Oct 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Key takeaways from the "60 Minutes" interviews with Trump and Biden

President Donald Trumpand Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden  during the first presidential debate  in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29
Combination image of President Trump and Democratic Presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio on Sept. 29. Photo: Jim Watson, Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

CBS' "60 Minutes" aired its interviews with President Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden Sunday evening, as the 2020 election rivals offered starkly different visions for the U.S.

The big picture: The show opened with Trump's interview with CBS' Lesley Stahl — which she noted "began politely, but ended regrettably, contentiously" after the president abruptly ended it, before moving on to Vice President Mike Pence, and then Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris.

Details: Before he left the interview at the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Trump said details of his promised health care plan would be "announced very soon." "We won't do anything and no plan unless we have preexisting conditions covered," he said.

  • After he left, Stahl said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany presented her with what she described as Trump's plan, but the journalist said there was "no comprehensive health care plan" in the book.

Vice President Mike Pence addressed Trump calling NAID director Anthony Fauci a "disaster" and other public health officials "idiots."

  • "The scientists who've worked around the White House Coronavirus Task Force ... have provided a great public service," said Pence, who chairs the group.
  • "So not idiots," Stahl interjected before Pence continued, saying he has "a strong relationship with Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx," but added Trump "has to consider the whole of America."

On whether parents in coronavirus hot spots should send their children to school, Pence said: " [W]e gotta get our kids back in school. ... they should adhere to whatever criteria the school administrators and local health officials determine to be appropriate. ... distance learning, this online learning, is no substitute for being in the classroom."

On whether Americans can feel safe gathering for Thanksgiving as COVID-19 cases spike across the U.S., Pence said: "That's a decision every American family can make based on the circumstances in their community, the vulnerability of particular family members."

The other side: In his sit-down interview, with CBS' Norah O'Donnell Biden said of the election outcome: "I feel superstitious when I predict anything other than gonna be a hard fight. I don't underestimate how [Trump] plays," Biden said.

  • "[T]here's an awful lot of talk out there about ... trying to sorta delegitimize the election, all I think designed to make people wonder whether or not they should, whether it's worth going to vote," he added.
  • "Just the intimidation factor. But what really has pleased me is the overwhelming turnout in the states that have early voting."

On the biggest domestic issue the U. S. faces, Biden said it's the pandemic, accusing Trump of being "absolutely totally irresponsible" in his handling of it.

  • "He's telling people that we've turned the bend, in one of his recent rallies ... we are in real trouble," Biden said.

On the biggest foreign threat America faces, Biden said it's the lack of international standing the U.S. now has, for which he blamed Trump.

  • "He embraces every dictator in sight, and he pokes his finger in the eye of all of our friends," Biden said.
  • "And so what's happening now is you have ... the situation in Korea where they have more lethal missiles and they have more capacity than they had before.

Of note: "60 Minutes" interviews the major U.S. presidential candidates every four years.

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