President Biden covered a wide range of topics in an interview with 60 Minutes broadcast Sunday night, discussing foreign policy, the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago, his ideas on running for re-election, inflation, and the COVID-19 pandemic. "The president made news and will ignite a few controversies," host Scott Pelley predicted.
One area where Biden surprised administration officials, The Washington Post reports, is with his comments on COVID-19. Pelley, noting that he and Biden were walking through the first Detroit Auto Show in three years, asked if the pandemic is over. "The pandemic is over," Biden said. "We still have a problem with COVID. We're still doing a lotta work on it. But the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one's wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it's changing. And I think this is a perfect example of it."
"The administration for months has maintained that the virus is on the retreat, citing the growing availability of vaccines, tests, and treatments to fight it and the population's expanding immunity," the Post reports, but about 400 Americans are still dying each day from the disease. And there would be policy implications if Biden declared an end to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
"We are not there yet, but the end is in sight," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said of the pandemic last week.
Biden also told Pelley he intends to run for re-election, but hasn't made a "firm decision" yet.
And Biden reiterated that he was given no heads-up about the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump's Florida residence and club. When he saw the photo of the top secret documents Trump evidently was keeping in his office, Biden said, he thought, "How that could possibly happen. How anyone could be that irresponsible. And I thought, What data was in there that may compromise sources and methods?"
Biden said he is deliberately staying out of the case. "I have not asked for the specifics of those documents because I don't want to get myself in the middle of whether or not the Justice Department should move or not move on certain actions they could take," he said. "I agreed I would not tell them what to do and not, in fact, engage in telling them how to prosecute or not."