Joe Biden in 2019-2020 Town Halls


On Civil Rights: I've benefited from white privilege, & been looked down upon

Q: [In interviews for the new book "Rage", author] Bob Woodward asked President Trump about whether he benefited from white privilege. And the President said, "no, I don't feel that way at all." Have you benefited from white privilege?

BIDEN: Sure, I've benefited just because I don't have to go through what my black brothers and sisters have had to go through, #1. But #2, growing up in Scranton, we're used to guys who look down their nose at us. People who look at us and think that we're suckers; they think that we're not equivalent to them. "If you didn't have a college degree, you must be stupid." If in fact, you didn't get to go to an Ivy school. Well, I tell you, it bothered me. When you guys started talking on television about Biden, "if he wins, he'll be the first person without an Ivy League degree to be elected president." I think, "who the hell makes you think I have to have an Ivy League degree to be president?" Guys like me, were the first in my family to go to college.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Civil Rights: People have the right to protest peacefully

Q: You've called the President's rallies irresponsible. Yet you praised peaceful protesting this summer? What is the difference when it comes to COVID safety?

BIDEN: I think COVID safety is a problem no matter where people are if they don't have masks on. The context of praising people who protest peacefully, is--there was a question of right to speak, not to loot, not to burn, not to do anything that causes damage. The right to speak out makes sense, but there is a big difference between people walking, moving along, and people sitting down cheek to jowl, shoulder to shoulder, a thousand of them breathing on one another indoors.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Civil Rights: Military should not deal with domestic unrest

Q: What about calling in the National Guard to deal with Black Lives Matters protests? Regarding the violent protests in several cities?

BIDEN: I've condemned every form of violence, no matter what the source is. It is simply wrong to engage the military, in dealing with domestic unrest as a consequence of people protesting. We can take care of this. It can be taken care of-- we took care of in our administration. There's no need to escalate this.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Crime: Bring stakeholders together to agree on police reforms

I will bring together police chiefs, police officers, the union people, the African-American leadership, the communities, brown communities, the civil rights leadership to sit at the table and agree on basic fundamental things that are have to be done, including more rigorous background checks on those who apply to become police officers, teach people how to de-escalate, making sure you have psychologists and psychiatrists available.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Education: $100B for school ventilation; part of $1T for infrastructure

Q: How you will make sure our communities are protected from the results of global warming?

BIDEN: I have laid out in detail what I'll do, and I'm going to see to it that I said we get to a net zero power grid by 2035. No president can [instantly] turn around and change what we're doing. We're going to get to net zero emissions by the year 2050 before. In the meantime, there's so much we can do and still make it better for people. We're going to invest in close to a trillion dollars over time in the near time for infrastructure. We're going to build green infrastructure. For example, I propose that we spend $100 billion on making sure our schools have the right the right ventilation, [to ensure that] your schools, in fact, are safe. Making sure schools are in a position where they are not generating the use of more energy. We're going to build back buildings that vastly cut down on the amount of fossil fuels that we use.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Energy & Oil: Allow fracking, but get to net zero emissions by 2050

Q: Do you support the continuation of fracking--safely and with proper guidelines--and growing the industry?

BIDEN: Yes, I do. I do. In addition to that, right now [there are] thousands of uncapped wells because a lot of companies have gone out of business, whether they're gas or oil facilities. We can put to work right away 250,000 people from iron workers and other disciplines, making union wages. Capping those wells that are leaking methane and their danger to the community.

Q: You said you won't ban fracking but did you wanted to gradually move away from it ultimately. Why should it fracking continue at all?

BIDEN: Well, fracking has to continue because we have transition, we're going to get to net zero emissions by 2050. And we'll get to net zero power admissions by 2035. But there's no rationale to eliminate right now fracking, number one. Number two, those jobs are out there, whether it's an iron worker, or a steel worker.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Energy & Oil: When I hear global warming, I think jobs

When Trump thinks about global warming, he thinks "hoax." When I hear global warming, I think "jobs." I'm going to make sure that we have 500,000 charging stations in our highways so we can all the electric car market, creating a million jobs and we can lead the world. And in Detroit, we can lead the world and making sure we move to electric vehicles.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Environment: Green New Deal is in platform and it's not too much

Q: Are you a firm supporter of the Green New Deal? Or do you think it's too much, too goes too far?

BIDEN: Oh, I don't think it's too much. Now, I have my own deal. I've laid it out in great detail. [The Green New Deal] was the Democratic Party's adopted platform. It requires for us to move in a direction to fundamentally change the way in which we deal with environment. I'm the guy that ran the Recovery Act which invested over $90 billion in bringing down the cost of renewable energy. So it's now more competitive than it is for coal, or for oil, or for gas. And by the way, before I actually went through the whole thing. I sat down with every one of the major unions, they all endorsed me. And I said, "look, this is good. It's not only good for the environment, it's going to provide jobs and you're not going to lose your jobs. Not producing the same energy producing different kind of energy."

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Environment: WOTUS: clean water rules create rural jobs

Q: Obama Administration policies such as the rules under the Waters of the U.S. Act (WOTUS) threatened to increase regulation. How do you plan to decrease the regulatory burden for farmers and businesses?

BIDEN: On regulation that relates to fertilizer and water tables: In Delaware, we have a $4 billion poultry industry, and all the manure, a consequence of chickens, is polluting the Chesapeake Bay. We've invested a lot of money, and we found out you can pelletize this and take out the methane, so you can use that fertilizer without the damage that was being done before. The same way with horse manure and cow manure and pig manure. And we can create thousands of jobs in rural America as a consequence of setting up these small industries within communities. That's the way you'll be able to continue to farm without worrying about whether or not you're polluting, & be in a position where you're able to make money by what you do in the transition as well as be able to grow more.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Environment: Pay to put farmland in land banks, for open space & carbon

Q: Over-regulation puts an extreme burden on small- and family-owned farms, and is a contributing factor to many farms going out of business.

BIDEN: Two ways. Number one, we should provide for your ability to make a lot more money, as farmers, by dealing with you being able to put land in land banks, and you get paid to do that to provide for more open space and provide for the ability of you to be able to be in a position that we are going to pay you for planting certain crops that in fact absorb carbon from the air. That's part of what my plan relates to, in terms of agriculture and the environment. But if you are talking about regulation that relates to fertilizer and water tables, that's a different thing [and requires regulation].

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Foreign Policy: Russia is an opponent, not an enemy

Q: The FBI Director said that Russia has been "very active in its efforts to influence the election & denigrate" you.

BIDEN: Putin knows me; the reason he doesn't want me as president: he knows I mean it [when I say that Russia] attempting to interfere with our election is a violation of our sovereignty. I don't mean war. But they'll pay a price. They'll pay a price for it, and it'll be an economic price. I've made it clear, early on, there will be a price to pay. And if it's done again, which it appears to be being done, there will be a price to pay.

Q: Can you be more specific? What is the price to pay?

BIDEN: It wouldn't be prudent for me to be more specific. But I assure you, they will pay a price.

Q: Do you believe Russia is an enemy?

BIDEN: I believe Russia is an opponent. I really do. Putin's overwhelming objective is to break up NATO, to fundamentally alter the circumstance in Europe, so he doesn't have to face an entire NATO contingent, any one country he is stronger than.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Free Trade: China is a competitor, not an opponent

Q: Do you believe Russia is an enemy?

BIDEN: I believe Russia is an opponent.

Q: Do you view China as an opponent? The President says you've been too cozy with China, too accepting of them in the international community.

BIDEN: I'm not that guy. We now have a larger trade deficit than we've ever had with China. [Trump in a negative way] keeps going on about the World Trade Organization; they just ruled that his trade policy violated [WTO rules with its tariffs on China]. In our Administration, when the WTO [was dealing with China], we sued. We went to the World Trade Organization 16 times, 16 times.

Q: Do you view China as an opponent?

BIDEN: I view China as a competitor.

Q: Competitor?

BIDEN: A serious competitor. That's why, I think, we have to strengthen our relationships and our alliances in Asia. As you may recall, when I was in China, I said to Xi, "We're going to abide by international norms. That's what we're going to do and insist that they do."

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Free Trade: China unfairly competes with state-owned enterprises

Q: How would you address China's unfair trade policies?

BIDEN: I would make it clear, just as we did in our Administration, that when they use state-owned enterprises, which is what they're doing, state-owned enterprises, to undercut the price that they can charge, to be able to come and compete with American manufacturing, that they would be denied that opportunity. I would also make it clear that if any of that is being purchased by any government agency, that we will not purchase anything that is not made in America, including the downriver line of what has to be done, all the parts.

Q: What would you do differently from President Trump?

BIDEN: You can't do where he's given a tax break to companies that go overseas, and then import the product back into the United States, even though their headquarters is here, the chain goes overseas, and they bring it back in cheaper, than you being able to produce it. I'm going to make sure that it's made in America.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper Sep 17, 2020

On Free Trade: FactCheck: Yes, US has tried "Buy American" for 100 years

Biden claimed about his proposed "Buy American" policy that "We've been talking about this policy for a 100 years. We've never fully done it. We can and must do it now." Is that claim true?

Yes, it's true. Some examples: