In George Stephanopoulos’s very short interview with President Joe Biden – billed as “extensive,” “expansive,” and “wide-ranging” – the president denied the situation at the border, took a swipe at Americans who don’t “listen,” and bragged on his macho encounter with Vladimir Putin.
On Vaccines: “Why Don’t You Be A Patriot?”
Asked when Americans might return to normalcy, Biden had stern words for people who would ease up on COVID-19 mitigation measures and exercise their freedom to decline the vaccine.
“I won’t be able to meet the July 4 deadline unless people listen,” Biden said. “I just don’t understand this sort of macho thing about, ‘I’m not gonna get the vaccine, I have a right as an American, my freedom to not do it.’ Well, why don’t you be a patriot, protect other people?”
“How about emphasizing the positive?” Stephanopoulos jumped in, prompting Biden to share that since he got the vaccine, he can hug and spend time with his grandchildren.
Biden’s Border Crisis: “It Wasn’t Me!”
Biden first tried to deny the ongoing catastrophic surge was irregular, then denied that he sent the wrong message on immigration, then denied that children are held in cells, then finally said “quite clearly, don’t come.”
On the surge: “There was a surge the last two years in ’19 and ’20, there was a surge as well.”
“This one might be worse,” Stephanopoulos chimed in.
“No—well it could be,” Biden replied. (His own DHS chief confirmed this week that the biggest surge in 20 years is underway.) “But here’s the deal. First of all, the idea that Joe Biden said ‘come’ is—I heard the other day that they’re coming because they know I’m a nice guy, and I won’t do what Trump did.”
Stephanopoulos exclaimed back, “They’re saying this!”
“Well, here’s the deal: they’re not. The adults are being sent back, number one. Number two, what do you do with an unaccompanied child that comes to the border? Do you repeat what Trump did? Take them from their mothers? Move them away? Hold them in cells, et cetera? We’re not doing that!” (False. They are doing that. And he did invite them to.)
Biden 2021: “I never said they should surge the border!”
Biden 2019: “Immediately surge the border!” pic.twitter.com/NcUj61YLYD
— Raheem J. Kassam (@RaheemKassam) March 17, 2021
Finally, Biden said, “I can say quite clearly, don’t come.” BUT—Biden previewed schemes in progress to (1) install DHS and HHS facilities—concierge immigration services—in foreign countries to process asylum cases and (2) boost foreign aid to “change the circumstances on the ground” and “diminish the reason why people want to leave in the first place.”
It was recently revealed that Biden had placed a gag order on Border Patrol Agents so they can’t speak to the press about the crisis.
Apparently, Putin Doesn’t Have A Soul.
Biden responded to U.S. intelligence reports that Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin pushed disinformation about Biden to his allies during the 2020 election: “He will pay a price… If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.”
Stephanopoulos quizzed Biden about a 2014 encounter in which Biden supposedly accused Putin of not having a soul, a story that Biden relishes telling.
“I did say that to him, yes. And his response was, we understand one another. I wasn’t being a wise guy, I was alone with him in his office, that’s how it came about… I said, ‘Looked in your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul.’ Looked back at me and said ‘We understand each other.’ Look, most important thing dealing with foreign leaders, in my experience, and I’ve dealt with an awful lot of them in my career, is just know the other guy.”
While Biden apparently takes pride in having met with Putin alone, President Donald Trump was excoriated for doing so.
On Afghanistan: It Would Be “Like Sanskrit To People Listening Here”
Will U.S. troops leave Afghanistan by May 1? Unclear, Biden said, blaming it on a disorderly transition. (It’s worth noting that Presidential transitions are a relatively new concept.)
When he doesn’t want to answer questions, Biden often implies the audience is too stupid to understand the answers. He did that on ABC:
“The fact is that it was not a very solidly negotiated deal that, uh, the president—the former president worked out . . . Look, one of the drawbacks, George, and this is gonna be like Sanskrit to people listening here, but uh, it is the failure to have an orderly transition from the Trump presidency to my presidency, which usually takes place from Election Day to the time you’re sworn in, has cost me time and consequences. For example, we didn’t realize how bad things were in terms of lack of vaccine, we were not able to get access to this information. That’s part of one of the issues we’re talking about now in terms of Afghanistan.”
This reply is not in fact “like Sanskrit to people listening”; it’s Biden’s predictable explanation for anything that is unpopular.
On Cuomo: Women’s Claims Should Be “Taken Seriously.”
If the investigations into Gov. Andrew Cuomo find that he sexually harassed women, should he resign?
“Yes, I think he’d probably end up being prosecuted too.” Biden did not join calls for Cuomo to resign now, but said, “A woman should be presumed to [be] telling the truth and should not be scapegoated and become victimized by her coming forward, number one. But there should be an investigation to determine whether what she says is true. That’s what’s going on now . . . I start with the presumption, it takes a lot of courage for a woman to come forward, so the presumption is, she be taken seriously.”
Oh and by the way, the entirety of the “extensive” interview lasted… 14 minutes.