President-elect Joe Biden and incoming First Lady Jill Biden sat down with Stephen Colbert for a wide-ranging interview about the election and their plans for the future.
Biden spoke about Republican lawmakers’ refusal to acknowledge and congratulate him on his win.
Said Biden: “They’re in a tough spot. A number of them sent messages to me four weeks ago ‘give me some time, Joe’. It’s fine by me. It’s a tough spot. I do [understand the spot they’re in].”
Asked specifically about Senator Lindsey Graham, Biden said, “Lindsey’s been a personal disappointment because I was a personal friend of his. But look, I think I can work with Republican leadership, I think we can get things done. Once this president is no longer in office I think you’re going to see his impact on the body politic fade, and a lot of these Republicans are going to feel they have much more room to run and cooperate.”
Asked if there’s anything about Trump that Biden could thank him for, the president-elect replied, “I think what he’s done getting the vaccine moving has been positive but by and large he has been a president who has decided that the way he succeeds is by dividing us.”
Biden added that Russia would be “held accountable” for the recent hacking attacks on U.S. agencies and corporations.
Dr. Jill Biden joined her husband and Colbert for another segment.
Colbert asked the incoming First Lady about the recent attacks on her doctorate and the title of “Dr.” which she prefers to go by.
Said Dr. Biden: “That was such a surprise. It was really the tone of it — he called me ‘kiddo.’ One of the things I’m most proud of is my doctorate. I worked so hard for it. … Look at all the people who came out in support for me, I am so grateful and I was just overwhelmed by how gracious people were toward me.”
Asked if it matters if Trump attends the inauguration, Biden replied, “In a personal sense, no, but in a sense relating to history… We’ve been the beacon of democracy for the last two hundred years and the peaceful transfer of power … the power being handed from one person to another, one party to another is who we are. That’s the part I worry about, how that reflects around the world. I don’t take it personally but I think it reflects the view of the rest of the world as to who we are.”
Asked how they’ll sustain attacks that may come their way, related to their son Hunter and other things, Biden replied, “We have great confidence in our son. I am not concerned about any accusations made against him. It’s used to get to me. I think it’s foul play but it is what it is. He is a grown man. He is the smartest man I know. As long as he’s good, we’re good.”
Biden said he would still reach out to those attacking him: “If it benefits the country yes. … There’s so much at stake. The American people, I think they can smell the phoniness. Smell what’s true and not true.”
Biden said he “feels badly” for those attacking him and supporting Trump and praised Republicans who stepped up during the campaign to get him elected.
Asked about his Catholic faith, Biden said Pope Francis called him personally to congratulate him on his election win.
“I am a great admirer of his holiness,” said Biden.
Asked about the “unaddressed grief” for all of the people who have died during the COVID pandemic, Biden said, “Think of all the people this Christmas who are going to sit at a table with an empty chair across the table. … People want to know people who have been through it and ‘can I make it.’ I think empathy is an incredibly important thing.”
Dr. Biden added, “I think one of the reasons Joe was elected is because of his sense of empathy. I think people understand that he’s had a lot of tragedy and loss in our family and he understands what they’re going through. I hope the American people when we get to the White House know that we feel their pain. We know what it’s like. And that there’s hope.”
The Biden also spoke about their Christmas traditions. Asked about where we might be a year from now, Biden said he believed we would be “close to normal” for next year’s Christmas holiday because of the vaccination program.