President-elect Joe Biden said he hoped, for the sake of the nation, President Donald Trump would attend his inauguration, shake his hand, and let the country move on.
He also clarified the role his family will play in his White House and said his son Hunter will not pursue any business opportunities that would be a conflict of interest while he is president.
The president-elect sat down for his first joint interview with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and spent the hour conversation with CNN talking about the coronavirus pandemic, the role Harris will play in his administration and the current occupant of the White House.
Biden said he hopes President Trump is standing on the inauguration platform on January 20th so they can demonstrate to the world a peaceful transfer of power.
‘I think it would be important only in one sense – not in a personal sense important – in the sense that we are able to demonstrate at 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 told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
‘I really worry about the image we’re presenting to the rest of the world,’ he said.
He added that it didn’t matter to him personally if Trump came to the January 20th inauguration ceremony but said it was important for the nation.
‘I think is important but it is totally his decision, and it’s no personal consequence to me. But I do think it is in the country,’ he said.
Trump still hasn’t conceded the election to Biden even as the Democrat has won the electoral college and the popular vote. Trump has claimed a ‘rigged’ election but shown no evidence of massive voter fraud and his many legal challenges to overturn the results have failed.
As for attending the inauguration ceremony, Trump said on Thanksgiving he knew the answer to that question but didn’t want to share it yet.
‘I don’t want to say that yet. I mean I know the answer, I’ll be honest, I know the answer, but I just don’t want to say it yet,’ he told reporters at the White House.
As Trump continues to protest the election results, some Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill haven’t publicly acknowledged Biden’s victory.
Biden said he understands their position but added he’s talked to several of his former Senate colleagues privately.
‘There have been more than several sitting Republican senators who privately call me and congratulate me,’ he said. ‘And I understand the situation they find themselves in.’
Joe Biden said he hopes President Donald Trump will attend his inauguration, shake his hand and let the country move on
President Trump had refused to concede the election and won’t say whether he’ll attend the inauguration
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris conducted their first joint interview on Thursday; they described their working relationship as a partnership
President-elect Biden said neither his son Hunter nor any of his family would take on any business enterprises that would be a conflict of interest while he sat in the Oval Office – above the Biden family – Ashley, Joe, Jill and Hunter – on the night Biden was declared winner of the election
Biden also was asked about his son Hunter, who was accused of benefiting from business with Ukrainian and Chinese officials when Biden was vice president.
He said neither his son nor any family members would not be involved in any conflicts of interest while he sat in the Oval Office.
‘My son, my family will not be involved in any business, any enterprise, that is in conflict with or appears to be a conflict whether the appropriate distance from the presidency and government,’ he said.
Biden’s son-in-law, Dr. Howard Krein, works at an investment firm overseeing health care solutions to COVID-19.
Biden also said he’d be meeting with NAACP on Tuesday and said he’d fulfill his campaign promise to have a diverse Cabinet that reflects America.
‘I promise you, you’ll see the most diverse cabinet representatives of all folks, Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos LGBTQ across the board,’ he said.
HARRIS ROLE AS VICE PRESIDENT
Biden said he would treat Harris the same way Barack Obama treated him when he was vice president.
‘I wanted to do the deal the president and I made,’ he said. ‘And that is that there’s so many things are going to land on this President’s desk.’
He said he’d ask her to take on specific problems as needed.
‘Whatever the most urgent need is that I’m not able to attend to,’ he said, that would go to Harris.
Vice President elect Kamala Harris said she and President-elect would be ‘full partners’ in the White House
Kamala Harris also said her husband Doug Emhoff will be known as ‘second gentleman’ but she’d call him ‘honey’
Harris described their working relationship as ‘full partners.’
‘We are full partners in this process, and I will tell you that the President Elect has been since the first day he asked me to join him on the ticket been very clear with me, and that he wants me to be the first and the last in the room,’ Harris said. ‘I will be a full partner to the president elect and the president, and whatever our priorities are, I will be there to support him.’
Biden described them as ‘simpatico.’
‘We are simpatico on our philosophy of government and simpatico on how we want to attach — approach these issues that we’re facing. And so I don’t have — and when we disagree, it will be just like — so far, it has been just like when Barack and I did. It’s in private,’ he said.
‘And like I told Barack, if I reach something where there’s a fundamental disagreement we have based on a moral principle, I will develop some disease and say I have to resign,’ he added.
Harris also said her husband Doug Emhoff will be known as ‘second gentleman’ but she’d call him ‘honey.’
‘Well, I think that the term has evolved into the second gentleman,’ Harris said when asked what Emhoff would be called. Her husband joked his title would be ‘second dude.’
But, she added: ‘I’ll call him honey.’
WHERE’S THE MEDICAL BOOT?
Biden was not wearing his medical boot on Thursday, less than a week after fracturing his right foot.
The president-elect was wearing a slip-on suede shoe on his injured foot and a black dress shoe on his healthy foot. The slip-on was a Men’s Nohea Mesh Slip-O by Olukai and retails for $90.
He told CNN the boot would be back.
‘I wear the big boot most of the time but when it comes down here it’s just kind of clumsy so they gave me this little thing to work,’ he said referring to his slip-on shoe.
Biden suffered small fractures in his right foot this weekend playing with his German Shepard Major. His doctor said he’d have to wear a medical boot for ‘several weeks.’
He told CNN’s Jake Tapper he got the injury while chasing his dog.
‘I’m joking, running after him and 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. Oh man, that’s not a very exciting story,’ he said.
Joe Biden was not wearing his medical boot on Thursday, less than a week after fracturing his right foot
The president-elect was wearing a slip-on suede shoe on his injured foot and a black dress shoe on his healthy foot
The president-elect was seen wearing the boot for the first time Tuesday, when he arrived at The Queen theater in Wilmington to introduce his economic team.
He thanked reporters for asking how he was doing and raised his foot to show off his medical gear. When a reported asked how he felt he said ‘good.’
Biden said he’s concerned about what kind of precedent it sits if President Trump would pre-emptively pardon his attorney Rudy Giuliani, his adult children or himself.
‘It concerns me in terms of what kind of precedent sets and how the rest of the world looks at us as a nation of laws and justice,’ the president-elect told CNN.
Legal scholars agree the president can issue pre-emptive pardons to others. In 1974 President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon to prevent him from being prosecuted after the Watergate scandal before any formal federal charges were filed.
Scholars disagree as to whether Trump can pardon himself and the issue would likely end up before the Supreme Court should it come to that. Additionally, presidents can only issue federal pardons meaning Trump, his family and his associates could still be subject to state investigations.
Biden then repeated his pledge that his Justice Department will run independently. President Trump has been criticized for trying to interfere in federal legal matters through his tweets and comments in media interviews.
‘I’m not going to be telling them what they have to do and don’t have to do. I’m not going to be saying go prosecute a B or C,’ Biden said of his attorney general.
‘It’s not my Justice Department. It’s the people’s Justice Department, so the person or persons I pick to run that department are going to be people who are going to have the independent capacity to decide who gets prosecuted and who doesn’t,’ he added.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris walked back comments she made in the Democratic primary that a future Justice Department would have no choice but to prosecute President Trump
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down for their first joint interview, taking questions for an hour from CNN’s Jake Tapper
Biden also said he would not have similar policies to Trump on pardons and tweets.
‘You’re not going to see in our administration that kind of approach to pardons. Nor are you’re going to see in our administration the approach to making policy by tweets. You know, it’s just going to be totally different way in which we approach the justice system,’ he said.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris walked back comments she made in the Democratic primary that a future Justice Department would have no choice but to prosecute Trump.
‘We will not tell the Justice Department how to do its job. And we are going to assume – and I say this is a former Attorney General elected in California, and I ran the second largest Department of Justice in the United States – that any decision coming out of the Justice Department in particular the United States Department of Justice, should be based on facts, it should be based on the law, it should not be influenced by politics period,’ she noted.
Biden backed her up: ‘I’ll guarantee you, that’s how we run.’
100 DAYS TO MASK
Biden said he will ask Americans to mask up for 100 days as soon as he takes the oath of office and said he asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to be his chief medical adviser on the coronavirus pandemic.
‘On the first day I’m inaugurated I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask – just 100 days to mask. Not forever,’ Biden told CNN‘s Jake Tapper on Thursday.
‘And I think we’ll see a significant reduction’ in COVID cases when that happens, he said.
Inauguration Day is January 20th. Biden has pushed for Americans to wear the face coverings, even suggesting he may do a national mandate, to combat the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing face masks ‘in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household.’
But some have turned it into an issue of political freedom, saying they don’t want to be ‘forced’ to wear one. President Donald Trump has been reluctant to wear a face covering in public – although he has worn one in mandatory situations – and his campaign rallies featured thousands of people free of face coverings. His team argued wearing a face mask is a personal choice.
President-elect Joe Biden said he will ask Americans to mask up for 100 days as soon as he takes the oath of office, which is on January 20th
Biden said he’s spoken to Dr. Anthony Fauci and asked him to be his chief medical adviser on the coronavirus pandemic
Biden’s plans come as there was a new record in the United States on Wednesday, the most ever COVID deaths in one day at 2,670. Additionally, more than 100,200 patients were in U.S. hospitals Wednesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
The president-elect also revealed he’s spoken to Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and asked him to stay in his current job along with playing a senior role in his administration.
‘I asked him to stay on the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the COVID team,’ Biden told CNN.
Biden added that Ron Klain, his incoming chief of staff, knew Fauci well and had been talking to him ‘all the time.’
Fauci has clashed at times with Donald Trump as the president has made such suggestions as injecting bleach in oneself to combat the coronavirus and pushed for an economic recovery ahead of medical advice.
But the doctor, who was an early expert on the AIDS crisis, has become a public hero and trusted face of the disease as cases rise across the nation.
Experts have warned the coming winter months will be difficult and cases of the disease will continue to rise.
‘The reality is, December and January and February are going to be rough times. I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that’s going to be put on our health care system,’ CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said.
Biden said in order for schools to reopen during the pandemic, it would cost billions of dollars as classroom sizes would have to be decreased, more teachers would have to be added and sanitization procedures would have to be put into place.
‘It was estimated that we can open those schools for somewhere around 100 billion dollars nationwide. That would be the cost for a year, we know how to do this. But the fact is, there’s no money to do it,’ he said.
He also said the $900 billion COVID relief bill being pushed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill is a ‘start.’
‘That would be a good start. It’s not enough,’ he said of COVID relief talks on Capitol Hill.
He said more money would be needed though.
Biden said he’d be ‘happy’ to take a COVID vaccine once Fauci says it’s safe to do so and that he’d take it publicly to demonstrate his confidence in it.
‘People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work. Already the numbers are really staggeringly low, and it matters what the President and Vice President do,’ he said.
All three former presidents – Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – said they would publicly take a COVID vaccine to instill confidence in it
His comments come the 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.
Harris also said she would take a vaccine but both she and Biden wanted to make sure those who needed it the most got it first.
‘We want to make sure that the people who need to get it first,’ she said. ‘We’ve talked a lot about the need to take care of our frontline workers.’
There are at least three possible COVID vaccines showing strong signs of efficacy.
And the Food and Drug Administration has scheduled a meeting for Dec. 10 to discuss Pfizer’s request for emergency use authorization.
Meanwhile, lock downs are on the horizon for some parts of the country as cases grow.
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a new stay-at-home order in parts of the state where hospitals have less than 15 percent ICU capacity
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a new stay-at-home order for regions where fewer than 15 percent of intensive care unit beds are available.
The new order divides the state into five regions – none of which currently meet the threshold for the new restrictions.
However Newsom said four out of five regions – Greater Sacramento, Northern California, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California – are on track to hit that threshold within a few days and the fifth – the Bay Area – is expected to meet it by the middle of the month.
When they do surpass 85 percent capacity, the state will order affected regions to close hair salons and barber shops, limit retail stores to 20 percent capacity and only allow restaurants to offer take-out and delivery for at least three weeks.