Jun 30, 2020
Joe Biden Speech Transcript on Coronavirus Outbreak June 30 in Delaware
Joe Biden gave a June 30 address on the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. He went after Donald Trump on his coronavirus response, saying “Our wartime president has surrendered.” Read the full transcript of his Wilmington, Delaware speech here.
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Joe Biden: (00:00)
Thanks a lot for being here. I can’t tell whether you’re smiling or not, but thanks for being here. I want to take a few minutes to tell you a little bit about what I think we should be doing right now, and then be happy to take questions. For weeks, we’ve been seeing the warning signs. Numbers don’t lie. Infection rates are now going up in more states than there are going down. More than 125,000 people in the United States have lost their lives, and those numbers and new infections continue to grow at alarming rate. And once again is confronting the simple fact that we won’t be able to solve the economic crisis without a rigorous public health approach. They’re not separable. Despite the administration’s propaganda, that their response should be a cause for celebration, despite President Trump’s requests that we should slow down testing because he thinks it makes him look bad, the COVID-19 is still here, and the daily threat to American health and prosperity is continuing.
Joe Biden: (01:10)
It didn’t have to be this way. Month after month, as other leaders in other countries took the necessary steps to get the virus under control, Donald Trump failed us. Month after month, as many of us urged him to step up and do his job, he failed us. Just look at the record. In January, I, along with others, sounded the alarm of the coronavirus outbreak. Trump told the country that COVID-19 is, quote, “totally under control,” and then everything will, quote, “work out well.” In February, I warned about the failure to get information that we needed from the Chinese government. What I said was the president should demand Xi produce the evidence. Demand it. Trump said, quote, “We’re in great shape.” Reported China’s president said it was, quote, “doing very well.”
Joe Biden: (02:13)
In March, I set forth a detailed plan for 500 federally funded testing sites across the country, as well as guaranteed emergency paid leave. Later that month, I called for a full and immediate use of the Defense Production Act. Critical, critical for delivering supplies that were basically needed. Trump accused healthcare workers. How did he respond? He accused health workers of stealing your masks. That’s what he said. “Healthcare workers are stealing the masks. That’s why we don’t have them.”
Joe Biden: (02:47)
In April, I released a plan to secure the supply chain for personal protective equipment, surge nationwide testing through a pandemic testing board, and launch a nationwide health corp to focus on contact tracing. Trump’s suggestions? Americans should inject disinfectants into their bodies. In May, I condemned the false choice between preserving public health and our economy. I urged the administration to focus on the basic public health measures, like testing, that would enable us to sustain our economic recovery. Trump’s response? He pushed for reopening without regard to safety, and called testing, quote, “frankly, overrated.”
Joe Biden: (03:37)
This month, I outlined a path to reopen our country safely and sustainably. It provided workers, small businesses, schools, state, local governments, the tools, resources, and guidance that they would need. Trump’s proposal, he set a cutoff date for federal funding of testing sites in several states, and actually went to court to take away healthcare for 22 million people by trying to get rid of Obamacare. And now Donald Trump is in retreat. Remember, back in March, when I called, and he called, we talked about the need to act like we were at war with the virus. He called himself a war time president. Remember when he exhorted the nation to sacrifice together, and quote, ” in the face of this inevitable and invisible enemy”? What happened? Now, it’s almost July, and it seems like our war time president has surrendered, waived the white flag, and left the battlefield.
Joe Biden: (04:48)
Today, we’re facing a serious threat and we have to meet it. We have to meet it as one country, but the president gives no direction, and he pits us against one another. We can’t continue like this. Half recovery, and half getting worse. We can’t continue half wearing masks and half rejecting science. We can’t continue half with a plan and half just hoping for the best. We won’t defeat this virus with a piecemeal approach, lifting restrictions prematurely, increasing the volatility of the crisis, raising the likelihood of needing to reimpose restrictions. Until our science catches up to reality, until we have better treatment for those who become infected, and ultimately are safe, proven, widely available vaccines, we have to continue to do all we can, as the people in the government, to keep our fellow Americans safe and healthy.
Joe Biden: (05:58)
Today, I’m releasing a plan with the steps I believe Donald Trump should undertake immediately, to build on the roadmap I released back in March that would have saved lives if it had been adopted. It’s a plan to save lives in the months ahead. Once again, I encourage him to adopt this plan and in its entirety. This is too important for politics.
Joe Biden: (06:26)
First, testing, testing, testing. More testing is not only how you find more cases of coronavirus, Mr. President, it’s how you stop the coronavirus cases. Testing followed by rigorous contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation protocols for those who have been exposed. People aren’t waiting in lines for miles and miles long in baking hot cars for drive through nasal swabs for the fun of it. They’re doing it so they can protect themselves, but even more importantly, they know when they have this mask on, they’re protecting others. They’re protecting others.
Joe Biden: (07:13)
We know we’re not where we need to be in testing. There are still hospitals and nursing homes that don’t have access to the tests they need. Testing is how we see what’s happening in communities all across the country. It’s our eyes on the ground. Without that testing, we’re flying blind. That’s why it’s so important to have reliable access to testing everywhere. We need to increase federal support for testing. That includes doubling the number of drive through testing sites and keep increasing them until there are no more lines. We should create a pandemic testing board to spearhead a nationwide campaign, so every worker, every worker who’s called back to their job can have the confidence that they and their fellow workers are not infected.
Joe Biden: (08:08)
Experts agree that we need more contact tracers to track the path of this virus. Individual states like New York and California are already hiring and training thousands of tracers, but we need to do more, including hiring at least 100,000 federally funded workers to perform contact tracing and other public health tasks, and they should begin to be trained now.
Joe Biden: (08:34)
Second, every single frontline worker should have the personal protective equipment that they need to be safe. Five months into this crisis, and our healthcare workers still are forced to scramble for their own supplies, and have to reuse these masks shift after shift. Hundreds, hundreds of healthcare workers have died from COVID-19, and tens of thousands have become infected. It should be zero on both counts for these healthcare workers if they had the right equipment. You know, how are we this many months into this and still, still don’t have what we need? That’s why we have a Defense Production Act.
Joe Biden: (09:21)
You know, Mr. President, use your authority, Mr. President. Use it this week. Scale up the production of N95 masks. The steps you’ve taken so far haven’t gotten the job done, Mr. President. Fix the shortage of PPE for our healthcare workers before you tee off another round of golf. We can’t just look at where we are today. We’re going to need these masks and gloves and face shields for the foreseeable future, and we need to be ready. We know more is coming.
Joe Biden: (09:55)
Thirdly, we should be laser focused on treatments and vaccines. We should be leading a coordinated global approach on the science, not disregarding experts while pushing dangerous and disproved drugs as if they’re treatments. There’s been some progress toward treatment and vaccines, but the administration hasn’t been transparent about how they plan to manufacture enough doses to make sure there’s equitable distribution to scale. I hope they’re doing it now. I called for a while ago, they should be providing $250 million to have a plan now, exactly how they’re going to distribute this, so every American has access when and if the vaccine’s available. They may be doing it, but we have no transparency. Let us see, Mr. President. The White House should report weekly on this progress. We can’t end up in the same scratching and distribution problems that we had in testing.
Joe Biden: (10:59)
We need to make sure the customers aren’t being gouged by new drug and therapies in prices when they’re developed. We have to immediately restore our relationship with the World Health Organization, for all its shortcomings and missteps around COVID-19. This is why WHO was created. It is essential to coordinating the global response during a pandemic, and the United States should be leading that response as we had in the past. COVID- 19 will likely worsen at the outset of flu season this year, so we need put in place measures now, now, to ensure the seasonal flu vaccine can be ready, available, and administered safely to those who need it under social distancing guidelines, especially for seniors.
Joe Biden: (11:50)
Fourthly, we need real plans, real guidelines, with uniform nationwide standards, to help us chart our economic reopening. Whatever we’ve been doing now is not working. The state by state approach will only produce confusion and slow any progress. You all reported to CDC, tried to clear guidelines about what stages of reopening should look like. The administration delayed and scaled back those plans. We need clear evidence, clear evidence-based steps that states can adopt now. Both the standard must be met in order to safely proceed with further openings, and the reposition of social distancing rules when cases begin to rise.
Joe Biden: (12:47)
This is not rocket science. We need to support schools and childcare programs so parents, if and when they can return to work, are confident that their children will be safe and cared for. We should be holding them for-
Joe Biden: (13:03)
We should be holding and providing a sticker saying, safe for shoppers, a certification to stores that prove they’re minimizing their customer’s risk and exposure. We absolutely needed a clear messages from the very top of our federal government that everyone needs to wear a mask in public, period. Period. Wear a mask. It’s not just about you. It’s about your family. It’s about your neighbors. It’s about your colleagues. It’s about keeping other people safe. It helps you, yes, but it’s about keeping other people safe. It’s a simple measure. It is also one of the most effective ways we can do the right thing. It may be inconvenient. It may be uncomfortable. But it’s the right thing to do as an American. Protect your coworkers and neighbors.
Joe Biden: (14:06)
And finally, we need to protect the populations most at risk, our seniors, our black and brown populations, native communities that are being hit the hardest, vulnerable populations with preexisting conditions. Know that this continued growth in case numbers is causing a lot of fear and anxiety. People, especially older Americans and those with loved ones in nursing homes, I get calls all the time. They’re simply scared. They’re frightened. This isn’t just taking a toll on the physical health. It’s an emotional cost as well. We can’t expect vulnerable populations to quarantine indefinitely without support. I want them to know that their health and safety will be my responsibility, if I’m your president. And I will not abandon you.
Joe Biden: (15:09)
These are five fairly straightforward steps that are going to help defeat this pandemic. And, if you suspect that a lot of these steps are the same sorts of things I was talking about in March when I released my first COVID-19 response, you’d be right. If it feels like you’re hearing the experts talk about the same issues for months, you’d be right. These have always been the steps that government needed to put in place to meet the threat.
Joe Biden: (15:46)
Statewide lockdowns that so many Americans lived under for months were intended to buy us time to get our act together. Instead of using that time to prepare ourselves, Donald Trump squandered it. Now, here we are, more than three months later. We’re hardly better prepared than we were in March. Infections are on the rise. The threat of massive spikes that overwhelm the capacity of our healthcare system is on the horizon. Americans, anxious and out of work, are fearful for their lives and their livelihoods. Donald Trump is doing next to nothing about it. Mr. President, the crisis is real. The crisis is real and it’s surging, Mr. President. Your promises, and predictions, and wishful thinking pulled out of thin air are not only doing the country no good, you’re making them lose even more faith in their government.
Joe Biden: (16:57)
America knows this crisis isn’t behind us, even if you don’t. They see what’s happening, even if you refuse to, Mr. President. They know we need a coordinated national plan, we need it now, even though you don’t, Mr. President, and won’t do it. You called yourself a cheerleader. We don’t need a cheerleader, Mr. President. We need a president, Mr. President. A president who will level with the American people, a president who will tell us the unvarnished truth, a president who will take responsibility instead of always blaming others, a president who will listen to the experts, follow the science, allow them to speak, a president who will lead and be an example for the nation. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Limit the size of crowds. Mr. President, this is not about you. It’s about the health and wellbeing of the American public.
Joe Biden: (18:06)
American people don’t make enormous sacrifices over the past four months so they could just waste their time and you could waste all the efforts they have undertaken with your midnight rantings and tweets. They don’t make these sacrifices so you could ignore the science and turn responsible steps, like wearing masks, into a political statement. And they certainly didn’t do it, Mr. President, so you could wash your hands and walk away from this responsibility. Maybe there are times this nation needs a cheerleader. Now is not one of them. America needs a president. Whatever Trump does or does not do, we can’t know today what the state of the COVID-19 pandemic will be next January. But I’m almost certain, I hope I turn out to be wrong, I’m almost certain it won’t be over.
Joe Biden: (19:10)
If I should have the honor of being elected president, on the day I’m sworn in, I’ll get right to work implementing all aspects of the response that remain undone. I’ll have more to say about my day one COVID-19 agenda in the weeks to come. But my response will begin well before I take the oath of office. It will start as soon as the election is decided. I’ll be a president who respects scientists, who won’t censor their ability to speak directly to the American people. I will immediately reach out to Dr. Anthony Fauci to ask him to continue his incredible service to the country. And I’ll have, from day one, ready to go the best medical experts and scientists to advise on our response. Maybe most importantly, I will listen to them and let them speak freely. And I’ll work with the governors and mayors of both parties from every state, territory, and tribe.
Joe Biden: (20:17)
It’s a simple proposition folks. We’re all in this together. We got to fight this together. We’ll emerge from this stronger because we did it together. And I’m confident we can. May God bless you all and may God protect our troops. And I’m happy to take questions, if you have them.
Joe Biden: (20:40)
They gave me a list of how to recognize. Is Alex, AP out there? Couldn’t tell when the mask, Alex?
[inaudible 00:20:48]. We’ll work with that. All right. So, we reported yesterday that President Trump was briefed as early as March of 2019 that Russia had ordered or offered bounties to the Taliban for the killing of U.S. soldiers. You called his inaction on this issue a betrayal. So broadly, what consequences do you think the president should face for that betrayal? And specifically, what do you think Congress should do?
Joe Biden: (21:17)
Well, look, first of all, Congress and the intelligence committees on the Congress, both parties should demand the facts. This seems to be a moving story. As I was leaving, I had the television on as I put on my shirt. And I understand there’s even some more information that’s come out today about what was known.
Joe Biden: (21:41)
One of two things, this president talks about cognitive capability. He doesn’t seem to be cognitively aware of what’s going on. He either reads and/or gets briefed on important issues and he forgets it, or he doesn’t think it’s necessary that he need to know it. But the fact is that, at a minimum, at a minimum, the discrepancy allegedly within the intelligence community as reported, some thought it was more certain and others thought it was less certain. That should be resolved. The president should have, on day one, said, I want you to come before me in the situation room and lay out the differences and discretions. Who is saying what? Let’s get to the bottom of it, number one.
Joe Biden: (22:38)
Number two, it’s clear to me that, and I don’t know whether he did, he should have immediately contacted our joint chiefs of staff, gotten them all in one room and sat and said, okay. What are we doing to prevent this? What are we doing to prepare to deal with this, if this is happening? How are we doing this? What are we doing?
Joe Biden: (23:02)
Thirdly, he should, at a minimum, have picked up the phone and said, Vladimir, old buddy, if any of this is true and it doesn’t cease immediately, you’ve got a big problem, a big problem. And make it clear. Get to the bottom of this. It appears as though, from what I have… and I don’t have access to classified information anymore. But, if what I have heard over the last week and the recent reporting that it was in the PDB, the presidential daily brief. The presidential daily brief is something I read every single day as vice president. The president read it every day. I was briefed every morning before I got to the White House, and then again. So, the idea that somehow he didn’t know or isn’t being briefed, it is a dereliction of duty, if that’s the case. And, if he was briefed and nothing was done about this, that’s a dereliction of duty.
Joe Biden: (24:01)
I guess the best way for me to end this is, I was talking to Jill, my wife, Jill. And I don’t see her get outraged very often. But she started asking. She said, Joe, what would you have done if Beau was still in harm’s way? And this information came out? And the president, Beau is my son who was… I’m sorry, I apologize, who served in Iraq for a year, was in the army. But, if he’d been in Afghanistan, what would you do, Joe? What are those parents thinking out there? What are those sons and daughters, husbands and wives? It’s an absolute dereliction of duty if any of this is even remotely true. So, I think the president has a lot to answer for and we should get the answers quickly, quickly.
What consequences should he face if these allegations are true or these reports are true?
Joe Biden: (24:58)
If these allegations are true and he did nothing about any of this, then in fact, I think the public should, unrelated to my running, conclude that this man isn’t fit to be president of the United States of America.
Do you think he… do you-
Joe Biden: (25:14)
I was told, NBC, Mike. Mike’s great relief, he doesn’t have to follow me every day around the country.
Well, the last time, Mr. Vice President, a lot of us saw you on the campaign trail, you were still locked in a very difficult nomination battle. The polls though today show you with a sizeable national lead, a lead in a lot of the states that are critical in the electoral college. I wonder, where do you think the race stands at this moment? What keeps you up at night as you look ahead? And can you maintain this advantage without campaigning in a traditional way, especially this fall when voters begin to really tune in?
Joe Biden: (25:51)
Well, this is the most unusual campaign, I think, in modern history. But I start off with the premise, Mike, that I’m going to follow the doc’s orders.
Joe Biden: (26:03)
Off of the premise, Mike, that I’m going to follow the doc’s orders, not just for me, but for the country, and that means that I am not going to be holding rallies. I am not going to be … For example, you all are here, but I think the school has put those circles around, so we keep the social distancing. Everybody has masks on. As soon as I finish this, I’ll put my mask back on. And so it’s all been, almost all been virtual, although I have gone to Houston, I have gone into Pennsylvania, I have gone to Virginia. I have traveled, but when I do, I get in, make my case, and leave, take questions, and leave. But you know me. I’d much rather be out there with people because that’s where I get the greatest feel. I can get a sense of what, by the look in their eyes, by the plaintive voices that they have, and what they’re concerned about.
Joe Biden: (26:58)
But notwithstanding that, I have been surprised. The irony is we probably reach more people directly on one-on-one. You all, particularly those of you who are with television stations, you all know that when you’re on, you’re having a one-to-one conversation with someone out there because there’s one person at the TV looking at you. I never quite thought of it that way before. But they tell me 200 million people have watched what I have done from home, in the half a dozen things we’ve gone out and done.
Joe Biden: (27:34)
And so the irony is, I think we’re probably communicating directly in detail with more people than we would have otherwise. But I’d much rather be doing it in person. So far, it remains to be seen, I don’t want to jinx myself. I know the polling data is very good, but I think it’s really early. It’s much too early to make any judgment. I think we’ve got a whole lot more work to do. I’ve planned on laying out in detail my economic plan as to how we recover from this, plan on dealing with foreign … Working out in detail, what I’m going to do if I am elected president so the people know what’s coming. I don’t know that that answers your question, Mike, but-
Speaker 1: (28:15)
Quick follow-up to Alex’s question first. Have you requested a classified briefing, as you would be entitled to as the nominee? Has the administration offered you a classified briefing? And then-
Joe Biden: (28:24)
They have not offered a classified briefing. And as this proceeds, I may very well do that. I’ve been talking to … I have a significant foreign policy staff, as you know, that, matter of fact, dozens of them. So I had a long meeting with my former national security advisors, former secretaries of state, et cetera, and got in their read, what they’ve heard so far. But if it doesn’t get cleared up quickly, then I will seek and ask if I can be briefed.
Speaker 1: (29:00)
Lastly, have you begun to prepare for debates against President Trump?
Joe Biden: (29:03)
I can hardly wait. [inaudible 00:29:08]
Thank you. Over the weekend, Princeton decided to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from their school and buildings due to his racist thinking. President Trump yesterday called that decision “incredible stupidity.” What do you think about Princeton’s decision and the president’s comments? And then more broadly, as the nation is in this moment of reckoning when it comes to race, we’re seeing the removal of statues, also the removal of names from institutions and schools, do you think that this is the right approach to come to terms with our nation’s history and its leaders? What do you think when you see the removal of some of these statues?
Joe Biden: (29:49)
Well, I think there are sort of three categories on that. One, any institution that chose a name and wants to now jettison that name, that’s a decision for them to make, for whatever reason they make it. So I’m assuming the board of trustees at Princeton University made the judgment about the Woodrow Wilson School. I don’t know. But it was made within the context of an institution that chose that name and now no longer wants to be associated with that name.
Joe Biden: (30:18)
And I think the president is …. Well, secondly, I think there’s a distinction between, as the former mayor of New Orleans said, “The difference between reminders and remembrances of history and recovering from history.” And so the idea of comparing whether or not George Washington owned slaves or Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and somebody who was in rebellion committing treason, running, trying to take down the union to keep slavery, I think there’s a distinction there. And so I think the idea of bringing down, I think all those Confederate monuments to Confederate soldiers and generals, et cetera, who strongly supported secession and the maintenance of slavery and going to war to do it, I think those statues belong in museums. They don’t belong in public places.
Joe Biden: (31:22)
And I think with regard to those statues that are in monuments like the Jefferson Memorial or whatever, I think there’s an obligation that the government protect those monuments because they’re different than that’s a remembrance. It is not a dealing with, revering somebody who had that view. They had much broader views. They may have things in their past that are now and then distasteful, but that’s a judgment for the … For example, taking down, toppling Christopher Columbus statue, George Washington’s statue, or et cetera, I think that is something that is, the government has an opportunity and a responsibility to protect from happening.
And on a different subject, you have been doing these public events for the past month, which has put you in contact with more people. Have you been tested for coronavirus, and if so, how frequently are you doing that?
Joe Biden: (32:20)
No, I have not been protected. I have not been tested for the coronavirus for two reasons. One, I have had no symptoms. As my mother would say, knock on wood. And number two, I haven’t wanted to take anybody else’s place in the process. But the Secret Service, they all get tested. They’re around my home. And anyone who comes into my home, including staff, is tested, just to determine whether they have the virus. I expect what I’m going to do so it doesn’t look like I’m moving in the front of the line here is be tested relatively soon. My daughter has been tested. She was in Florida. She’s a social worker working with the Boys and Girls Club. She came home, and before she could come home, she’s been tested twice, so to make sure she’s clear and quarantined … She lives in Philadelphia. But I haven’t yet. I have not been tested yet.
Joe Biden: (33:24)
Yes. I’m sorry. Who was I supposed to go to next? Anybody? I got to make sure I get the Wilmington newspaper here before I leave or I’ll be dead.
Speaker 2: (33:36)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President. It’s good to see you, and I know we all hope that you continue to do this through November as often as possible.
Joe Biden: (33:44)
We will. The more I have an opportunity, I will do it.
Speaker 2: (33:47)
Two quick questions. One to follow up on Russia. You talked about what our president has done, but yesterday you said at a fundraiser regarding Vladimir Putin, quote, I’ll confront Putin. I’ll strengthen NATO. I’ll make clear to Putin that he’ll have a price to pay for interference in our democratic processes. Specifically, can you tell us what you would do to Putin? If this is true, and in general, for what’s happened in the past.
Joe Biden: (34:16)
I can, but I will not … But I will tell him. Here’s the deal. The idea that Putin or any other foreign leader can engage in attempting to manipulate the presidential election, the idea that he continues his activities in Central and Eastern Europe, that he’s doing, the idea that it can be done without any consequences is not going to happen if I’m president in my administration. That ranges from everything to making sure we go to the United Nations Security Council, all the way to imposing sanctions that would be commensurate with the action that he has taken that is inappropriate. But I have had some very blunt, straightforward conversations with President Putin when I was vice president and before that, and I think one of the reasons why it appears as though he doesn’t want me to be president, he knows we’ll have more blunt conversations.
Speaker 2: (35:14)
And another issue that’s been in the news last week, this week, probably next week, the Supreme Court. President says he’s going to issue an updated list of potential nominees to the court. You have said you would put a black woman on the court, should a spot open up. But there are groups calling for you to release a list of specific names you’d put on the court. Are you going to do that? Would you do that?
Joe Biden: (35:35)
One thing I hesitate to do is follow anything the president does at all, because he usually does it all wrong. We are putting together a list of a group of African American women who are qualified and have the experience to be in the court. I am not going to release that until we go further down the line of vetting them as well. And just like logical questions about vice president, I’m not releasing the names of all the vice presidential potential nominees. There are a number of women of color. There are Latina women. There are Asian. There are across the board, and we’re just underway now in the hard vet of going into the deep background checks that take anywhere from six to eight weeks to be done. The committees have been formed, and that’s underway.
Speaker 2: (36:27)
And August 1 is still the target announcement date?
Joe Biden: (36:29)
Well, early August. I can’t guarantee you August 1, but it will be in early August before, several weeks before the convention, I believe. Yes.
Speaker 3: (36:45)
Thank you, Mr. Vice president. This is a two-parter, just to follow up again on Russia. Do you believe that if those reports are true that Trump is guilty of violating his oath of office? And on your VP choice, you’ve said that you want your running mate to be ready on day one to do the job. Do you think that someone who does not have national security or foreign policy experience can be ready on day one?
Joe Biden: (37:14)
Yes. And that depends. Look, one of the things you try to do, I’ve talked at length over the years with President Obama about this. You try to find people who have a background and an expertise that you may not have. And so one of the reasons President Obama picked me is because I had considerable experience in getting things done in the Congress. And secondly, I had considerable experience in foreign policy and national security. And although he had clear views of what in fact he wanted to do and what his standard what his strategy was in terms of America’s role in the world, he was looking for someone that had day-to-day experience and knew a lot of those world leaders. And so I think that, although that’s a helpful thing to have, it’s not necessary because I start off with the two places I still have some expertise are in both those places, in uniting the country and the Congress and foreign policy.
Joe Biden: (38:18)
And so it is almost all of the women I’m considering have had some exposure to foreign policy and national defense issues and security issues. But that is not a minimum requirement. Requirement is that they have the intellectual capacity, as well as the temperament, as well as the leadership qualities that lend to everyone to believe that they would be ready on day one to be President of the United States of America. With regard to whether or not the president … It depends on exactly what he did and what he knew, but at a minimum, at a minimum, he either does-
Joe Biden: (39:03)
And what he knew, but at a minimum, at a minimum, either doesn’t understand his job and is having difficulty sitting down and being able to read a report because a lot of those reports come across that he says, “I didn’t read it,” or. “I didn’t see it,” or, “I didn’t know it.” I don’t know how he could not read and not see and not know so many different things that have come up over the last three years. But it is clearly a dereliction of duty and it is clearly something that I think everyone, including my Republican friends and my Republican opponents in the House and Senate are worried about as well. Thank you.
Speaker 4: (39:45)
All right. Last question.
Joe Biden: (39:47)
All right. Where’s the Delaware State News? I mean Delaware News Channel I should say. That’s my hometown team. I better call on them.
Speaker 5: (39:58)
How are you Mr. Vice President?
Joe Biden: (39:59)
How are you?
Speaker 5: (40:01)
So like other States, Delaware, your home state, is seeing an increase in coronavirus cases. Do you have a message for Delaware officials, state, and local governments for how they’ve handled the pandemics so far, how they need to handle it going forward?
Joe Biden: (40:14)
Well, I think they’ve handled it pretty well so far, but now I think you’re seeing the governor make some adjustments because there has been an uptick, not tremendous, but there’s been an uptick. It was one of the states that was, I get briefed up every day by a group of leading docs around the world, around the country, Vic Murphy and Dr. Ben. Anyway. And so every day I get a printout, I have it in the book here, of the states that are doing better and doing worse. Up to now, there has been a decline and now it’s opening up slightly. I have not spoken to the governor today, but my guess is, I’d only guess, is that he’s going to be looking very closely what happens on the Delaware beaches now, how that has occurred and restaurants and bars. I don’t know enough to know that though.
Joe Biden: (41:08)
The good news is that it’s flattened out. The bad news is there’s a slight uptick and I have not gone into the detail of the governor. I speak to him not infrequently, but a couple of times a month, three, four times a month. And so I don’t have any advice for him yet because I don’t know where it’s popping up.
Speaker 5: (41:32)
Joe Biden: (41:32)
Speaker 4: (41:32)
Joe Biden: (41:42)
I’m going to get in trouble. Fire away. I know. Tell them I’ll be late. Just a little bit. Okay? All right?
Speaker 6: (41:47)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
Joe Biden: (41:48)
I always get in trouble on the last question, but go ahead.
Speaker 6: (41:51)
We appreciate it. The response to this pandemic has become very politicized. Even wearing a mask has become political. If elected, how are you going to get Americans on the same page? And can your plan be successful if they aren’t?
Joe Biden: (42:07)
Well, I think the way to get on the same page is to… I’m going to try to say this politely, is to lower the rhetoric based on division. Stop appealing to the less healthy side of society. Instead of, for example, when a golf cart goes by yelling, “White supremacy,” and the president tweets it out, don’t do things like that. Bring the country together. We’re giving a portion of the population who has responded to the sort of race baiting the president has engaged in a sort of free pass and it generates divisions.
Joe Biden: (43:13)
And we’re also talking about it in terms of the president talks about manhood and being strong and you don’t need the mask. I think we have to start appealing to the better side of human nature by pointing out that that mask is not so much to protect me. It’s if I have it, it’s to protect you against me. It’s to protect other people. And it’s called patriotism. It’s called responsibility. It’s called making sure you look out for the other person. And we have spent too much time, if you notice, the president puts everything in terms of him. And I’m not being facetious, everything is him. It’s I don’t think, or I don’t take responsibility or I didn’t do that, or I believe that. I mean, it’s not about I. It’s about us.
Joe Biden: (44:10)
And I think changing the tone of an administration across the board, allowing scientists to speak, making sure that people understand the facts, good, bad, and indifferent. And when a mistake is made to say, “I made a mistake, I was wrong. Shouldn’t have done it that way. We should do it this way.” I think all those things change the atmosphere.
Joe Biden: (44:34)
Let me conclude it by saying this, and I apologize, you’ve heard me say this before. The words of a president matter. No matter who the president is, no matter how responsible or irresponsible the president is. A president, whomever he or she is, can take us to war or bring peace, can have markets rise or fall, appeal to the senior side of humanity or to our better angels. It matters. It really matters. And so I think it’s about the tone. And I think it goes across the board.
Joe Biden: (45:10)
I’ll conclude with this. I know that I was criticized, legitimately criticized, during the primaries, by saying that I plan on uniting the country, bringing Democrats and Republicans together. We have to do that. If we can’t do that, we can’t function. We have to bring the country together. And I think on this piece, if in fact we stand up, and by the way, don’t hold me to the numbers, please, you can correct me on this, but I think something like 70 or 74 or 75% of the American people think you should wear a mask. The overwhelming number of people think you should take these precautions and so on, think we should open more slowly. Well, I think that we should be talking to our better angels and actually making people indirectly feel guilty for not doing the right thing, appeal to their better nature.
Joe Biden: (46:10)
I know that sounds almost idealistic, but it’s not. Remind people. You don’t wear this mask, you end up hurting someone or you get infected, you take it home to your child. You can take it home to your mother and your father and your husband, your wife. You have a moral obligation because it really is. It really is. Thank you.
Joe Biden: (46:35)
Guys, I really do have to go. I apologize. I’m going to get in real trouble. I’m probably already in trouble, but thank you. Go ahead. What’s the last? I’m sorry.
Speaker 3: (46:48)
Good to see you out and about Mr. Vice President. I’m a little confused about the delineation, about the destruction of monuments. You talk about the fathers of this country, Washington, Jefferson, is worthy of preservation. Are Confederate monuments worthy of preservation? Should they be torn down in the manner that they are being torn down without the vote of local elected officials?
Joe Biden: (47:08)
Well, I think it’s very different. I think it’s better if they’re taken down like they took the Confederate flag off the Mississippi flag. That’s the better way of doing it, but I can understand. I can understand the anger and anguish that people feel by having for years and years been under the statue of Robert E. Lee, if you’re an African American.
Joe Biden: (47:32)
So it’s a difference. It’s always better to do it peacefully, but there’s a distinction between. I shift responsibility and I think the elected officials where those statues are have a responsibility to move. Put them in museums, get them down. But don’t expect if you have sitting in front of you after all these years and we finally, finally are going through another phase of maybe responding to the systemic racism in America, and what we’ve seen happen, is don’t be surprised if someone pulls down the statue of Jefferson Davis. It’s better that they do not, but is fundamentally different than pulling down the statue or going to the Lincoln Memorial and trying to pull a… Not Lincoln Memorial. That’s a bad example. The Jefferson Memorial and grabbing Jefferson off his chair.
Speaker 3: (48:33)
Two quickies. Will you commit to three debates?
Joe Biden: (48:37)
Speaker 3: (48:38)
Joe Biden: (48:38)
Three. Yeah. I commit to it. Look, I am committed to following the debate, the National Debate Group that sets up these debates, who they pick as the moderators, three of them. It’s been this way for a long time. The first one is a one-on-one debate with a moderator. The next one is led by a town meeting set and a third one is a normal debate again. I commit to those, I’m looking forward to them.
Speaker 3: (49:06)
Last question real quick. Some have speculated-
Joe Biden: (49:08)
You’re a lying dog-
Speaker 3: (49:09)
That you are subject to some degree of cognitive decline. I’m 65. I don’t have word recollection that I used to have. I forget my train of thought from time to time. You’ve got 12 years on me, sir. Have you been tested for some degree of cognitive decline?
Joe Biden: (49:25)
I’ve been testing. I’m constantly testing. Look, all you got to do is watch me and I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I’m running against. Thank you so much.
Speaker 4: (49:40)
Thank you, guys.