UPDATE, 9:28 PM PT: In his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Joe Biden talked of the prospects of working with Republicans, many of whom have still not recognized him as the winner of the presidential election or waited until the Electoral College vote this week to do so.
Colbert asked Biden about Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a friend of his who has called for a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden.
“Do you think you guys can patch it up and work together?” Colbert asked.
“Lindsey’s been a personal disappointment because I was a personal friend of his,” Biden said. “But look, I think I can work with the Republican leadership in the House and the Senate and we can get things done. And I think that once this president is no longer in office, I think you are 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.”
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Later Biden was joined by wife Jill Biden, and they spent much of a segment talking about faith. Biden received a call from Pope Francis, and recently signed a book for him.
“The Pope has been incredible generous to our family. When he came to visit, we were the house Catholics. We were the ones showing the Pope around. And Beau [their son] had just died, just a couple weeks earlier. And he asked to meet with the family at the hangar at the airport in Philly. And he came in. We had 16 family members there, and he didn’t just speak about Beau. He spoke in detail about him, about who he was, about family values, about forgiveness, about decency.”
As they had in a previous interview, Colbert and Biden talked about their own experiences with grief, but this time it was about the more than 300,000 who have died from Covid-19.
“Our country has an unaddressed grief,” Colbert said. “Over 300,000 people who have died, partly because our presidential leadership doesn’t want to acknowledge the dimension of this tragedy. …What do you think the role of the president is in leading the country to face loss?”
“It’s profound,” Biden said. “Think of all the people this Christmas who are going to sit at a table, an empty chair across the table, a son or a daughter or mom or dad. As you know, people want to know people who have been through it. ‘Can I make it? Can I make it?’ What you and I talked about is that I think empathy is a critically important thing. It doesn’t make it easier to talk about it if you have been through it. But when you have been through it, you talk to people, they go, ‘Okay I know he or she understands. They have been through it.”
Colbert responded, “But how do we address that right now, because there is this unaddressed grief, and it seems to me it is not healthy for the nation to pretend like something…I am worried that we are not addressing it.”
Biden said, “The role of the presidency is to say, grieve. There is a reason to grieve. You’ve had great loss, but there will come a time, remind yourself, but the time will come, when you think of your husband, wife, son daughter, mom or dad, you will get a smile to your lips before you get a tear to your eye. That’s when you know you are going to make it.”
UPDATE, 5:58 PM PT: Future First Lady Jill Biden, in a joint interview with President-elect Joe Biden for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, said that she was taken by surprise by a Wall Street Journal op-ed that took aim at her doctorate degree and her use of the title “Dr.”
“That was such a surprise,” she said.
“It caught me by surprise as well. I did not see that one coming,” Colbert replied.
“Nor did I,” Jill Biden said. “It was really the tone of it. He called me ‘kiddo.’ One of the things I am most proud of is my doctorate. I worked so hard for it.”
The op-ed, written by Joseph Epstein, triggered a backlash, with critics calling it sexist and patronizing.
Jill Biden told Colbert that she was touched by the extent to which people defended her.
“I was just overwhelmed by how gracious people were to me,” she said. Still, she was the target of Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, who has repeatedly mocked Jill Biden for the degree.
Biden earned the doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in 2007.
Her husband withheld criticism of the op-ed, telling Colbert, “I have been suppressing my Irish-ness for a long time.”
— A Late Show (@colbertlateshow) December 18, 2020
PREVIOUSLY: Joe Biden and Jill Biden gave their first post-election joint interview to Late Show host Stephen Colbert on Thursday, and one excerpt already has filtered out.
During the sit-down, Colbert asked Biden about federal prosecutors’ tax investigation of their son Hunter, whose business dealings were a target throughout the presidential campaign.
“We have great confidence in our son,” Biden said, according to a clip shown on CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell. “I am not concerned about any accusations that have been made against him. It’s used to get to me. I think it’s kind of foul play but — look, it is what it is, and, he’s a grown man, he is the smartest man I know, I mean from a pure intellectual capacity. And as long as he’s good, we’re good.”
Colbert replied, “As a father I understand that and I admire that. But I mean, in terms of your job as president, can you reach across the aisle to people who’ll be using this as an attack on you when it is such a personal attack because it’s about family?”
“If it benefits the country, yes. I really mean it,” Biden said.
Hunter Biden issued a statement on Dec. 9 in which he said, “I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs. I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.”
Colbert headlined a fundraiser for Biden during the campaign.
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