'(Democrats) may have to do a virtual convention' amid coronavirus: Joe Biden

George Stephanopoulos interviews former Vice President Joe Biden on "This Week."
11:03 | 04/05/20

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Transcript for '(Democrats) may have to do a virtual convention' amid coronavirus: Joe Biden
And former vice president Joe Biden joins us right now. Good morning, Mr. Vice president. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for having me on your show. I appreciate it. I wish you well. Sure thing. We just heard president trump there talking about you at his press conference yesterday but his team also said, he also said this week he would be open to taking a phone call from you, has that phone call happened and if it did, what's the most important thing you'd tell him? It hadn't happen. I'm happy to talk with him. I would tell him what we went through a similar crisis, you have to move swiftly. We have to move more rapidly. You have to implement the defense production act. Create, you know, a defense production act for banks that give out small business loans, you got to faster than slower and we started off awfully slow. He indicated that I complimented him on dealing with China -- well, you know, 45 nations had already moved to keep -- block China personnel from being able to come to the United States before the president moved. It's about pace. It's about -- it's about the urgency and I don't think there's been enough of it. The president has said many times that he's worried about the cure is going to be worse than the disease, does that concern you at all and isn't there a point there, if this lockdown goes on for too long, the public health concerns could be grave? Well, the public health concerns can be grave and you know, you saw what's happening in Singapore, they moved very rapidly to bring down the coronavirus, down to zero, and then they began to open up, they had very, very tight restrictions in terms of social distancing, et cetera, staying in place, now it's coming back, and so, you know, what we need most of all, and it's not the president's fault at all, but we need most of all, a vaccine. But in the meantime, we have to take all the efforts we can to prevent the spread and lower that curve as they talk about and move from there. George, we'll need not only the last C.A.R.E.S. Act that congress passed, we'll need at least two iterations of that I believe to help the economy. We've seen also the new guidelines from the CDC saying they believe the public should wear masks in public. President trump said he's not going to do it, but several other leading politicians are, when you go out in public going forward, will you be wearing a mask? Yes, look, I think it's important to follow the science. Listen to the experts. Do what they tell you. It's, you know, he may not like how he looks in a mask, but the truth of the matter is, follow the science, that's what they're telling us. If I go out in public, and I haven't gone to commercial places of late, I haven't gone to my local church, et cetera, there are no services actually, but my generic point is, you should follow the science. And your campaign videos have been quite tough on the president. You say his failures is going to cost lives, is that what's happening now? Well, look, what I have been saying is that he's moving too slow, the coronavirus is not his fault. But the response is his responsibility. Look, there are a few things he can do -- he can immediately and fully implement the defense production act which I and many others called for a long time ago. He's just getting under way with it. There's still no defense production act for gloves, masks all the things that first responders need. We should create a bank defense production act. We got to get those small business loans out. You saw what American Express did -- excuse me, bank of America did, they said, unless you already have loans with us, unless you have a credit card with us, we're not going to -- even though they're government-guaranteed loans we're not going to process those loans. We got to save jobs and we got to save people's businesses. We have to ramp up testing. We have been talking about 4 million tests are going to be available, where is it? What's being done? You got to open up enrollment for Obamacare, lot of people don't have insurance, this president is trying to take away Obamacare across the board which will leave people naked to this problem we're facing, and we have to finally get some data how this coronavirus is really hurting African-Americans and minority communities, these are things that should be done now. But you need a supply commander in charge of it all, right out of the white house, in direct response to the president, so we know where to get what we have to get and get it quickly. Back in 2014, president Obama's department of homeland security warned that a pandemic was the highest risk of a natural cause. Should your administration have done more to prepare? We did a lot to prepare as you know, George. We set up an office, a pandemic office within the white house, and we expanded CDC. In other countries, we could observe, see when things were coming, how things were moving. We put people in China. We did a whole lot of things and they got a very detailed breakdown on this by a briefing, the trump administration, when we transitioned out of office, but the president dismantled almost all of that and he drastically cut the budgets for the CDC -- he didn't follow through on what we suggested was a real problem. It's going to continue to be a problem, you got to learn lessons from this. We can to do much better and get to the place where we can, you know, these viruses as you know, George, they have no borders. You can't build a wall, you can't have, you know, people at the border trying to stop it, it's beyond that capacity, you have to know what's coming, where it's coming from and how to deal with it. Let's deal with the situation with captain crozier from the uss Theodore Roosevelt. As you know, he was fired earlier this week, the president said yesterday he 100% support that decision, your response? I think it's -- I think it's close to criminal the way they're dealing with this guy. Not his conduct. The idea that this man stood up and said what had to be said, got it out that his troops, his -- his Navy personnel were in danger -- in danger -- look at how many have the virus, I think the guy should have a commendation rather than being fired. Finally, sir, I want to turn to some politics before we go, Wisconsin having its primary on Tuesday, your opponent Sanders said that should be put off and the governor joining the chorus, as well, it looks like that's going to happen, is that wise? Well, look, I think they should follow the science, I -- what I've been hearing, I have been following like you have, like everyone has, watching the court action, it's still in court now but I think whatever -- whatever the science says is what we should do. And does that hold for the convention as well? Are you open to the idea that -- it just may not be possible to do the convention in August? Yes. Well, we'll have to do a convention, may have to do a virtual convention. We should be thinking about that right now. The idea of holding a convention is going to be necessary, but we may not be able to put 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 people in one place and that's very possible. Again, let's see where it is. What we do between now and then is going to dictate a lot of that as well. My point is, you just got to follow the science. Listen to the experts. Listen to the faucis of the world and if that's the case, it's the case. But we can't let -- we have never allowed any crisis, from a civil war straight through to a pandemic, we have never, never let our democracy take second fiddle. We can both have a democracy and elections and at the same time correct the public health. It's time we start thinking about how we're going to hold elections, whether we'll have to spend a lot of time figuring whether we do, is it going to be mostly by mail, or how are we going to make it available to everybody? And I think has to be -- I know you talked to Bernie Sanders about your vice presidential pick. Tell us a little bit about how that's going. Is he ready to unify behind your candidacy and is he giving you any recommendations? Well, look, what I have said about the presidency, I was apologizing because, it was a bit presumptous for me to set up a committee to go through the process, and you've been through it before in your other life, doing the background checks on potential nominees. I was apologizing, Bernie, I don't want to any way to demean your effort but if we don't start now we won't be able to get there. He was very gracious, he understood. It wasn't about asking him for recommendations of nominees for vice president. It was about saying to him, Bernie, I feel somewhat foolish since although I'm likely to get the nomination that, in fact, it's not officially done yet and I'm moving forward with a committee for vice presidential selection and to be able to set up a circumstance where the background checks could be done, as you know they take a lot of time, and if they don't start now or shortly in the month of April, it's going to be hard to get it done. So I was basically apologizing and making it clear that I was pushing him. That was the extent of our discussion about the presidency. Mr. Vice president, thanks for your time this morning. Thank you. Thank you, George. Good luck to you, man.

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

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