JIM ACOSTA: Mr. Vice President, thank you for sitting down with us for this interview.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: It is my pleasure, John. I am always glad to help CNN get the truth out there.
JA: It’s Jim, actually. Mr. Vice President, I’d like to begin by saying that many people consider you the most effective vice president in the history of the United States. Can you tell us why you think that is?
JB: Well, Jerry, you know, I believe that part of the reason for my incredible effectiveness is that under President . . . the . . . President . . . under the president at the time, we got to accomplish a great many things. We did things . . . um . . . yeah . . . things that nobody even thought were possible. We worked together with Congress to pass legislation . . . many voted for it . . . I voted for it too . . . Actually, no, I couldn’t vote for it, because I wasn’t in the Senate anymore . . . but it was . . . that one . . . laws that mattered to the American people. To real people! We also worked with the House and the Senate, and not just with Congress, to try to reach a bipartisan consensus on a number of issues.
JA: Mr. Vice President, you called me Jerry, but my name is Jim. But that’s not important right now. What would you say was your key accomplishment during your time as vice president?
JB: Well, Jared, I would say that the key accomplishment would be . . . er . . . Let me get back to that in a minute, but first, let me just say that I think it is terrific that you are now deployed at the White House. I watch you all the time, and I think you are a fabulous reporter. When you stand outside the White House and do your thing about the Trump Administration, I am sure many Americans find it inspiring.
JA: My name is actually Jim, but never mind that. Thank you, Mr. Vice President, for your kind words.
JB: No, thank you, Jeremy, for the invaluable work that you’re doing, keeping the current president on his toes.
JA: And, Mr. Vice President, what can you tell us about being tough on China?
JB: Why, Joseph, I am glad you asked! Donald Trump absolutely needs to get tough on China! And we need a vice president who will put the country first! I mean, president, not vice president! I will be the toughest president on China ever! I know China like the back of my hand, I’ve been there once. Maybe even twice, I can’t remember now. And my son also knows China, he’s done business with the Chinese. So my family knows better than anyone how to be tough on China! I am serious!
JA: Mr. Vice President, there has been recent news from Ukraine, where Ukraine says that you are probably not involved in the latest bribery scandal involving Burisma Holdings. What can you tell us about that?
JB: Er . . . Umm . . . Ukraine? What..? . . . Ahh . . . Did you say “Ukraine”?
JA: Yes, Ukraine. Not that we at CNN have any doubts about your impeccable ethics, but do you wish to take this opportunity to confirm that you were not, in fact, involved in the latest Burisma corruption scandal in Ukraine?
JB: Ukraine? Did you just ask me about Ukraine, Jeff?
JA: Right. Ukraine. And my name actually is . . . never mind, Mr. Vice President. You were saying, about Ukraine?
JB: Look, Jamie, here’s the deal. I have never had anything to do with Ukraine. Period. Never. It never happened. I don’t even remember meeting her, and I am pretty sure that if she worked for me all those years ago, I would never . . . ahh . . . do what she said I did. And just for the record, I already apologized for those things. I mean, before, I apologized for things before. But if I made her uncomfortable, it was never my intention.
JA: Mr. Vice President, that certainly sounds pretty definitive. Let’s see Trump try and argue with that! Now, turning to the other news, how can you reassure the American people that you are the best post-COVID-19 choice?
JB: Well, Jack, that’s kind of a presumpt[ious] thing for me to say, for me to answer. I . . . Ahh . . . Er . . . Umm . . . we went through, our administration, uh . . . You know, that other virus, the H1N1 virus from Argentina. We also dealt with the whole pandemic that was in Africa. Kept it under control by, you know, doing what I urged the president to do months ago and he’s doing now, getting the U.S. military in building hospitals.
JA: Mr. Vice President, what would you do differently, if you were president today?
JB: Jason, it is important to remember that we face the battle for the, you know, the soul of our nation. I, you know, but I think that, you know—I think if there’s an election, if there was an election, if people—depending how many show up for the election, I think I might have done well, and maybe do well in the future, but who knows . . .
JA: Right, but what specifically would you do differently?
JB: Um, you know, Justin, there’s a . . . uh . . . yes . . . during World War . . . II, uh, you know, where Roosevelt came up with a thing that uh, you know, was totally different than a . . . than the, the, it’s called, he’s called it a . . . you know, the World War II, he had the World, the War Production Board.
JA: So what you’re saying is that we need to invoke the Defense Production Act?
JB: Exactly! Jesse, you took the words right out of my mouth! And . . . ahh . . . the sooner we do it, the better!
JA: Mr. Vice President, my name is . . . forget it. Can you be more specific about what you would do with the Defense Production Act, if you were president?
JB: Well, Jamal, we would definitely use it to make more supplies. This virus, the . . . virus, it’s very . . . viral, as you know. It’s gone completely viral. And we need to utilize all our capacity to deal with it. It’s because it is so . . . umm . . . dangerous, that it is critical that we use the DPA to handle it.
JA: I see.
JB: And let me be clear about something. Donald Trump is literally—literally!—failing at taking charge of the cor . . . cor . . . the virus pandemic. We still don’t have enough masks. And gloves. Many Americans have to go out, and wear only the mask they had at home. People tell me there are even shortages of toilet paper. Imagine that! These past few months, you know, I myself have had to economize, and use 6 squares, instead of my usual 9! It’s outrageous that the president hasn’t addressed the toilet paper issue, despite having all the time in the world to do so. No joke!
JA: Mr. Vice President, you’re certainly right to be angry. Now, can you talk to us about the “Defund the Police” issue?
JB: Jordan, I am glad you brought that up. I have been clear from day one, when I was elected to the Senate, that we need a police that is funded with honorableness and dignitiness. Wait, is that a real word? Hmm . . . Ahh . . . I mean, dignity. Yes . . . Dignity. The “Defund the Police” movement is long overdue, and that is why I support the principles behind the movement, but . . . ahh . . . er . . . I don’t fully support the methods. And I don’t quite agree with its objectives, either. Ahh . . . What I am trying to say is that while we have police that do those things, we need more of those other things from our police, not the first things, but the second things. Our men and women in blue, and . . . er . . . and any transgendered individuals in blue . . . deserve our support, while we defund them so that we can fund them better.
JA: Mr. Vice President, do you have any specific reforms in mind for the police?
JB: Absolutely, Jeb. I definitely have some ideas . . . I think . . . I think . . . it is critical that the police, when they shoot somebody, they shoot them in the leg. Preferably the right leg—not the left leg. Many deaths could be avoided if we teach our policemen to shoot suspects in their right leg. They should always aim for the right leg.
JA: You’ve said that this is a battle for the soul of the nation. What do you mean by that?
JB: Juan, I’ve said that from the outset of this election—that we are in a battle for the soul of this nation.
JA: Yes, but what exactly does that mean, to you?
JB: Jake, it is about who we are. And we are . . . er . . . we are . . . Americans! We’re definitely Americans! We’re good people, except, of course, for those 15 or 30 percent who aren’t good people. The battle is about what we believe. And we believe that . . . I don’t . . . what it is, that we believe . . . And maybe most important—who we want to be. It’s all at stake! That’s what the battle is all about.
JA: My name is actually Jim, but never mind that. Mr. Vice President, America is in a crisis. Do you think that between Trump and Coronavirus, our democracy will survive?
JB: Jonathan, we cannot let this, we’ve never allowed any crisis from the Civil War straight through to the pandemic of 17, all the way around, 16, we have never, never let our democracy take second fiddle, we can both have a democracy and . . . correct the public health. So I promise the American people that our democracy will be the example of the pandemic, for which we will find a cure. And once we find it, we will successfully deal with the numbers . . . the numbers . . . they are very numerous. With 120 million Americans dead from the virus, not counting the 700 million unemployed American women, that’s a lot of dead people.
JA: I understand. At least, I think I understand . . . Sort of . . . Now, Mr. Vice President, do you have a favorite news network you like to watch?
JB: Of course, Jay. CNN is definitely one of my favorites. And let me tell you something—I just love the way you present the . . . the . . . the presentation of . . . the news. Most people couldn’t do the job that you do, I am sure.
JA: Now, you’ve released a statement on Juneteenth.
JB: I did?
JA: Yes, Mr. Vice President. Can you elaborate a bit on the meaning of Juneteenth to our nation?
JB: Umm . . . Juneteenth?
JA: Yes. June 19.
JB: Why, what happened on June 19? I . . . don’t remember anything unusual happening on June 19. Do you?
JA: Ahh . . . Umm . . . Right. Let’s move on to another subject. Everyone is on the edge of his seat, trying to guess about whom you will pick as your running mate. What can you tell us about your deliberations?
JB: Josh, let me just be clear about something. I want to be the first major presidential candidate to pick a woman as a running mate. For the first time in history, we’ll have a woman on the ticket. I can’t remember this ever happening before. I can’t go into specifics, but I am looking for someone who will be ready from day one, to assume the presidency, should the need arise. There are a number of highly qualified people, such as Amy Klobuchar and Stacey Abrams, for example . . .
JA: Umm . . . Sir, Senator Klobuchar took herself out of consideration the other day.
JB: She did? That’s weird . . . Nobody told me . . . Well, Jackie, I guess we have Stacey Abrams, then . . . She is still in the running, isn’t she? She hasn’t taken herself out of consideration, has she?
JA: Not to my knowledge, sir.
JB: Oh, good. Julian, the fact of the matter is, the single most important quality I am looking for is that they need to be a woman, I was even thinking of maybe a trans woman, and their skin needs to be a darker shade than mine. You know, we need to be inclusive!
JA: So you might be the first major party candidate to pick a trans woman as your running mate?
JA: Any potential names you can share with us?
JB: Um . . . No, not at the moment, but it would be even better if he was a black trans woman. I mean, she. Or is it xe? Right . . . We’re still looking, as you know. We’re looking at some resumes. Yes.
JA: Mr. Vice President, what message would you like to send to our young people?
JB: Look, Jonah, you have an entire generation of young people beginning back in, in two thou . . . when, when, the attack occurred on 9/11, in 2011, that were in fact behind the eight ball from the time they got out of school. And we need to provide them with . . . ahh . . . umm . . . with jobs, and with other things.
JA: Well, Mr. Vice President, it has certainly been great to talk to you again.
JB: Thank you, Julius. It’s always good to be with you.