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President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday during his first joint interview with vice president-elect Kamala Harris that he will ask for Americans to commit to 100 days of wearing masks as one of his first acts as president.
Jake Tapper spoke with both Biden and Harris in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware — the same theater where the President-elect revealed several top members of his administration.
“On the first day I’m inaugurated, I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask — not forever, just 100 days” Biden told Tapper, adding he feels the move will result in a “significant reduction” in COVID-19 cases.
Biden also shared he asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to stay on in his administration as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert and a role Fauci has had “for the past several presidents.”
The president-elect added that he asked Fauci to be a “chief medical adviser” as well as part of his COVID-19 advisory team.
Both Biden and Harris confirmed they would get a coronavirus vaccine, with the president-elect adding he’d do so publicly. Three former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — have said they would get vaccinated publicly to show it is safe.
“People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work. Already the numbers are really staggeringly low, and it matters what the president and vice president do,” Biden said.
The vice president-elect noted while she will get the vaccine, it is important that “the people who need it the most are going to be a priority.” Harris shared how over the Thanksgiving holiday, she and Biden made a call to a number of nurses who described “horrendous conditions.”
Turning attention to Biden’s commitment for a diverse cabinet, Tapper pressed on whether the president-elect would appoint a Black attorney general following this year’s swell of Black Lives Matter protests and calls of justice for Black people killed by police.
Biden said he understands that groups like the NAACP and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus want to “push me” on the diversity commitment and it is his duty to “keep my commitment.” He shared he is meeting with the NAACP and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus next week and plans to ensure “both in the White House and outside in the Cabinet is going to look like the country.”
When asked by Tapper about possible pardons President Trump has suggested for himself, Rudy Giuliani and his adult children, Biden said they concern him because of the “kind of precedent it sets and how the rest of the world looks [at] us as a nation of laws and justice.”
However, Biden and Harris said they would not tell the Justice Department what to do on the matter. “I’m not going to be saying, ‘Go prosecute A, B or C.’ I’m not going to be telling them,” he told Tapper. “That’s not the role. It’s not my Justice Department, it’s the people’s Justice Department. So the persons or person I pick to run that department are going to be people who are going to have the independent capacity to decide who gets prosecuted, who doesn’t.”
Harris agreed with Biden’s statements, adding that as a former attorney general elected in California “that any decision coming out of the Justice Department … should be based on facts, it should be based on the law, it should not be influenced by politics, period.”
Lighter moments of discussion in the interview included Biden explaining his recent hairline fracture injury caused by playing with his dog Major and Harris laughing over how some of her husband’s friends have jokingly called him “the second dude.”
While confirming that the newfound and proper term for Doug Emhoff is “second gentleman,” Harris clarified for her, it’ll remain “honey.”
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