Joe Biden, Kamala Harris talk COVID-19 and taxes with ABC's David Muir: Part 1

In their first joint interview after the Democratic National Convention, the two spoke exclusively to the "World News Tonight" anchor and "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts.
13:30 | 08/24/20

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Transcript for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris talk COVID-19 and taxes with ABC's David Muir: Part 1
He's just a moment Joseph Biden waited for for Morton thirty years. Out to walk up under that speech to accept his party's nomination for president. I will draw the best of us not the worst. I'll be an ally of the light. Not the darkness. He's moment arriving amid a pandemic in economic collapse and a long overdue call for racial justice in this country. And is he looked out to the fireworks in the sky his smile covered by his mask. Sharing the stage his historic choice is running mate senator Kabul Harris. Less than 24 hours later both of them sitting down with a us. Wearing masks as they arrived. All of us sitting well more than six feet apart. But thank you both for sitting down with us thanks for haven't yet. Mr. vice president as you know it was more than thirty years ago he first ran for president in 1987 it's now 120 and you're the candidate of change. I wonder after dreaming of that moment for more than three decades. What it was like. Well you know it's. We talked about the slow and I have no overwhelming. Sense of obligation. Whoever wins this election is not determine the fate of this country for. At least couple decades and a lot of stake the character the country's on the ballot that are so much at stake. And senator Harris you've already made history by just being on this ticket. But something you said before you re even chosen you said I want him to choose whoever he believes can help him win he said it sounds pretty. All blooded but that's where I am. That is correct except. You depend. How are you best suited to help. Vice President Biden when 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 dream. We have so much we want to get to hear but I I do wanna get right to the happiness of the moment in our country. The pandemic more than a 170000. American lives lost out and mr. vice president you have said. That people are dying because of this negligence. Do you blame president trump for lives lost I don't plan to improve the current crisis I blame him for walking away. Not dealing with him solutions. And the idea saying that this gonna go away. This who miracles gonna happen to resolve talk about the hoops crazy things about bleach in. Using dummies says. And he hasn't listened to the scientists but do you think the negligence on the part of this administration has cost lives I can tell you what Columbia university medical schools. It says that he acted just one week earlier he was saved over 37000. Lives two weeks earlier over 50000 people. This is about. Telling the American people the truth many assigned to speak listen to the science not been stepping out of the way you said in your speech last night. That you want to implement a national strategy and it's part of that strategy you said. We'll have a national mandate to Wear masks you know a lot of governors aren't gonna go along with that and and what do you say to Americans who say. This is my freedom my choice whether to Wear a mask you force them to Wear a mask 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 distance and wearing a mask when you public when you're outside the first time I've ever heard people say. But doing something patriotic you can savor the people's lives in impacts on their freedom there Camara. To me a break the spots even lives you talk about the science if you're sworn in come January. And and we have corona virus and the flu combining which many scientists have said is a real possibility. Would you be prepared to shut this country down again. I read prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives because we cannot get the country movie. Until we control the virus. That is the fundamental flaw of this administration's thinking began wins. In order to keep the country running and moving in the economy growing. If people employed you haft. Fix the virus you have to deal with the virus so if the site is saying shut it down I would shut down I would listen to the scientist and senator Harris we have seen. The disproportionate poll on communities of color from all across this nation insurance pandemic the president talks about. About the potential of a vaccine almost daily. We've 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. Well that's a great client because and let's also be clear that. Creating a vaccine and finally having a vaccine as a very different point than people actually being vaccinated. And there needs to be a plan. And that's one of the things that John I talk about. Which is the plan to ensure that we're gonna have all of that. That didn't equipment in place to actually administer a vaccine. To the largest number of people as quickly as possible keeping in mind. That there are disparities 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 into geographic region and do that now. So that when we have a vaccine those communities that are most in need we'll get them. I've been pleased with the president for the last three months. You need to plan I suggested the preference take 25 billion dollars now put together a plan. How will you get to over 300. Million Americans he has no notion how to do that. They're somebody should be in charge now directly precisely. Howell the backs you be distributed how many miles are gonna have to be in fact manufactured. Take all the vaccine. How many shots are gonna have to be read to require policy gonna do it it's about half. Planned now be honest with the American people though if you were elected president mr. vice president. Well where will we be you've been meeting leaders scientists what is next winter look like what does a year from now look like are we still in the middle of this and that it depends on what this Princeton leaves me. In five months. Everybody asks which is a legitimate question what do you do on January 21 20/20 want it depends on what he's lefty would. And right now it looks like what's gonna happen is that the numbers are gonna go up thirst there's estimates that well over 200000 people die. Significantly more people will be affected it doesn't. Have to be that way he can take action. Now we know others. 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 pollsters also of vulnerability. Over and over again president trump leads on the economy and you know what he's saying he said. President by. Not Biden administration will raise your taxes will you raise taxes higher who raise taxes for anybody making over 400000 dollars from retire Wyman do it. It's about time we start paying a fair share. Of the economic responsibility we have. Who very wealthy should pay its fair share corporations should take a fair share. The fact is herb corporations may keep close to trillion dollars to pay no tax at all not punishing anybody. This is about everybody paying their fair share so no new taxes 400000 dollars in taxes there would be no need for an easy Smart to tax businesses while you're trying to recover. It's Smart to tax businesses and in fact. Are making excessive amounts of money paying no taxes the winners to cut off you talk about small businesses Levy raising taxes. On small business and home when you're talking about look. You have 90% of the business is out there. Our mom and pop businesses that are out there that are make they can play less than fifty people that we know raising taxes and we have to provide them with the ability to reopen we have to provide more help for a lot less health. 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 respond and watch me. Mr. President watch me. Look at this folks what we say what we do what we control we know what kind of shape for it Camara this look. I think it's a legitimate question to ask anybody over seventy years old whether or not they're fit whether they're ready. But I just who and I could save the American people it's a legitimate question to ask anybody watch. Let's put the attacks the site then the American people remember Ronald Reagan was 77 when he left office he would be 78 entering office and you have said yourself that you are a transition candidate. Does that mean no one term president what does that no it doesn't you see you're leaving open the possibility of serving eight years absolutely. 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 if you were rivals. You remember that moment senator Harris who were on stage talking about being a little coral who was being bused. And in new set of the vice president's words about working with segregationist senators that they were hurtful. And personal. And it is personal and it I was actually very it was hurtful you also worked with them to oppose busing. And did you know there was a little girl in California. Who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools as she was bused to school every day. And I little girl was me. 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 purple and personal. You mean that and so I'm curious what the vice president has said to you since then that make you think. Okay I'm okay with this second I can joint missed. What is hurtful to me. Is that black families on 110 of the wealth. Of white Hampton's. What is hurtful to me. Is that black and Latinos are twice as likely to die from coast it as wife ends. What is hurtful to me is that when you look at the disparities and everything from health care to education. Two. That are rooted and systemic racism and their failure. To address the truths that may be difficult truths. Joseph Biden. Does that and he is doing that he is addressing these. Chance he speaks the streets mr. vice president you're your wife Jill Biden had called it a punch 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. I since exactly her she's coming from I think look. I think a lot of people and maybe even the senator's time didn't know the depth to 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 grown over 90% premium taken for granted. I've worked like kale and so look but we're we're on the same exact page about what their possibilities. Are right now there's an enormous possibilities. And senator Harris now making history the first black woman the first Asian American at a presidential ticket for of major party. We asked her about the attacks the words president trump repeatedly uses to describe her president trump has referred to is nesting. A sort of map woman a disaster the meanest most horrible most disrespectful of anybody in the US senate. Cutting but according to you define what you hear from the president. Ilyce that I really I I think that there is so much about what comes at a Donald Johnson mountains. 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 and incompetence. Absolutely. Absolutely. No idea. If he was saying something like that no president. No president has ever said night. No prisoners ever used those words no president said people come out of feels that tortures and spewing out and cementing file. And met by people oppose them and someone dies and he says they're good people on both sides. Don't present. United States has ever said anything like that. Ever.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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