Biden's comments come a day after three of his presidential predecessors
-- Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama -- said they would publicly get the coronavirus vaccine as a way to demonstrate its safety and efficacy.
"I think that my three predecessors have set the model as to what should be done, saying, once it's declared to be safe ... then obviously we take it and it's important to communicate to the American people," Biden said.
The former vice president also backed the compromise coronavirus relief package
that is being considered on Capitol Hill, calling it a "good start" but also saying it is "not enough." The $908 billion bipartisan plan is a compromise between what Democrats and Republicans wanted.
"I think it should be passed, and I think that, in fact, we're going to need more," Biden said. "I'm going to have to ask for more help."
The transition from Trump to Biden has been a complicated affair, largely defined by the President's denial of the election results, something that most Republicans on Capitol Hill have indulged despite Trump's team failing to provide any credible evidence to back up the claim.
Biden, a Democrat who has long enjoyed strong relationships with Republicans in the Senate after serving for decades in the legislative body, said that despite their public silence, "several sitting Republican senators" have privately called to congratulate him.
He gave those senators some leeway for their silence.
"I understand the situation they find themselves in. And until the election is clearly decided in the minds when the Electoral College votes, they get put in a very tough position," Biden said, adding that he thinks once the Electoral College officially decides the election, a "significant portion of the (Republican) leadership" will acknowledge the obvious.
Biden laughed at a question about whether it is important for Trump to attend his presidential inauguration in January. Biden said whether to attend was Trump's decision and had "no personal consequence to me," but added that it did matter symbolically.
It's "important in the sense that we are able to demonstrate the end of this chaos that he's created, that there is peaceful transfer of power with the competing parties standing there, shaking hands and moving on," Biden said. "What I worry about, Jake, more than the impact on the domestic politics, I really worry about the image we're presenting to the rest of the world."
On foreign policy, Biden said it was "hard to tell how much" the recent assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh
would complicate his dealings with Tehran. A senior US administration official said this week that Israel was behind the assassination of the scientist, someone who had been an Israeli target for considerable time.
"The bottom line is that we can't allow Iran to get nuclear weapons," Biden said before slamming Trump's dealings with Iran, including his 2018 decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. "He has pulled out to get something tougher, and what have they done? They've increased the ability for them to have nuclear material. They're moving closer to the ability to be able to have enough material for a nuclear weapon. And there's the missile issues."
Biden added: "All those things, I think, are going to be very difficult. But I know one thing: We cannot do this alone. And that's why we have to be part of a larger group, dealing not only with Iran, but with Russia, with China and a whole range of other issues."
Concern over potential pardons
On his way out of office, Trump is expected to issue a number of pardons, with CNN reporting that he is considering preemptive pardons
for his adult children and lawyer Rudy Giuliani, in addition to a possible preemptive pardon for himself.
Biden said the possible pardons concern him because of the "kind of precedent it sets and how the rest of the world looks (at) us as a nation of laws and justice," adding that his Justice Department will "operate independently on those issues" and how to respond to any Trump pardons.
"I'm not going to be telling them what they have to do and don't have to do," Biden said. "I'm not going to be saying, 'Go prosecute A, B or C.' I'm not going to be telling them. That's not the role. It's not my Justice Department, it's the people's Justice Department. So the persons or person I pick to run that department are going to be people who are going to have the independent capacity to decide who gets prosecuted, who doesn't."
Biden concluded that his administration would not approach pardons in the same way as Trump, adding, "It's going to be a totally different way in which we approach the justice system."
Biden has yet to select an attorney general and is considering a range of names, including former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates; Doug Jones, the soon-to-be former senator from Alabama who was defeated in November; and Jeh Johnson, the Homeland Security secretary under Obama.
Harris echoed the sentiment of Biden's remarks on the Department of Justice.
"We will not tell the Justice Department how to do its job," Harris said. "And we are going to assume, and I say this as a former attorney general elected in California ... that any decision coming out of the Justice Department ... should be based on facts, it should be based on the law, it should not be influenced by politics, period."
Biden interjected: "And I guarantee you, that's how it will be run."
Biden says he will keep diverse Cabinet commitment
A diverse range of advocacy groups and Democratic organizations have been pushing the Biden transition team for weeks to keep its commitment to nominate a diverse slate of Cabinet secretaries, especially for the remaining top jobs of secretary of defense and attorney general. The effort has been led by the NAACP, a group Biden and Harris said they would meet with next week, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Biden said Thursday
that he would honor the commitment.
"I'm going to keep my commitment that the administration, both in the White House and outside in the Cabinet, is going to look like the country," Biden said.
When pressed on both the racial and ideological diversity, Harris said, "We're not done yet. ... We're not even halfway there."
Biden said he understands that groups like the NAACP and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus want to "push me" on the diversity commitment, adding that his job is "to keep my commitment."
There were a host of lighter moments in the interview, too.
Biden laughed off the hairline fracture in his foot that has landed him in a walking boot, recalling how it happened when he was playing with his dog Major.
"The little pup dropped the ball in front of me for me to grab the ball ... and I grabbed the ball like this, and he ran, and I was joking running after him to grab his tail. And what happened was that he slid on a throw rug, and I tripped on the rug he slid on. That's what happened," Biden said with a smile. "Not a very exciting story."
Harris, for her part, joked about how some of her husband's friends have taken to calling him "the second dude," even as Doug Emhoff is expected to be referred to as the "second gentleman."
"You'll call him the second gentleman," Tapper asked.
"No," Harris responded: "I'll call him honey."
Article by Dan Merica via CNN
Read the full article here: https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/03/politics/biden-harris-interview-jake-tapper/index.html
*Western Medical did not write nor contribute to this article. All rights are attributed to CNN and Dan Merica only.