UPDATE, 6 AM PT: President Joe Biden said that he “just doesn’t understand this sort of macho thing” in refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
ABC’s Good Morning America aired co-anchor George Stephanopoulos’ sitdown with Biden, as he addressed concerns that a large share of the population would refuse to take the vaccine, potentially jeopardizing efforts to achieve herd immunity.
Biden said that he thought that talk over the vaccine was free from politics.
“I honest to God thought that once we guaranteed we had enough vaccine for everybody, things would start to calm down,” Biden said. “Well, they have calmed down a great deal. But … 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.”
Asked how things had changed for him since he got the vaccine, Biden said, “I can hug my grandkids now.”
Biden also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin would “pay a price,” after intelligence officials concluded that Putin sought to influence the 2020 presidential election, with efforts at “denigrating” Biden’s candidacy. The intelligence report was made public on Tuesday.
“We had a long talk … I know him relatively well. And the conversation started off, I said, ‘I know you and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.'”
Stephanopoulos asked Biden whether he thinks Putin is a killer, and Biden responded, “I do.”
Biden also indicated that he still supports the filibuster, but wants to bring back the “talking” version, in which lawmakers had to actually speak for hours on end to block legislation.
Stephanopoulos asked, “Aren’t you going to have to choose between preserving the filibuster and advancing your agenda?”
“Yes. But here’s the choice. I don’t think you have to eliminate the filibuster, you have to do it what it used to be when I got to the Senate,” Biden said. “…You had to stand up and command the floor. Once you stopped talking, you lost that and someone could say, ‘I move the question of.’ So you got to work for the filibuster.”
PREVIOUSLY: President Joe Biden said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should resign if an investigation confirms claims of sexual harassment.
Biden has stopped short of calling for Cuomo to step down immediately, something that other Democrats, like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, say should happen.
“If the investigation confirms the claims of the women, should he resign?” Stephanopoulos asked Biden.
“Yes,” Biden said, adding, “I think he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too.”
Seven women have made allegations against Cuomo, while the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, has launched an investigation. Cuomo denies the claims, and is calling for the investigation to be completed.
Per ABC News, Biden told Stephanopoulos that it “takes a lot of courage to come forward. So, the presumption is they should be taken seriously. And it should be investigated. And that’s what’s underway now.”
The interview will air on Good Morning America on Wednesday.
Biden also urged migrants and unaccompanied minors not to come to the southern border of the United States as his administration grapples with a surge.
“Don’t leave your town or city or community,” Biden said.
Republicans have blamed Biden for the situation at the border, claiming that it is due to more lax immigration policies.
But Biden said that “the idea that Joe Biden said, ‘Come’ — because I heard the other day that they’re coming because they know I’m a nice guy…Here’s the deal, they’re not.”