Biden to ABC's Robin Roberts: Administration will 'root out' systemic racism: Part 4

The Democratic presidential nominee credited the Black community for his long career but he has made stumbles discussing race on the campaign trail; he denied wanting to defund the police.
6:54 | 08/24/20

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Transcript for Biden to ABC's Robin Roberts: Administration will 'root out' systemic racism: Part 4
Black lives matter! It's been a season of racial reckoning. In about eight minutes, everything changed. Video of a police officer kneeling on George Floyd's neck, killing him, brought Americans of all backgrounds to the streets in a national wave of protest. It was a wave sometimes met by overwhelming force, and also gestures of reconciliation. George Floyd, and I know you spoke to his daughter -- And the whole family. Breonna Taylor, say their names. There's so many names. Such unrest in this country, this summer, the summer of unrest, and people from all backgrounds taking to the streets and saying enough. And there's -- there's a sense, or maybe a hope, that this time is different. And you both have been involved in the civil rights movements from the -- you were in a stroller with your -- Yes, yes. With your parents in the '60s. Is it different this time? It is different. How is it different? What will you do, if elected, a Biden administration, to truly bring about change, lasting change? I'm gonna have America look and see that my administration across the board is gonna look like America, number one. Number two, we're gonna make sure that we change the entire system of the way in which we deal with -- with criminal justice from one of punishment to rehabilitation. No one should be going to jail because they have a drug addiction. They should be going into mandatory drug treatment. We're gonna provide for a $15,000 tax credit for the first term home buyer, designed to allow African-Americans and minorities to be able to build wealth. We have to root out the systemic racism. And an education, because we know when we do that, you increase exponentially the prospect of success. No matter what you -- where you come from, black, white, hispanic, asian-american. And so there's so much we can do. And the public is ready. The blinders have been taken off. They've seen in this covid crisis who are the people who have been lifting them up. Who are the people who are risking their lives. Who's stocking the grocery shelves. Who are the first responders. And I just think we have an enormous opportunity. While on the campaign trail, vice president Biden has at times sparked controversy over issues related to race. If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or trump, you ain't black. You said, "I choose to speak truth, even when it's uncomfortable." Yes. So when you have a running mate who makes a comment like, "You ain't black," leads some people to say, "He just doesn't get it." Have you been able to speak truth to him about that? Listen, when Joe and I talk about the state of America, he has a deep sense of awareness and knowledge about racial disparities, inequities, and systematic racism. And Joe speaks the words and actually knows how to say the words black lives matter. Contrary to what the president of the United States, the current president of the united States does, which is to stoke hate and division full-time and has never spoken those words, and will never speak the words black lives matter. You can talk to Joe. He has been outspoken on those issues. And I know where his heart is. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the African-American community. We have the eighth largest black population in America. I worked in the east side, six blocks from here, which is virtually all African-American. I had a good job with a well-known law firm, and I quit and became a public defender. But here's the point. I shouldn't have said that. But I was trying to make the point that this is a man who spent his entire career denigrating African-Americans. But the truth is, there's a fundamental difference between Donald Trump and me on the issue of race across the board. I'm not gonna -- I'm not gonna try to divide people. It's all about bringing people together. There's also been a national conversation about policing. And you know the name that you have, kamala, top cop. And the book that you wrote ten years ago, "Smart on crime," where you concluded by saying that you wanted to see more police on the street. Do you still feel that way? Listen, I think that there is no question. First of all, when I wrote that book, black lives matter did not exist. And I give full credit to the brilliance of that movement in terms of what it has done to advance a conversation that needed to happen a long time ago. What black lives matter has done as a movement has been to be a counterforce against a very entrenched status quo around the criminal justice system in America. And that's why I'm so excited about what we can do in terms of a new administration in the white house. That is about taking on these issues in a way that makes clear that the American people are ready for it and they want it. And so it's about a policy that says, we're gonna ban choke holds and carotid holds. George Floyd would be alive today if there had been such a ban. We need that ban. That's part of the policy and the platform that a biden/harris administration is gonna fight for. When I say defund, you say police. Following Floyd's death came cries to defund the police, to move money out of police budgets and into social service programs, deepening fault lines and the divide. If Joe Biden and the radical DEMs take power, they will gut every police department in President trump says that you want to defund the police. Do you? No, I don't. By the way, he proposes cutting half a billion dollars out of local police support. I don't want to defund police departments. I think they need more help. The vast majority of the police, they're ashamed of what they saw. But you have to take action and it has to be national. We have to make it clear that this is about protecting neighborhoods, protecting people. Everybody across the board. So the only guy to actually put in a bill to actually defund the police is Donald Trump. If you are elected, how are you going to reach out to people who you know do not support you? I'm gonna represent everyone, whether they voted for me or not. That's what presidents are supposed to do. That's what I'm gonna do. We have to unite this country. There has just been too much misinformation that's been laid out there. People are looking for someone to be authentic, tell the truth, and say exactly what they're gonna do. And that's what I'm gonna do.

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

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