republicans, independents and Senator Harris I wanted to ask you about something I’m sure you’ve heard often: The president and his campaign have said Kamala Harris was rated the most liberal US Senator in 2019, that she completes the radical leftist takeover of Joe Biden. I know you laugh, but you were to the left of Joe Biden on some major issues going into the primary, you know, Medicare for all, eliminating private insurance, the Green New Deal. So, have you moved closer to Joe Biden or has he moved closer to you?
HARRIS: Joe Biden and I are completely aligned on the goal: making sure everyone has health care, and it’s not a function of how much money they have in their back pocket. He and I have personal experiences with people we love deeply, who have gone through the health care system and who ultimately passed away, and, and that is a personal and in a very deep held belief that is based on a shared value that all people should have access to health care. You look at what we need to do in terms of the climate crisis, Joe’s speech last night said it all, we’re facing four crises right now in America, and one of them is the climate crisis. We agree on what we need to do, which is to take it seriously as one of the highest priorities of our government, knowing that it is an existential threat to who we are as human beings.
MUIR: Is the Green New Deal though still your ultimate goal?
HARRIS: Where I am, is that we need to have a goal that is based on timelines, and that’s what the Harris plan was before, and what the Biden plan was before, and so together the Biden-Harris ticket is about saying that we’re going to have deadlines on when we’re going to achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction, when we’re going to have an investment in electric vehicles, and do what we need to do to invest in renewable energies, there’s a whole plan about investing in infrastructure around renewable energies– one million jobs will be created as a result of that.
MUIR: And you know I ask you this because you have pressure from the left, you have pressure from the center, you’re trying to appeal to Republicans, and so on sort of the evolution on the issues when you talk about health care that you see eye to eye — do you see a day where private insurance would go away as you once proposed?
HARRIS: No, and in fact that my plan, when I was running, was that we would not eliminate private insurance. And Joe and I–
MUIR: Even though you signed on for Medicare for All?
HARRIS: I signed on to that. I signed on to a number of bills that were about great ideas to fix the problem. I want to fix the problem. And Joe has a plan to fix the problem and I’m fully supportive of it.
BIDEN: David, I think, if I can just interrupt for just a moment. The degree to which we disagreed in the primaries is– was on tactic. We both believe Medicare, healthcare is a right not a privilege. We both believe that we have to deal with the existential threat to humanity, called global warming, but they call it a new Green Deal or– we have, it’s just a matter of detail. I think we can eliminate and I think the senator does as well, we can eliminate, we can have a power system and electric grid system, that in fact has– we get to zero emissions by 2035. We can own the market in electric vehicles. The question is how you get there, how you get there and how quickly and what you do to get there. And so I don’t think we have any disagreement on the basic question of what we have to do, as a nation, and, and it’s always been more tactic than it has been about a fundamental difference.
MUIR: I want to ask you both about the next 70 days, not much time left. We saw the president just this week during the convention, he traveled to Pennsylvania, he traveled to Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, all of that while you were making your case to the American people. I understand the restrictions of COVID and campaigning in this time, but can you win a presidential election from home?
BIDEN: We will. We’re going to follow the science, what the scientists tell us. We’ve been able to travel places when we’ve been able to do it in a way that we don’t cause the congregation of large numbers of people. Look what happened with his, his events, people die, people get together, they don’t wear masks, they end up getting COVID, they end up dying, one of his strongest supporters– Anyway, the point is that this is about the science. This is about the, look, the whole issue of getting the economy under control and having it grow again cannot occur until we in fact get COVID under control.
MUIR: So when you hear the president say this guy’s afraid to leave his basement.
BIDEN: Guess what. I have left my basement, and — but in the meantime 500 million people have watched what I’ve done out of my basement. And guess what? People are listening, people are listening. It’s about being responsible. For example, I was initially going to do the convention from up at where –I was the chairman of the Constitution Center, up in – up in Philadelphia, but Philadelphia has a rule — Pennsylvania’s rule, no more than 25 people congregating. So I decided I can’t do that. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to listen to the scientists, and we did it down here, and we’ve done it in a way that has been safe and secure. That’s how we’re going to be. I went to — I’ve gone around the country. I’ve been — I’ve been to Texas. I’ve been around, but doing it in a way that I am not going to have thousands of people show up not wearing masks and infecting one another.
MUIR: Senator Harris, I wanted to ask you about the Postmaster General. As you know he was testifying just today, just before we sat down for this interview. You would typically be there to question. I know you sent in questions on your own. He acknowledged that the changes he’s made have caused delays but then he said this: the Postal Service will deliver every ballot and process every ballot in time that it receives.That’s a promise from the Postmaster General, that the postal service will deliver every ballot and process every ballot in time. Do you buy that?
HARRIS: I don’t necessarily believe anything that he has said, when he says that what he has done has had no effect. Because I know it to be true that small businesses around our country in these last days, that he has withdrawn resources from the Postal Service, are suffering. I have been receiving stories from small business owners about how they can’t get their product out on time. That it arrives late, and so their Yelp, or their Amazon rating goes down, because their customer is upset. I’ve heard stories about small businesses who are trying to ship out their product, and it arrives late past when they promised it would arrive. So now they’re out of their product and they have to pay a reimbursement. I’ve heard about seniors who rely on receiving their medication in the mail on time. And, in addition to whatever they’re suffering physically, they are worried to their bone that their medication may not come in time for them to take it properly. These are the things that are happening right now in America, because of the failure to put in place the resources in one of America’s greatest institutions which is the Postal Service.
MUIR: Do you think the president is deliberately trying to slow down the mail-in vote?
HARRIS: You know, here’s the thing about Donald Trump. You can– I’m not gonna spend too much time getting into his brain. I’m just watching what he does and the effect of it. And the effect of what he is doing on this subject is hurting small businesses, seniors, people across our country in rural communities where that is the only method by which they receive mail or packages. This is what’s happening in real time.
BIDEN: And he said he wanted to defund the post office at one point because he does not want people to be able to vote by mail. That’s what he said.
MUIR: The president also said just this week, the only way we’re going to lose this election is if it’s rigged. And you have said if Trump loses, he might not leave the White House, do you really believe that?
BIDEN: Well, look I said two things I said, number one, I predict to you that Trump will say we could delay the election. On your nightly show, you pointed out Biden said that. Legitimately I did, and I said that’s an exaggeration. Three weeks later he said, maybe we should delay the election until he got so laughed out of that position he said well I didn’t really mean that. Then he comes along and says we should defund the post office because vote-by-mail as he’s sitting there, signing his absentee ballot he’s mailing the Florida, is fraudulent. Zero, zero evidence that that’s true, and he’s going to do everything he can. And that he also when asked, “Will you leave the White House if you lose?” He said it will depend, or something to that effect.
MUIR: So what would you do?
BIDEN: The American people will not let that happen. And by the way, everyone from the– anyway, no one’s going to allow that to happen.
MUIR: Mr. Vice President, I want to get your reaction. I want to get your reaction to something the president said just today. He was responding to your speech last night, he said the biggest part of last night’s speech is what Joe Biden didn’t talk about. He said he didn’t talk about law enforcement. He didn’t talk about bringing safety to our cities where we’re seeing violence, they have no clue. Your response?
BIDEN: My response is I did talk about what we have to do. And secondly, look, this is the guy who has a budget calling for cutting a half a billion dollars in local law enforcement from the federal government aid– from the federal government. He’s the one proposing cutting. I’m not proposing cutting the budget. I’m proposing that there be be basic fundamental transparent laws relating to police conduct that be national, but in the meantime we have to help the police departments, they need more help with psychologists, not for them, psychologists, sociologists, people who can get involved in making sure they can negotiate things that don’t require a policeman with a gun to deal with.
MUIR: Senator Harris, I want to bring this to you because we’re on the eve of the Republican National Convention. The president will label himself as the law and order president, but we have seen in this country that tens of thousands of Americans from all backgrounds protesting and demonstrating in the streets demanding that this country root out systemic racism. You joined the protest after George Floyd.
HARRIS: Yes I did.
MUIR: How do you make sure that they are heard, that they see change, while you still support law enforcement in this country? Can you do both?
HARRIS: Absolutely. The movement that we are seeing take place in the streets of America by the hundreds of thousands involving people of every race, age, gender, has been a movement to say, in large part, one, there needs to be accountability and consequence for anyone who breaks the rules or breaks the law, including police officers, but also that we need to reimagine how we are creating safe communities and understand that the way to create safe communities is to invest in those communities, invest in high rates of homeownership, invest in public education in schools, invest in access to capital. Because here’s what the folks marching know — if you look at any upper class suburb in America, you will not see the kind of police presence you see in those other communities, but what you will see: high rates of homeownership families who have jobs, they don’t have to worry about paying bills by the end of the month, access to capital for small businesses, thriving public schools, and that’s what we’re talking about doing. And so, let’s deal with the issues that face America, including the need to invest in the health and well being of communities, as well as requiring accountability for people who break the rules and break the law.
MUIR: I want to get your thoughts on something else. President Trump has referred to you as “nasty,” a sort of “madwoman,” a “disaster,” the “meanest, most horrible, most disrespectful of anybody in the US Senate.” How do you define what you hear from the President?
HARRIS: Listen, I really — I think that there is so much about what comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth that is designed to distract the American people from what he is doing every day. That is about neglect, negligence and harm to the American people.
BIDEN: And incompetence.
HARRIS: Absolutely. Absolutely.
BIDEN: The idea that he would say something like that. No president– no president has ever said anything like that. No president has ever used those words, and no president has said people coming out of fields with torches and spewing anti semitic bile and met by people who oppose them, and someone dies and he says they’re good people on both sides. No president of the United States has ever said anything like that ever.
MUIR: The president said he’s already prepping for the debates. Are you?
BIDEN: So am I. I can hardly wait.
MUIR: Who is playing Trump?
BIDEN: I’m prepping.
MUIR: You can get back to me on that. And Senator Harris, I wanted to ask you because we heard from the vice president just today that he’s looking forward to seeing you on that debate stage more than anyone could imagine.
HARRIS: Oh good. Me too.
MUIR: You’re prepping?
HARRIS: Oh, I’m looking forward to seeing him. Yes, absolutely.
MUIR: And let me just ask you one more question. The two of you were rivals out on the trail and I remember Senator Harris, you were often asked, would you– would you consider being a vice president on a Joe Biden ticket and your answer to that was well, he’d be a great running mate. He’s already — your answer was he’d be a great running mate, he’s already proven he can be vice president. I’m curious. Are you okay with how it turned out?
HARRIS: I absolutely am and I will tell you, Joe Biden is really probably, for me, a model of what makes for a great vice president and the model for me if and when God willing we win this election. What he did in, in– as a partner to Barack Obama, what he did in terms of leading on very significant issues in support of Barack Obama is really inspirational for me as a model of how I intend to do the job.
MUIR: Would you have picked him?
HARRIS: I would have certainly picked him and you know what? It’s actually– we have a commitment to each other so in many ways after he chose me, I chose him too.
MUIR:That’s very true. Just one last question before I let you both go.
MUIR: Mr. Vice President, last night you said I’ll be the Democratic candidate, but I’ll be an American president. This is a very polarized country. How will you bring together people?
BIDEN: The president’s job is to heal, to heal. This country needs healing. I’ll be a president who tells the truth, who takes responsibility and who in fact invites the opposition to come to the Oval Office and settle problems together. Look at this president. In the middle of what we’re trying to figure out in this next piece of aid for local, state and government, he hasn’t even had the Republicans and Democrats sit down in the Oval Office. He is out in a sand trap somewhere, sand trap– golfing. What is this all about? You’re a student of history, name me a president in the middle of a crisis, who’s ever completely walked away?
Presidents– the words of a president matters, no matter who he is. And it’s about time we start to hear from a president that it’s about uniting the country, bringing together– it’s going to be hard, nothing easy about it. But I’ve done that all my life and people say well things are so different now, they are different now, it’s going to take time to heal. But the president has to be willing to engage and I’m willing to engage and I think we can get so much done. Last thing I’ll say, remember after he won we were told before he got sworn in– we were told to be no more legislation law, Mitch McConnell said nothing else. We had been working on a bill The Cures Act for almost $9 billion for NIH and for cancer research. I put together the Democrats and Republicans, we only had a handful of votes in both places, it ended up passing in December after we were no longer– we were going to change office in January, in December, and it passed like 390 some members of house and 94 members of the Senate.
People need, I learned a long time ago. It’s always appropriate to, to question another man and woman’s judgment. I mean, excuse me, their, their philosophy, but it’s never appropriate to question their judgment. Excuse me, their judgment, and not talk about their motive. And when you talk about motive you say well you know you’re in a, you’re in the pocket in the cement manufacturers. By the way can we work something out of the transportation bill? You can’t get anything done. I learned a long time ago, take people seriously, make the case you make. Don’t, you don’t have to bend on principle, if you can’t work out an agreement then you try to win the day you try to defeat them. But there’s so much we still have in common. I refuse to believe we can’t get things done, like infrastructure, he’s been talking about it. The infrastructure plan he had for ‘17 and ‘18 and ‘19, and he’s done nothing. Republicans aren’t there, they’re ready to come I believe, if they have somebody who will reach out and we can deal with things that we all agree on. We can agree on so much, but you got to reach out. You’ve got to be in the deal. Not vindictive and following up and going after people who disagree with you.
MUIR: You’re ready to reach out?
BIDEN: I’m ready to reach out. Now, by the way, I’m not ready to compromise on fundamental principle, and the other way to do it is like we did in 2018. Guess what? They wouldn’t, they didn’t agree, so I went to 23 states, campaigned for 68 candidates, I told you we went 41 votes for the House, we won it back– what did we do? We didn’t go after them personally. We took them on on the issue of healthcare and wanting to do away with Obamacare. Did you hear anybody at the end of that election saying, during the 2018 election, “I want to get rid of Obamacare?” They didn’t. They didn’t. And we won 41 seats. So look, when you disagree. You try to reach a principled compromise, if you can’t, you go into the districts and you to try to win, but by not by attacking people personally, by attacking their political judgment, not their motive.
MUIR: Mr. Vice President. Senator Harris. Thank you. Please be safe.
BIDEN: Thank you.
HARRIS: Thank you.
This transcript has been edited for clarity.