-- To so-called “Bernie-or-Bust” supporters who are adamant that they won’t vote for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, vice president Joe Biden said he’d offer the following message: “If you’re as moral and centered as you say you are, I know you can’t vote for Trump. I know.”
Biden's comments came yesterday during an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Clinton made history later that day as the first female major party nominee in the nation’s history when Bernie Sanders, her rival, threw his support behind her even as some of his supporters expressed their displeasure over the outcome of the highly competitive –- and at times acrimonious -- process leading up to the convention.
Asked what more needed to be done to unify the party, Biden replied: “I don't think anything more has to be done, George. Look -- think about it: They went out and busted their neck for the better part of a year. They came close.”
The vice president has a reputation as a working class, middle class man, and Stephanopoulos asked him to explain why Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appeared to have such appeal to that demographic.
“I think he has been very successful in playing on their fears. And there's not been enough focus on playing on their hopes, appealing to their better angels,” Biden said.
Stephanopoulos mentioned Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence’s criticism that Democrats avoided mentioning the terror group ISIS on the first night of the party’s national convention.
The vice president responded that there were “a lot more speakers to come” and acknowledged that people – rich and poor – were concerned about ISIS, but he laughed at the idea that the Republican ticket knew how to effectively handle the situation.
“We have the single most significant homeland security of any country in the world. And what are they doing, Pence and Trump? What they're doing is they're breaking up our alliances. These guys don't know what they're talking about,” Biden said.
Trump has questioned whether, under his leadership, the United States would honor the collective defense agreement to its NATO allies should smaller member states come under attack from Russia. The remarks were met with shock and alarm at home and abroad.
It’s widely believed that Russian agents are behind a dump of emails that suggest officials in the Democratic National Committee considered ways to undermine Sanders’ candidacy. The information angered staunch Sanders supporters, with some experts suggesting that any resulting Democratic disarray could ultimately benefit Trump’s bid.
However, on Tuesday, he denied having business interests in Russia.
Russia has denied the hacking allegations.
If Russia was indeed trying to influence the outcome on the U.S. presidential election, it would be "totally consistent with who Putin is,” Biden said with a laugh.
“I've traveled over a million miles around the world just in the last seven and a half years. But I haven't found a single world leader, ally, friend, who says, ‘Geez, it's great. Maybe we'll get a Trump presidency,’” Biden said, adding: “Oh, I think Putin doesn't want a united NATO. I think he doesn't want a united EU. I could see where a lot of our adversaries would think it's better to have someone who doesn't have any idea what they're doing than have somebody as tough as Hillary.”