Joe Biden on ‘The View’: Obama Medal of Freedom Honor ‘Shocked the Hell Out of Me’

The morning after President Obama surprised him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Vice President Joe Biden talks about his bromance with the president and his fears about Trump.


“In a country so divided right now, I still don't know anyone who doesn't have a soft spot for this man,” The View’s Whoopi Goldberg said by way of introduction for the show’s big guest Friday morning. “We are honored, we love him, we love when he's here. He's just one of the realest people you'll ever, ever meet in your lifetime.”

She was, of course, referring to Vice President Joe Biden, who just yesterday received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, from President Obama in a surprise ceremony that left him in tears.

As he walked onto the stage to endless cheers from the crowd, Joy Behar told him, “You’re still hot,” and “You’re like a rockstar.”

When Goldberg brought up the previous day’s event at the White House, saying that Obama “kind of shocked” Biden with the honor, he said, “Sure as hell did.”

“Look, first of all, I don't think I did deserve that,” Biden said. “No, no, i'm being serious. But secondly, I had not the slightest idea.” The vice president was told the ceremony would end with a toast. “I thought the families were going to sit down and sort of reminisce about the last eight years and what we've been through, and I walk in and I see everybody that's been important in my life in the room,” he added. “First of all, that shocked the hell out of me.”

When someone came on stage with the media, Biden’s first thought was, “Who the hell is this for?”

Asked why he was moved to tears, the vice president said of Obama, “He and I have been through a lot.”

“Relationships are built based on trust,” Biden said. “And trust occurs when you're thrown together in a circumstance where there's a lot of pressure and you watch the other woman or man react and you know when they have to rely on you and you have to rely on them.” That extraordinary level of trust that the two men built, he continued, led President Obama to be “the only confidante beyond my immediate family when my Beau was dying.”

After all those warm and fuzzy vibes, things turned a bit darker in the next segment of the show when Behar brought up the man who will be sworn in as Obama’s successor a week from today. “People are worried about a Trump administration,” she said. “I’m terrified that he knows nothing and is going to lead us into war. Now, you have called him thoroughly unqualified. What makes you the most uneasy, and remember, it's only an hour show?”

“What I worry about is the inadvertent mistake in the near term on foreign policy. By that I mean — I don't mean any nuclear war, that kind of malarkey,” Biden said, using one of his signature phrases. Listing off the various “complicated” situations around the world, he added that for Trump to “diss” and “dismiss” U.S. intelligence officials, as Trump as has done before taking office, “really plays into Russia's hand, which is the hand they're playing and Mr. Putin is playing.”

He also worries about the countries that are “deciding whether or not they're going to move in an authoritarian direction or in a democratic direction, and they then begin to make a gamble and say, well, it's better to make the gamble to be on the authoritarian side of this equation than it is to be on the democratic side, because America, this great democracy, maybe it's not so great after all. Maybe we can't count on it as much, maybe we can't rely on it.”

Biden’s “hope” is that “what Mr. Trump has said has been rhetorical so far, and as he sits behind that chair, he's a smart guy, and that he begins to understand the gravity and the consequences of words, not just actions but of words.”

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To Behar’s next question — “When a guy tweets in the middle of the night continuously, does he understand the gravity of what he's doing?” — Biden took a long pause before saying, “It’s not healthy.”