‘Give Me a Break’ ‘Pal!’ Stephanopoulos Obeys Biden, Grants Gentle Interview

President Biden allowed a rare one-on-one interview with ABC journalist and former Bill Clinton aide, George Stephanopoulos, this week. Given how much Biden has hidden from the media, you would think a serious journalist like Stephanopoulos would be ready with some hard-hitting questions. But the much-hyped interview that aired on Wednesday’s Good Morning America was a snooze fest, filled with gentle softballs and predictable pushes from the left instead.

After some softballs, Stephanopoulos started to press the president as gently as possible on his out of control border crisis. 

But once Biden defended the radical increase in illegal immigration at the border by saying surges happened the past two years as well, Stephanopoulos just let Biden’s spin and lame defense slide [click “expand”]:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Right now and a lot of the migrants coming in saying they’re coming in because you promised to make things better. It seems to be getting worse by the day. Was it a mistake not to anticipate this surge? 

BIDEN: Well, first of all, there was a surge the last two years in ’19 and ’20 there was a surge as well. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: This one might be worse. 

BIDEN: It could be but here’s the deal, first of all, 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 and I — 

STEPHANOPOULOS: They’re saying this. 

BIDEN: Well, here’s the deal. They’re not. The adults are being sent back, number one. Number two, what do you do with an unaccompanied child that comes to the border? Do you repeat what Trump did, take them from their mothers and hold them in cells, et cetera? We’re not doing that…

Stephanopoulos also helped Biden sell his tax plan, even giving the “thumbs up” gesture to the president’s tax hikes:

STEPHANOPOULOS: You are out here selling your COVID relief package. Your’e executing the COVID relief package as well. What’s next on your agenda?

BIDEN: If you notice the criticism of the COVID relief package from my Republican friends, as they say it spends too much money and gives too many tax breaks. All of these tax breaks go to the bottom 60% of the population and guess what, they need it. $1400 check. Child care tax credit. They don’t like it because, in fact, their idea of a tax cut is to give the Trump tax cut where 83% went to the top 1% of people in America.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re going to be raising those taxes? [gives thumbs up]

BIDEN: Yes, anybody making more than $400,000 will see a small to a significant tax increase. If you made less than $400,000 you won’t see one single penny in additional federal tax. 

Stephanopoulos might as well be working for the Biden administration. He did not bring up any criticisms towards the president’s tax plan, which alone is estimated to cost over 100,000 jobs (beyond his job-killing climate agenda.) Furthermore, the journalist let Biden’s lies about taxing only the wealthy stand, without correction, despite Stephanopoulos’s own colleague Jonathan Karl reporting otherwise on Stephanopoulos’s own Sunday show, last October! 

Immediately after this, he pushed Biden from the left, questioning why he was trying to work with Republicans. Which caused Biden’s belligerent side to come out. He chided the journalist, “Give me a break, pal!” 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk raw politics here. You didn’t get a single Republican vote for tax cuts. How are you going to get a Republican vote for a tax increase?

(…)

STEPHANOPOULOS: You just said you’re not likely to get Republican votes for the increase. You’re not likely to get Republicans votes for H.R.1, expanding voting rights or the John Lewis Voting Rights Act so won’t you have to choose? I know you’ve been reluctant to do away with the filibuster, aren’t you going to have to choose between preserving the filibuster and advancing your agenda?

(…)

BIDEN: Yeah, it almost is getting to the point where democracy is having a hard time functioning. I’m not saying this is going to be easy, George. But I do believe there’s enough Republicans over time–

STEPHANOPOULOS: They haven’t had that epiphany. You – said –you were going to see in the beginning– 

BIDEN: I’ve only been here six weeks, pal. Give me a break. [camera pans to Stephanopoulos grinning] I’ve been here six weeks [chuckling]. I think it will come between now and 2022…

Following instructions, Stephanopoulos ended the interview by praising Biden as probably the “most experienced” president who’s ever served,” and asking about his…pet.

“One final question. Is Major out of the doghouse?” Stephanopoulos grinned. The extremely serious question even earned a followup: “You’re going to see him tonight?”

ABC’s gentle treatment of President Biden was paid for by sponsor Consumer Cellular. Contact them at the Conservatives Fight Back page here. 

Read the transcript below:

Good Morning America

3/17/2021

7:03 AM EST

PART 1:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’ve set out goals for your country, 100 million vaccine doses by next week. $100 million out the door. Every American eligible for the vaccine by — adult American by May 1st. Something close to normal on July 4th but tell everyone when is everything going to be normal for Americans? 

JOE BIDEN: First of all, I won’t be able to meet the July 4th deadline unless people listen, wear masks, wash their hands and socially distance because not everyone by July 4th will have been vaccinated. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you get the politics out of this vaccine talk? 

BIDEN: I honest to God thought we had it out. I honest to God thought that once we guaranteed we had enough vaccine for everybody, things would start to calm down. Well, they have calmed down a great deal. But I just don’t understand this sort of macho thing about I’m not going to get the vaccine. I have a right as a an American, my freedom to not do it. Why not be a patriot and protect other people? 

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about discussing the positive. How has life changed for you since you got the vaccine? 

BIDEN: I can hug my grandkids now. They come over to the house. I can see them. I’m able to be with them. I’ve had the vaccine and secondly it has changed my life in a sense that I’ve been able to demonstrate to other people that –I doubt whether people expect me to take it if I didn’t think it was safe– to make the case it is safe to take the vaccine. It’s important to take the vaccine. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about the crisis at the border. Some heartbreaking scenes down there. 

BIDEN: Yeah. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Right now and a lot of the migrants coming in saying they’re coming in because you promised to make things better. It seems to be getting worse by the day. Was it a mistake not to anticipate this surge? 

BIDEN: Well, first of all, there was a surge the last two years in ’19 and ’20 there was a surge as well. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: This one might be worse. 

BIDEN: It could be but here’s the deal, first of all, 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 and I — 

STEPHANOPOULOS: They’re saying this. 

BIDEN: Well, here’s the deal. They’re not. The adults are being sent back, number one. Number two, what do you do with an unaccompanied child that comes to the border? Do you repeat what Trump did, take them from their mothers and hold them in cells, et cetera? We’re not doing that. So what we’re doing is we have brought in HHS and also brought in FEMA to provide for enough safe facilities for them to not — to get out of the control of the border patrol which are not designed to hold people for long periods of time especially children, get them out of those facilities and most come with a phone number. So what we’re doing is putting together an entire organizational structure so that within seven days they’re able to get on the phone, contact that number, find out whether there is a mother or a father, whether it is safe, whether it is a secure circumstance to get the child to that adult. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s going to take some time, though, to get those policies in place again. Do you have to say quite clearly don’t come? 

BIDEN: Yes, I can say quite clearly ‘don’t come.’ We’re in the process of getting set up and its not going to take a whole lot of time, to apply in asylum in place so don’t leave your town or city or community. We’re going to make sure we have facilities in those cities and towns run by DHS and also access with HHS, Health and Human Services to say, you can apply for asylum from where you are right now. Make your case. We’ll have people there to determine whether or not you are able to meet the requirements and you qualify for asylum. That’s the best way to do this. In addition to that, while we also changed the circumstances on the ground in those communities, you’re going to diminish the reason why people want to leave in the first place. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Director of National Intelligence came out with a report today saying Vladimir Putin authorized operations during the election to denigrate you, support President Trump, undermine our elections, divide our society. What price must he pay? 

BIDEN: He will pay a price. We had a long talk, he and I. 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: You said you know he doesn’t have a soul. 

BIDEN:I did say that to him yes, and his response was we understand one another. I wasn’t being a wise guy. I was alone with him in his office. That’s how it came about. It was when President Bush had said he looked in his eyes and saw his soul. I said I looked in your eyes and I don’t think you have a soul. He looked back and said we understand each other. The most important thing in dealing with foreign leaders in my experience and dealt with an awful lot over my career is just know the other guy. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you know Vladimir Putin. You think he is a killer? 

BIDEN: Uh-huh, I do. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what price must he pay? 

BIDEN: The price he’s going to pay, well, you’ll see shortly. I’m not going to — by the way, we ought to be able — that trite expression walk and chew gum at the same time? There are places where it’s in our mutual interest to work together. That’s why I renewed the start agreement with him. That occurred while he’s doing this but that’s overwhelming the interest of humanity that we diminish the prospect of a neutral exchange. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: President Trump reached a deal with the Taliban, have all American troops leave by May 1st. Are they going to leave? 

BIDEN: I’m in the process of making that decision now as to when they’ll leave. The fact is that that was not a very solidly negotiated deal that the president — the former president worked out and so we’re in consultation with our allies as well as the government and that decision is going to be — it’s in the process now. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Likely to take longer? 

BIDEN: I don’t think a lot longer. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: But May 1st is tough. 

BIDEN: Could happen but it is tough because — look, one of the drawbacks, George, and this is going to be like Sanskrit to people listening here but it is — the failure to have an orderly transition from the Trump presidency to my presidency which usually takes place from election day to the time you’re sworn in, has cost me time and consequences. For example, we didn’t realize how bad things were in terms of lack of vaccines. We were not able to get access to this information. That’s part of — that’s one of the issues we’re talking about now in terms of Afghanistan. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you about Governor Cuomo of New York. I know you said you want the investigation to continue. If the investigation confirms the claims of the women, should he resign? 

BIDEN: Yes, I think he probably will end up being prosecuted too. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: But do you — how about right now, you said you want the investigation to continue. You saw Chuck Schumer, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, the majority of the delegation don’t think he can be an effective governor right now. Can he serve effectively? 

BIDEN: That is a judgment for them to make in the state whether or not he can be effective. Here’s my position and it’s been my position since I wrote the Violence Against Women Act: a woman should be presumed to telling the truth and should not be scapegoated and become victimized by her coming forward. Number one. But there should be an investigation to determine whether what she says is true. That’s what’s going on now. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you’re being very clear if they prove the claims he’s gone? 

BIDEN: That’s what I think happens and by the way there could be a criminal prosecution that is attached to it. Let the investigation — I’m not — I don’t know what it is but I started with the presumption, it takes a lot of courage for a woman to come forward so the presumption is it should be taken seriously and investigated and that’s what’s under way now. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Toughest words there yet for Governor Cuomo right there. 

ROBERTS: He was very direct. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: On every single shall issue. We talked to him about a lot more. In the next hour we’ll get into the big next items like taxes and voter rights. The first time he talks about changing the filibuster and we also got an update on Major after that biting incident. 

ROBERTS: Out of the doghouse? 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Seems like it. Got to see him last night. 

….

PART 2 (8am hour)

STEPHANOPOULOS: First, more of my interview with President Biden. He has not done many interviews since he took office so we did cover a lot of ground including what’s next on his agenda in the face of Republican opposition on things like voting rights and tax increases on the wealthy. The president vowed to change the filibuster. The president talked about vice president Kamala Harris and his rescue dog Major. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: You are out here selling your COVID relief package. Your executing the COVID relief package as well. What’s next on your agenda?

BIDEN: If you notice the criticism of the COVID relief package from my Republican friends, as they say it spends too much money and gives too many tax breaks. All of these tax breaks go to the bottom 60% of the population and guess what, they need it. $1400 check. Child care tax credit. They don’t like it because, in fact, their idea of a tax cut is to give the Trump tax cut where 83% went to the top 1% of people in America.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re going to be raising those taxes. [puts thumb up]

BIDEN: Yes, anybody making more than $400,000 will see a small to a significant tax increase. If you made less than $400,000 you won’t see one single penny in additional federal tax. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk raw politics here. You didn’t get a single Republican vote for tax cuts. How are you going to get a Republican vote for a tax increase?

BIDEN: I won’t get it but I will get the Democratic votes for a tax increase. If we just took it back to what it was when Bush was president, top rate paid 39.6% in federal tax, that would raise $230 billion. Yet they’re complaining because I’m providing a tax credit for child care? For the poor, for the middle class? 

STEPHANOPOULOS: You just said You’re not likely to get Republican votes for the increase. You’re not likely to get Republicans votes for HR1, expanding voting rights or the John Lewis voting rights act so won’t you have to choose? I know you’ve been reluctant to do away with the filibuster, aren’t you going to have to choose between preserving the filibuster and advancing your agenda?

BIDEN: Yes. But here’s the thing. You don’t have to eliminate but when I first got to the Senate, the filibuster, you had to stand up and command the floor, once you stop talking you lost that and someone could move in and say I move the question of. So you got to work for the filibuster. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re for that reform. You’re for bringing back the talking filibuster. 

BIDEN: I am. That’s what it was supposed to be. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Just put a hold on it. That’s it. 

BIDEN: Yeah, it almost is getting to the point where democracy is having a hard time functioning. I’m not saying this is going to be easy, George. But I do believe there’s enough Republicans over time–

STEPHANOPOULOS: They haven’t had that epiphany. You – said –you were going to see in the beginning– 

BIDEN: I’ve only been here six weeks, pal. Give me a break. [camera pans to Stephanopoulos grinning] I’ve been here six weeks [chuckling]. I think it will come between now and 2022. 78% of people support this. 52% of Republicans — Republican voters want to be able to choose between being able to send their kid to a daycare that they can afford. It’s not like every Republican voter is, you know, a billionaire!

STEPHANOPOULOS: You probably walked into the Oval Office as President with about as much experience if not more than any other president has ever served more than three decades in the Senate. Eight years as Vice President. So what is it about the job that surprised you that even you didn’t know? 

BIDEN: What has surprised me is that I’m not as surprised as I thought I might be. I don’t know if that makes any sense. It’s like sitting — when I was Vice President, the big, big difference is, that famous expression of Harry Truman, the buck stops here. For eight years, I had a great relationship and still do with Barack and I’d always be the last person in the room and I’d say, you know, throw the pass or run the ball and I’d give my opinion. I was the last guy and I get to leave but he’s all by himself, to have to make that decision. That’s the big difference. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is Vice President Harris the last person in the room? 

BIDEN: Most of the time, yes, as a practical matter, yeah, she is. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: One final question. 

BIDEN: Sure. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is Major out of the doghouse? 

BIDEN: Yeah, the answer is yes. [chuckling] Major was a rescue pup. Major did not bite someone and penetrate the skin and the dog’s being trained now. Our trainer at home in Delaware. He was going home — I didn’t banish him to home. Jill was going to be away for four days, I was going to be away for two so we took him home but you turn the corner and there’s two people he doesn’t know at all and you know, they move — he moves to protect but he is a sweet dog. 85% of the people love him. All he does is lick them and wag his tail.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re going to see him tonight?

BIDEN: I will see him tonight. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. President Thanks for your time. 

BIDEN: Thank you George. I appreciate it. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: He went home to Wilmington to spend a night at home. 

ROBERTS: You have covered him for years and first time you interviewed him as president. Did you notice a difference? 

STEPHANOPOULOS: I did, very different from the end of the campaign and I guess the best word I could use is confidence. He seemed a little tired at the end of the campaign. It was obviously a long grueling campaign but he seems eager to be doing this job and you saw him right there gave very direct answers to direct questions. 

STRAHAN: Seems to be relaxed doing it. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah. 

STRAHAN: All right, great job, George. Great job. 

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