Joe Biden appeared on the latest Jimmy Kimmel’s Quarantine Monologue, Kimmel’s web series substitute as his show has been sidelined because of the coronavirus, and the topic turned to whether President Donald Trump will try to postpone the 2020 election because of the crisis.
“Is it possible that Trump could postpone the presidential election?” Kimmel asked, repeating a scenario that many Democrats fear may happen if the pandemic stretches into the fall.
“No, he doesn’t have the authority to do that,” Biden said. “It is possible they may start a drumbeat saying it should be postponed.” He added that a friend, historian Jon Meacham, pointed out that elections have been held during previous crises, including during the Civil War and World War I and II.
“Democracy and dealing with this crisis have to be done at the same time,” Biden said.
Kimmel, at his home in Los Angeles, interviewed Biden from his makeshift studio at his Wilmington, DE, home. Biden’s appearance with the late night host was among a number of media spots he’s been making this week to counter Trump’s dominance of the airwaves. On Friday night, Biden is scheduled to participate in a virtual CNN town hall on the coronavirus.
As he has said in previous interviews, Biden said that Trump, while not responsible for the virus, does bear the blame for a slow response.
“I don’t quite understand the lack of willingness to move rapidly and to let science dictate,” Biden said.
He said that he learned from his experience as Vice President that when it comes to epidemics, “speed matters — faster is better than slower no matter what you are implementing.” After Kimmel asked him why Trump hasn’t invoked the Defense Production Act to speed the manufacture of medical equipment and supplies, Biden said, “Honest to god, Jimmy, I don’t know. He hasn’t done what is rational to do.”
Kimmel’s interview was conducted around the same time that Fox News’ Sean Hannity was interviewing Trump. Commenting on governors who are urging the federal government to spur the delivery of ventilators, Trump said, “A don’t believe that you need 30,000 or 40,000 ventilators. You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes and they’ll have two ventilators. Now all of the sudden they are saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'”
Biden, who already has said that he plans to choose a woman as a running mate, said that he is starting to put together a committee to vet potential picks, which he said will be about five to seven names. He would not say who any of the potential choices would be.
“I have to get the background checks beginning. I have to get that started,” Biden said. “It sounds kind of presumptuous because Bernie is still in the race. I feel almost guilty.”
Kimmel also asked Biden of a video that Trump retweeted earlier this week, featuring a shot of him coughing, the obvious implication that Biden is too unwell to be president.
“I think he is worried about my health. He’s very concerned,” Biden said, sarcastically.
Kimmel made no secret that he’s not going to be voting for Trump come November. As they talked about the massive unemployment claims already filed, Kimmel said, “I make no secret of the fact that I hope [Trump] will be seeking unemployment come November.”
Kimmel will return with new episodes of Jimmy Kimmel Live next week, although he will still be hosting from his home.
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