“Only 100 days to conceal the mask, not forever. 100 days. I think we’ll see a big drop,” Biden told Tapper during his first joint interview with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris since his election victory. The full interview will be broadcast at 9 PM ET.
Biden also said he has asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to be a lead medical advisor and part of the Covid-19 response team when his administration begins next year.
Biden said the conversation took place on Thursday afternoon. CNN reported earlier today that Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, had a planned meeting with Biden’s transition team.
Biden told Tapper: “I asked him to remain in the same role he had played in the many previous presidents, and I asked him to be my chief medical advisor as well, and to be part of the Covid team.”
Biden added that Ron Klein, the new chief of staff, knew Fauci well and was talking to him “all the time.”
Biden and Trump have always taken very different approaches to the virus, an issue that has come to define the presidential election. Trump has fought many of his administration’s coronavirus recommendations, including wearing masks, while Biden has strictly followed coronavirus guidelines during the campaign.
Trump’s fight against the coronavirus recommendations often puts him at odds with Fauci, one of Trump’s most outspoken members of the task force. Those clashes have made Fauci the focus of public attention, and he is often seen as a hero on the left for his commitment to science in the face of Trump’s comments, and a villain from the right, especially among Trump loyalists.
Biden described his coronavirus plans as a balance between making sure Americans believe the vaccine is safe and developing a number of plans that would limit the spread of the virus without shutting down the economy.
Biden also said during the interview that he would be “happy” to have a coronavirus vaccine once Fauci says he is safe and that he will receive the vaccine publicly to prove his confidence in it.
“This is the moment I’m going to stand in front of the crowd,” and get the vaccine, Biden said. “People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work. The numbers are really amazingly low, and it matters what the president and vice president do.”
Biden said, “I think my three predecessors set a model of what to do, saying, once it is declared safe … Then it is clear that we take it and it is important to communicate with the American people.”
Biden said, “This raises my concern in terms of the type of precedent that sets it and how the world views us as a state of law and justice,” adding that his ministry “will work independently on these issues.” And how to respond to any amnesty for Trump.
“I’m not going to tell them what to do and they don’t have to do,” Biden said. “I will not say, ‘Go to trial A, B or C,’ I will not tell them. This is not the role, it is not the Ministry of Justice, it is the Ministry of Justice. Or the person I choose to manage this department will be people with the independent ability to decide who will be tried, and who will not be done. Sue him. “
Biden concluded that his administration would not deal with amnesty in the same way as Trump, adding, “It would be a completely different way we would deal with the justice system.”
Biden hasn’t yet picked the attorney general, but he’s considering a handful of names, including former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Doug Jones, former Senator from Alabama who was defeated in November; Wajih Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security under Obama. Among other things.
Harris echoed Biden’s comments on the Justice Department.
“We’re not going to tell the Department of Justice how to do its job,” Harris said. “And we will assume, and I am saying this as a former attorney general elected in California … that any decision issued by the Department of Justice … must be based on facts, must be based on law, must not be affected by the political period.”
Biden intervened, saying, “I guarantee you, this is how it will be run.”