President-elect Joe Biden delivers holiday end-of-year remarks

“This has been one of the toughest years we've faced as a nation,” Biden said.
36:00 | 12/23/20

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Transcript for President-elect Joe Biden delivers holiday end-of-year remarks
Good afternoon from ABC news headquarters here in New York have become on the air at this hour village president elect Joseph Biden is addressing the nation what it was crisis calls for a racial justice. Historic and punishing wildfires. And storms. So this season of reflection carries a much do you community usually does. Over 320000. Lives lost this fires. In July send our prayers and ensure all of you due to all we're facing is dark winter. Within ninety seized any terrible. Where a loved one needs to sit and talk and laugh from in this. Our hearts go out to all of you who have fallen on hard times. Through no fault of your own are my dad. Unable to sleep a night weighed down with the worry of what tomorrow will bring it for you and for your family. We're especially grateful for the health care workers on the front lines it's scientists. Researchers. The clinical trial participants on the front lines of the vaccine. Who deserve. Our thanks to do delivered scientific breakthrough. I'm for all of you who have deployed family. The fourth tremor murmurs and military. We noticed like. We know what that experience is like how difficult it would be especially at this time of the year. Our family knows your sacrifice. And our hearts are always with you keep the faith. Throughout this year read of her four grown many of our favorite holiday traditions. We have have as families as communities and as a country. For the Biden's we usually have twenty to 25 family members over for Christmas dinner. And then the immediate family fourteen of our kids and grandkids. For spouses as four coming down the stairs and Christmas morning but not this year. Like we did over Thanksgiving. We all have to care enough for each other that we have to stay apart just little bit longer. I know it's hard. We have a long way to go forever grateful that we've got the vaccine. And yesterday in an effort to instill some confidence in the vaccine. I had my shot administered in public. I got a chance to thank all those nurses and docs. Christian hospital where they've been putting up with the Dewey for so long. I look forward in the second shot and I have absolute confidence in the back seat. But weren't short supply. Taking the vaccine from a vial into the arm. But millions of Americans is one of the biggest operational challenges. The United States has ever faced for 300 million people. And renewed shake my anymore Williams for that to happen. In the meantime. This pandemic rages on. Experts. Experts say things are going to get worse before they get better notwithstanding. The fact we have the vaccine. As you all know were Arab regime to death rate of close to 3000. People a day. That means we lose tens of thousands of more lives in the monster com. In a vaccine won't be able to stop that. So we'll still have to remain vigilant. We need every one to mask up. Stay socially distance. Avoid large gatherings. Particularly inside. We need to work in a bipartisan way. That's the only way we're gonna get through this in tough times. We got our first escaped a glimpse of bipartisanship by applaud the congress. They're economic relief package that included funding for vaccine distribution. Much needed temporary leave for workers. Families and small businesses. In this election. The American people made it clear today want us to reach across the aisle and work together on matters of national concern. To get something done. And I believe that to be the case from the very beginning of my campaign I'm happy to see. Members of congress cheating at Macy's as well from their own constituents. Leaders of both house and senate both parties deserve credit for making the hard compromises to get this job. Well like all compromises as far from perfect. But it does provide vital relief at a critical moment. However. You have set all wrong. This bill is just the first step. But Donald came it. And addressing a crisis but crises were the wonder we're in for a lot more work to do. Early next year I'm -- put forward to the congress my plans for what comes next. We'll need more help to fully distribute the vaccine. Will need more chastity. And ordered we have opened our schools really need more funding. To help firefighters and placement it will be laid off as I speak. And the same would nurses. Risking their lives from the front lines the same. For millions of hurting families Brian able to put food on the table. Pay rent for the mortgage. Unemployment is extended for another ten weeks. Could take a lot longer than that but congress did his job this week. I can't and I must. Ask them to do it again next year. The name of the changes in approach. I'm gonna put in place in late January. People are still going to be getting sick and dying from Covert. Wouldn't think your proper shoes Bob Martin later. Ship during this crisis. I'm good at telling you straight. Win and tell you the truth. And here's the simple truth. Our darkest days in the battle against Covert are ahead of us not behind us. She need to prepare ourselves to steal ours finds. As stressed it is this year it's gonna take patience. Persistence. And determination to beat this virus. Me no time to waste. Take his steps we need to turn this crisis around. My administration will start to do this it's part. On our first an office. With masking requirements or new strategy for testing. Accelerated protection protective gear. And run a challenge congress and the American people. To step up immediately. As well. To do their part. Hasn't the relief bill passed by congress is another challenge. It's my administration will confront. On a bipartisan basis. A massive cyber security breach. Against the US companies. Many evident as well as federal agencies. And are still so much we don't know. Including the full scope with a breach. Where the extent of the damage it is cost. But we know this much. This attack constitutes a grave risk to our national security. Who was carefully plan. Had carefully orchestrated. It was carried out crazy sophisticated cyber tools. Attackers succeeded. In catching the federal government off guard and are prepared. Foreign actors in the working this breach since last late last year at least last year. Setting a landscape. To compromise our systems. Scraping up sensitive information. From our world class tech sector. And from private businesses and from United States government agencies. Futures possessed. The trump administration failed to prior ties cyber security. It did that from eliminating. Or downgrading cyber coordinator is it both the White House and at the State Department. To firing the director of cyberspace and infrastructure security agency. To president charms are rational. Downplaying the seriousness of this attack. Not so not. Do an agent saw much of our lives are conducted on why cyber attacks must be treated as a serious threat. By our leadership the highest levels. We can't let just going to answer. That means making clear and publicly. Who was responsible for the attack. And taking meaningful steps to hold on that account. Initial indications including from secretary Pompeo secretary of state attorney general William Barr. Suggest that Russia. Russia. Is responsible for this breach. Certainly fits Russia's long history or reckless destructive cyber activities. But the chopper administration. Needs to make it official attribution. This assault happened not Donald Trump's watch. When he wasn't watching. It's still has responsibility as president. Do to defend American interest for the next four wakes. The rest assured. That in heavy does not take it seriously I will. Well I'm disappointed by the response of president trump I was pleased to see leaders in both parties in the congress. Speak out loudly and clearly. On this attack. Again I want to thank prominent Republicans in the senate. Particularly for speaking out. It's a sign. Assignment with the new administration we can confront these threats on a bipartisan basis we united front here at home. I should be encouraging the American people. And awarded to our adversaries. In the meantime. The president's team for the next four weeks need to cooperate fully. Its to have a minority share information becomes available. But both the impact. And our response. To ensure smooth transition. To protect the American people. As administrations change. Over the next month. I intend to continue folks who building where T. So the right people are place on day one of my administration. To take over this after. To prioritize cyber security across the board. I'll consult with a experts. The plan for the steps of my administration we'll take in order to secure our systems. Improve our cyber defenses. And a better withstand future attacks that we know com. And to impose cost. For those who conduct. I fully expect bipartisan support for this based on what we've heard so far. Our adversaries are highly capable. Cyber threats are among the greatest threats to our global security in the 21 century. I believe you have to treat them with the same seriousness of purpose. And retreated threats from other unconventional weapons. If the work of our allies. To establish clear international rules and mechanisms would force them. And consequences. For those countries that violate. Grown closer this. But as I look at the first of what will be millions of vaccinations. Cohen in the arms of Americans. After hundreds. Of thousands of lives. Lost. Congress finally passing his economic relief package after months and months of delay. And a new urgency. For bipartisan approach to cyber security after years were present. You choose to stand up forever cherish and hold me accountable. I reminded of the quote this season from a jesuit priest did not offer don't. He wrote quote advent. Is a time for rousing. Don't believe. Its first we are shaken to our debts and then we're ready for season of hope. As a nation. We've certainly been shaken to our deaths this year. Now it's time and to wake him to get movie. Tie for hope. We've gotten through tough times before in this nation. We get through these difficult times as well. I won't do by coming together by working with wanted to. I'd be we've heard be say many times we are best viewed 98 states of America. There's certain things should rise way above partisan differences. To threaten the United States. There are a national security interests. Requires to cooperate. Cod coast. Carlson. Will be able do that. A two year pain and loss. This time you normally to shield to rebuild. For all those who are suffering right now. Who had enormous loss. And lightweight community would return works very good I'd say we'll god bless you won't like prohibition. We're really continue to push as hard as we can't. To finish the job. May god bless you all. And cannot protect our troops. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all. Can't be happy takes questions thank you know what you Toby who's. Thank you Mr. President elect. President Obama once referred to this emerging cyber battlefield as the wild west's president trumping commenting on this most recent breach. So the situation was well under control. Given what you just said about this that it represents a grave risk. Do you believe it also represents an act of war and will you respond in kind of so. The answers first of all it is a grave risk and it continues. I see no evidence that it's under control. She noted. Heard of moon. Defense part wanted to brief us many tickets. So I know of nothing. I suggest it's under control. This president and he didn't identify. Who's responsible here. Number two. The question of the damage done. Remains to be determined. We have to look at very closely. To nature the breach is how extensive they are and what damage has been. And thirdly. There's going to be a necessity. As broad as President Obama my and our administration talked about. We need international society. International rules of the road and cyber security. We have to bring along our allies and our friends. So we hold everyone accountable. Who preaches any of these basic fundamental rules. And lastly. I believe that. When I learn. The extent of the damage. And in fact who was formerly responsible they can be assured that we will respond. And probably respond in kind as many options which I will not discuss now. By not lay out those kind of options publicly though it isn't. Part of the issue here deterrence and the fact that Russia felt some impunity if it is indeed Russia to do what they've done. We have. Not don't that it only other areas where we have faced international crisis. We don't sit here and say that we are going to strike you the nuclear weapons. We don't sit Maria Hussain and so. Let us determine. The extent of the damages. Accomplished. Over your response. And another issue sir as you know the runoff elections in Georgia could well determine. Whether there's a democratic senate. In January or a Republican senate in January is the are you waiting for the outcome of those two races to make some of the final selections for your cabin including. But the attorney general the most significant outstanding. It cabinet secretary were yet to pick. No not based on the attorney general let's just a matter of getting to and through it. And being able announced although albeit notes isn't just before just after we're gonna make announcement tomorrow. And we may have another announcement between then and Christmas Christmas New Year's we're just working through all of the efforts to. To do due diligence and lastly as the issue of the investigation. Of your son come up in discussions with your team and with potential candidates about no general. No I guarantee you really do what I said. The attorney general of the United States America is not the president's lawyer. I will appoint someone who I expect to enforce the law. As the law as written. North guided by me. Tickets are. Thank you Mr. President and lacked. There is growing concern today about that new. They're an of Kobe nineteen sweeping across the UK and should the United States right now impose a travel ban on flights coming in from the UK. As you know there already is well. Unrelated to that funny that you strange number one. And the question is whether or not the very least. It only allows. Americans coming home to be able a come back State's. Citizens. When things are waiting to get a response from Y co chief. Is whether or not we should require testing before they get on an aircraft flight home number one. And number two when they get home should they quarantine that's my instinct when I'm waiting to hear from where experts right now. He talked about how you want to propose a new collect relief plan. When you do take our it took more than six months for congress to reach this new deal Americans are suffering at this moment. How do you assure Americans that the release full content and come soon to your last. Most uninteresting questions. Do you ever known anyone in the history of the United States America. That couldn't be president assured checked with the congress could do. So I can assure anything but I can tell you what I expect. I fully expect. Those critical issues ever station number one out. Be able to get all the work we need guns all the fun the to be able to get that's vaccine everywhere his arm and that's 300 million people. We'll get that done because you're gonna see it's a responsibility has already been recognized by the Republicans and Democrats in the congress because we sit in the constituency he's gonna demand. Number one. Number two all those people are out there hurting you lost jobs no fault or that extended unemployment for ten weeks simply not sufficient. Necessary to get it done to get through the holidays but I predict you will get cooperation to get that up. I've been arguing from the very beginning and told how I love it it makes you sound so much younger how naive I have. About how the congress works I think I've been proven right or wrong across the board the things that are left to deal with from employment. Two people needing unemployment insurance to the ability to have access to health care ability gets this they treat treatment for free etc. All of that is something that the public is not going to stand for us not doing. And I think we've Donald Trump not in the way that will also enhance the prospects if he's getting done. The whole year plan including new round of stimulus checks to the American people and if yes how much less odd look that's and that's a negotiating issue. But it will yes who will. And I think by the way I think we. Oh Bernie Sanders and his Republican colleagues thanks for getting. Not all the stimulus we look forward 12100 forgetting 600 don't I think you're seeing that. There is not clear understanding that these issues go beyond any ideology. People are desperately hurt. And the Republicans are hurting as badly as Democrats. There are few people I'm not saying they're responsible for any of this but few few people are doing extremely well neck case should recovery. Didn't there and they're doing fine but they still need. Access to the back seats they still need access to making sure that we are able to handle. Crises in the hospitals etc. so I think they're on the things relating to pay. Vaccine distribution which is going to cost billions more dollars. Is simply going to cost billions more dollars we need. National standards lay out help governors disturbed how they're going to get that vaccine. Throughout terror throughout their communities number one number two we're gonna need to take care those people who through no fault of her own. Are unemployed. Dave work like hell but they have no job because of the Covert crisis. And thirdly we're gonna have to begin to rebuild the country we can't wait. You can't wait to rebuild the economy we're gonna to start doing that now and infrastructure programs and a whole range of other things. I think the sort of the door was broken in the vast majority of people are still people don't want to help. They're still people who are assisting my way or the highway but the vast majority of the members of congress I believe will be able to work out those. Those specific issues that are of national consequence. Engines and thank you. Mr. President what think you think you. And still not sure if I heard you say specifically those sir what is sure ask of the congress. In just one month's time what is your ask of the congress separate use. Haven't watched for these many months but people in your party is well did not us. Necessarily act as quickly as some Americans would have liked what is your asks her. My ass will be laid out there in detail but it relates to force thanks number one making sure every all the money we need. To get the vaccine to 300. Million Americans at a minimum over the next year the next calendar year. Number one number two. Making sure that all those people who are unemployed through no fault of their own because of the cult would crisis. A small businesses and big business is a center of shutting down that day continue to be able to live day to day. They don't engage in food shortages are not and a position where they get thrown out of their homes. I would also be asking for moratorium on. Being evicted from their homes for failure to pay rent war moratoriums on relayed to the issue of whether or not your mortgage are being paid thirdly. I think it's critically important we provide. All of the PPE as well as that direct payments to small bit businesses and others to be able to stay open it. To be able to keep their people employed. That is something that's going to increase as time moves and lastly we're gonna need to make sure that we're in a position. That we can provide for the opportunity of people to begin to go back to work and get new jobs developing infrastructure. Given the narrow majorities in the house and senate you've watched many administrations come don't you believe that you'll have a honeymoon. To get things I don't think it's a honeymoon at all I think it's a nightmare that everybody's going through an Allstate's cutting it. It's not a honeymoon to not do me a favor. I ask you rhetorical question I don't expect you catch. And that is do you think that. Republicans were losing their businesses do you think Republican constituents out there who can't pay their mortgage you think they're not letting their Republican representatives know they got a problem. Do you think the person who just lost sum a family member. It is worry about losing another woman who happens to be a Republican and staunch Republican is in telling his or her. Republican senator state represented you've got to help you've got to get something done. Do you think all those people who were making judgments of whether or not. I'd move my child be able go to school I had to stay home and I can't go to work therefore have no income are all Democrats. I think there's just been a daunting here in look. You have a different team and give a different team and I'm not gonna go their eyes the opposition. Understand say this will be got to do because they know. They know it's not like I'm saying but we wanted to do as you want to make sure that. We are going to. Com to sign a new trade agreement with the AB your C. This is life and death. That's why I believe we'll get it done. Sir thank passed a follow up to the attorney general's decision that you and President Obama selected Eric Holder on December 1. Every recent president has selected there. Attorney general by this point what is taking you so long to make this critical decision and do you believe that this is a time in the post trump and Sarah. Were you need someone to is not steeped in politics who may have a life's work above or beyond politics. The answer is first. All we've known we've gone tress and everybody total cash. So we are not President Obama and yourself sir. The whole cabinet or cabinet okay added there are few missteps on commerce as you remember but I do about it when erasing credit. Com a look at home. This is. We're looking for. A team. High school is still the greatest confidence. In the professionals. At TOJ. To know once again. That there is no politics. There's no politics. As you know there's been a great debate about you every single appointment. Whether or not. People there are North African Americans and often. Hispanics in south Asian Pacific Americans enough. People left our New York so we're just working through it is stopped by design. There's not an obvious choice in my mind. Tickets are. Thank you very Christmas Merry Christmas. My take. You just spoke about Haggar confidence that there'll be possibly get things done once president trump has left off this. I don't shoot me not just because he left office because. It's all becoming an obvious exactly what's at stake. But even so aren't concerned about the effects long term that his presidency and and now in the transition. His refusal to concede his challenges to the election we'll have on American politics we'll have under Republican Party especially if he died as. Take this chapter of filing for reelection next month. Arab ready to run in 224. You know are you can turn it cut about him lingering around and I few smiling but. Basket and I'm kind of a Carla courage that. I'm would you consider filing for re election early next year to show that you're not gonna be a lame duck. I'd like real index is watched me. Just watched him as saying this is a very reality. Look let's just get the workers from this point on for the next several years. There is Warren objective. It's not my political future. It's threatening this circumstance from an average American. SO Salma. And I want to communicate to the American people what I hope there already understand about me it's about them it's not about me. It's not about me. It's still do you think that the climate will be different. After president trumped and it was schools say I I don't know I mean I'm not a fortune teller but I can tell you that. Indeed calls I've gotten from city Republicans. In powerful positions. They know we need any noise level with that they know I never miss Lee they know I tell the truth. And they know I don't want on my way to try to embarrass. I'm in terms of the transition are there areas where the truck team has not been cooperative that. I have not been made public we've heard a bit about the issue that the the Pentagon last week. Are there are other areas that you think the public should be aware of. There are there is immature neutral over the published everywhere look what I'm trying to do. Is pull together. The political parties. Dad are in the congress. That. Know that we're facing. For serious crisis. And we have to dress all of them. Not overseeing all we want we can make real progress. And so my focus is on uniting. Not emphasizing patience. Thank you. Thank you mr. pads and now act. Rush as you say it is suspected of carrying out this massive cyber hack. I'm you said it happened under president Donald Thompson watched but of course in January 21 able. Then of course went on your doorstep my question is what that Reynolds that some drew into my doorstep it's fairly relented endorsed him USK. But practical implications of overseeing a government where. Experts say could take years to know where the Packers went and years to remove them how can you insure that that the systems will be safe given what experts are saying. I can't ensure but I can command based on the experts. Posts here it and move our allies. What is needed to find that out it may cost literally billions of dollars to secure our cyberspace. It may take a great deal to get it done. First and foremost it takes people who are knowledgeable in vigilant about what is happening and how it's happening. And so I'm just going to do all that need be done. All that need be done to determine. Aid the extent of the damage. Leave the nature of how Whitaker. C what I should be doing internally in terms of my administration to protect against him in the future. And number four. Means getting together with our allies. Just try to set up an international system what constitutes. Appropriate behavior cyberspace. And get us all to get the point where we hold all hold. Any other country liable for their breaking out of those basic rules. It is declared the top of that did you say you couldn't ensure that assistance would be saved when you came in office band. Of course I can't I don't know what the state of their clue a safe right now. And in between now and January 20 the likelihood of my being able. Garner all the information the extent and depth of the violations. Exactly how the codes or how we were preached what was breached what was done. Is not within my power to do that but it will be an overwhelming focus for my administration. And matter questions on immigration and I was I was. Just the reading about the fact that officials in New York transition jigsaw then Susan Rice. They say you won't be immediately rolling back trumped immigration policies and I expressed immediately. There are some immigration advocates who say why not roll back. The army New Mexico policy why not roll back the ever impasse island restrictions what is your timeline for rolling back some of the specific. Trumpet administration immigration policy is now. Authorities started discussing these issues for the president of Mexico. And our friends in Latin America. Column in the time line it is to do it so that we expect. Make it better not worse. The last thing we need is to say we're going to a stop immediately. The you know the access to asylum always being run now and you end up with two million people on our border. It's a matter of setting up the guardrail so we can move in the direction I will accomplished what I set I would do. Much more you main policy based on family unification. But it requires getting a lot of places requires getting the funding to get a place. Including just asylum judges friction. So it's a matter of it will get done. And we'll get done quickly. But it's not going to be able to be done on day one and lift every restriction. As exists. And find out that and go back to what it was twenty years ago when all of a sudden find out we have a crisis on our hands that complicates what we're trying to do. Would you say to immigration what would you say to immigration advocates fan who say. Media in here possibly dragging your feet to MIT too long race and it sounds like you're saying is a trustee Stan look at me I've never told them anything I haven't done. I'm working with them now we're Julie was some of those very organizations as we speak. And I will do what I said it's gonna take not they want this could take probably the next six months to put that in place. Thank you so much thank you. Very Chris was everybody. I can. There you have it president elect Joseph Biden. In Wilmington just four weeks until inauguration. Continue to ask questions. He's not going to take the bait as he leaves the stage. You're one or phone. I love you man was his answer we'll find out what the question on doors for us pardon forward here vote but the president elect its judgments about operations. For the clarification on what just transpired. Of course the president elect talking. On this holy week just a couple of days before Christmas. But a heavy week in America as well we have just reached 321000. American lives lost in this pandemic. But the president elect talking about the normal family gatherings at his home for the holidays he said much like Thanksgiving it'll be much. A more pared down speaking of the family members who will be their for Christmas he said I told you I would. Tell you straight to the American people everything that we face ahead and he said our darkest days are ahead of us. But even with the east to vaccines being distributed across this country our darkest days are ahead he. Talked about what he's going to demand from congress he said they did their jobs this week but he'll ask. More of them as soon as he becomes the president for weeks from now inauguration as I mentioned he also talked about the massive cyber attack. On the big US government and now we know a number of US companies. He pointed out the fact that secretary of state Mike Pompeo the attorney general bill Barr have both alluded to the fact that. Russia was responsible but he said this happened on Donald Trump's watch and he wasn't watching. That was his quote. Putting pressure on the current president to name a corporate. To acknowledge that perhaps Russia was in fact behind us he said I will respond I have many options but I will not discuss. What those options are he did not have an answer on his pick for attorney general yet. But again he was pressed by our Rachel Scott who was in the room about what he'd will demand from congress. After he becomes president.

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

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