60 minutes: Trump, Biden exclusive interviews, nine days until election

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(WIVB-TV) – President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, and their running mates, sat down for one-on-one interviews that aired nationwide on Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutes. The following is a summary of the hour-long show.

The hour began with Trump lauding America’s economic recovery so far. Some accomplishments, including the slow crawl back from the height of pandemic unemployment, are true.

“What’s a priority? Those are all the good things. What do you have to solve,” Lesley Stahl asked President Trump.

“The priority now is to get back to normal. Get back to where we were. Have the economy rage and be great with jobs, everyone happy,” Trump replied.

Questions on the economy turned to the coronavirus pandemic.

Stahl: “Are you deliberately downplaying it?”
Trump: “We’re doing well. We understand the disease. We’ve done a good job.”

Stahl: “I wonder if you think that masks don’t work?”
Trump: “I feel masks possibly work, but certainly, you want to say a certain safe distance, etc. But I would say a mask works, and I have nothing against masks, and I tell people to wear masks. I have no problem with them.”

But Stahl noted many of Trump’s campaign rallies have been packed with supporters, many of whom are seen not wearing masks.

Stahl also pressed Trump on his lack of a new healthcare package despite claiming he was devising one because he wants to end the Affordable Care Act. Trump said he’s waiting to see what happens with the landmark healthcare bill, which the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on in November.

Then the conversation then turned to the nation’s divide, which Trump said he does take some responsibility for. Stahl referenced the foiled plot to abduct Michigan’s governor.

Stahl: “Do you think when you hold rallies and encourage people to say lock her up?”
Trump: “I don’t encourage it. They say it.”
Stahl: “And you enjoy it. You don’t say ‘don’t do that.'”
Trump: “Hilary Clinton deleted, she deleted 33,000 e-mails after she got a subpoena from Congress.”
Stahl: “But why is this still an issue?”
Trump: “To me it’s an issue.”
Stahl: “They’re not going to vote on that.”

During a brief pause in the interview, President Trump decided he was done.

“I think we have enough of an interview here ok Hope? That’s enough. Let’s go,” Trump said.

Norah O’Donnell’s conversation with Joe Biden was less contentious, but she addressed his controversial plan for more spending and raising taxes.

O’Donnell: “And you think it’s a good idea to raise taxes when the economy is in dire straights?”

Biden: “Depending on who you’re raising them on. Look, if you’re raising on someone making $1 billion a year, it’s not a problem if they pay 39.6%, which everyone should pay, raise another $90 billion.”

She asked if Biden would try to add seats to the Supreme Court; Biden did not outright say yes or no. Biden said he’d authorize a nonpartisan commission to make recommendations.

“Presidents come and go. Supreme court justices stay for generations,” he said.

And regarding his age, O’Donnell pointed out to Biden, at 78 years old, he would be the oldest president in history.

O’Donnell: “Why do you think Senator Harris would be ready to step in and become Commander in Chief if something were to happen to you?”

Biden: “One, her values; number two, she is smart as a devil; number three, she has a backbone like a ramrod; number four she is really principled; and number five, she has had significant experience in the largest state in the union running the Justice dept. That’s only second in size to the U.S. Justice Department.”

O’Donnell’s questions to Senator Kamala Harris were seemingly tougher than those posed to Biden.
O’Donnell pressed Harris on her progressive policies and asked her if she’d bring a socialist perspective to the White House, if Biden is elected. Senator Harris said she would not be defined by Donald Trump’s definition of who she is.

Erica Brecher is an anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.

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