Biden town hall
February 16, 2021

President Biden reiterated Tuesday night that he does not want to "defund the police," but rather "put more money in police work so we have legitimate community policing" that keeps neighborhoods safe.

Biden was asked about policing and sentencing during CNN town hall in Milwaukee. It's time to change the laws, Biden said, because "no one should go to jail for a drug offense. No one should go to jail for the use of a drug. They should go to drug rehabilitation." People need to learn skills so they can have a profession when they get out, he continued, and they should not be denied opportunities for housing and education.

Law enforcement officers need to better understand the residents of the communities they serve, Biden said, and vice versa. "Every cop, when they get up in the morning and put on that shield, has the right to expect to go home to their family that night. Conversely every kid walking across the street wearing a hoodie is not a member of a gang and is about to knock somebody off," he said. "It's about education." Catherine Garcia

February 16, 2021

White supremacists are the greatest domestic terrorism threat in the U.S., President Biden said Tuesday night during a CNN town hall in Milwaukee, and the Justice Department and its civil rights Division are "focused heavily on those very folks."

Biden said he takes the rise of white supremacy seriously, and the Justice Department is focusing on how to deal with the problem while also looking at the impact it is having on groups like the military and former law enforcement personnel.

White supremacy is a "bane on our existence," Biden said, and people who espouse it are "demented" and "dangerous." Catherine Garcia

February 16, 2021

President Biden on Tuesday night told a socially distanced CNN town hall audience in Milwaukee that by the end of July, every American who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to get one.

The United States will have more than 600 million doses by that time, Biden said, and there will be an increased number of vaccinators. When it comes to reopening schools, Biden said he hopes most K-8 campuses will be open by the end of his first 100 days in office, and the "goal will be five days a week." He noted it will be harder to open high schools because of the contagion factor, and said he wants to see teachers vaccinated soon. "We should move them up the hierarchy," he stated.

To help get more people of color vaccinated, Biden said there will be mobile vaccination units deployed and $1 billion will be spent on public education, to help show Americans how to sign up to receive the vaccine. An audience member told Biden her son has pediatric chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and so far is not eligible for the vaccine. She asked when people with ailments like his could get vaccinated, and Biden said while he can make suggestions, "the states make the decisions." He told her if she stayed after the town hall, he would talk to her more and see if he could help her son.

When asked when things might return to "normal," Biden cautioned that he doesn't want to "overpromise anything here," but is hopeful that by "next Christmas" the country could be under "a very different circumstance." He urged people to continue to wear masks, wash their hands, and practice social distancing, because taking those steps will help keep people safe. Catherine Garcia

October 16, 2020

When it comes to President Trump's foreign policy, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is willing to give him "a little" credit on exactly one thing.

During Thursday night's ABC News town hall in Philadelphia, a Republican voter told Biden that "Arabs and Israelis are talking peace, which I believe is a modern day miracle ... does President Trump's foreign policy deserve some credit?" Biden quickly responded, "A little, but not a whole lot."

Because of Trump, he said, the U.S. is still in a position where "we're more isolated in the world than we've ever been. ... America First has made America alone." Iran is "closer to having enough nuclear material to build a bomb," he continued, while "North Korea has more bombs and missiles available to it" and China is "making moves." All of this means the U.S. is "less secure than we've been," Biden said.

"I do compliment the president on the deal with Israel recently," Biden added, but this didn't do anything to help Trump's standing in the world. Surveys show that when it comes to being trustworthy, Trump comes in behind Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden said, and Trump routinely applauds totalitarian regimes and "embraces all the thugs in the world." The president, Biden finished, has "no plan. No coherent plan for foreign policy." Catherine Garcia

October 15, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was asked on Thursday night whether he supports expanding the Supreme Court, and the former vice president said he has been wary of discussing the matter because it plays into President Trump and the Republican Party's hands, changing the narrative and distracting from major issues.

"No matter what answer I give you, if I say it, that's the headline tomorrow," he said during the ABC News town hall in Philadelphia. "It won't be about what's going on now, the improper way they are proceeding."

Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, will almost certainly be confirmed before Nov. 3, giving Republicans a 6-3 majority. Biden said her hearings should not have been held so close to the presidential election, and while he is "not a fan" of court-packing, his course of action will depend on how Republicans handle the confirmation.

Biden also reminded town hall viewers that voting is "your opportunity to get involved in lifetime appointments. Presidents come and go, justices stay and stay and stay." Catherine Garcia

October 15, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has a plan — albeit a not too hopeful one — for his potential loss to President Trump.

During his Thursday town hall with ABC News, a voter asked Biden how he would fight for a "more perfect union" should he lose the 2020 election. "To be honest with you, I think that's very hard," Biden said, as Trump doesn't seem to learn from mistakes or criticism — or even his impeachment.

Still, Biden said he would return to being a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and keep "focusing on ... what constitutes decency and honor in this country. It's the thing that got me involved in public life to begin with." Biden continued his point by talking about race, declaring "everyone's entitled to be treated with dignity," and that's something he'd fight for as "a defeated candidate for president" or in the White House.

Moderator George Stephanopoulos then asked Biden what a loss would tell him "about where America is today." "It could say that I'm a lousy candidate, that I didn't do a good job," Biden responded. "But I hope that it doesn't say we're as racially, ethnically, and religiously at odds with one another as it appears the president wants us to be."

Kathryn Krawczyk

October 15, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Thursday night he will be able to keep his pledge of not raising taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year while still repealing President Trump's tax cuts.

A Republican voter asked Biden about this during an ABC News town hall in Philadelphia, and the former vice president said $1.3 trillion of the $2 trillion in Trump's tax cuts went to the country's wealthiest — "the top 1/10th of 1 percent. That's what I'm talking about eliminating, not all the tax cuts that are out there."

Biden said that if the corporate tax rate is raised back to 28 percent, "which is a fair tax, you'd raise $1,300,000,000 by that one act. If you made sure people making over $400,000 paid what they did in the Bush administration, 39.6 percent, you'd raise another ... $92 billion."

Moderator George Stephanopoulos asked Biden if the economy could handle these tax increases as it tries to recover from the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Biden responded that Moody's conducted an analysis of his tax plan and found it would create 18.6 million jobs and raise the GDP by a trillion dollars, and he would invest "a great deal" into "infrastructure and green infrastructure."

Biden also got in a jab at Trump, saying that he "talks about a V-shaped recovery. It's a K-shaped recovery. If you're on the top, you're going to do very well. ... If you're at the bottom, or you're in the middle or the bottom, your income is coming down. You're not getting a raise." Catherine Garcia

October 15, 2020

During Thursday night's ABC News town hall with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, a Republican voter asked the former vice president about the 1994 crime bill he supported, and what he thinks about it now.

"Things have changed drastically," Biden responded. "That crime bill, when we voted, the black caucus voted for it, every black mayor supported it across the board." Moderator George Stephanopoulos asked Biden if it was a mistake to back the bill, and he said "yes, it was," adding, "the mistake came in terms of what the states did locally. What we did federally, we said it was — you remember, George, it was all about the same time for the same crime."

Stephanopoulos mentioned that Biden previously said if there are more police officers, crime goes down. Biden said this works if the police officers are involved in "community policing and not jump squads. We had community policing from the mid-'90s on until [former President George W.] Bush got elected, what happened? Violent crime actually went down."

Biden said if there are calls where mental health is an issue, psychologists should accompany police officers, and cops must also receive de-escalation training. "So instead of anybody coming at you and the first thing you do is shoot to kill, you shoot them in the leg," he said. Catherine Garcia

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