Joe Biden Reveals His Deep ‘Disappointment’ in Lindsey Graham to Colbert
In their first joint interview since winning the election, President-elect Joe Biden and incoming first lady Jill Biden shared their real thoughts about former GOP friends.
Five years ago, Joe Biden did Stephen Colbert a solid by appearing as a guest on the first week of his new Late Show—just a few months after the death of his son Beau—and baring his soul to the host about his agonizing decision to ultimately forgo a run for president that cycle.
Now that he’s officially president-elect, Biden returned to The Late Show on Thursday night alongside his wife, Jill Biden, for their first joint interview since the election. Or rather, Colbert came to them, traveling down to Wilmington, Delaware, for an appropriately distanced in-person interview with the incoming first couple.
After opening with a Colbert Report-style throwback “Better Know a Delaware” segment, the host began his interview with the president-elect with a layup: “What is President Biden going to put into the world?”
Facing a “nation divided and a world in disarray,” Biden said that he plans to announce that “America’s back” in terms of diplomacy and make this country more “united” as opposed to the “dirty and vicious and personal and mean” politics of the Trump era.
Asked if he takes it “personally” that so many Republicans have yet to acknowledge his electoral victory, Biden said that he understands they are in a “tough spot.” Speaking specifically about Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), he added, “Lindsey’s been a personal disappointment because I was a personal friend of his,” before insisting that he will be willing to work with Republican lawmakers once Trump finally leaves office next month.
Biden even extended an olive branch of sorts to President Trump, saying “what he’s done getting the vaccine moving has been positive.” But, he then quickly added, “By and large, he has been a president who’s decided that the way he succeeds is by dividing us.”
In other areas, such as the COVID-19 crisis, Colbert did push his guest to explain how he plans to achieve his stated goal of 100 million inoculations in his first 100 days and what he plans to do to hold Russia accountable for attacking America’s elections.
When Jill Biden joined for the next segment, Colbert brought up the bizarre controversy surrounding her doctorate, which jumped from the Wall Street Journal op-ed page to Fox News’ primetime lineup this week.
“That was such a surprise!” she said, explaining that it was “really the tone of it” that caught her by surprise. “One of the things I’m most proud of is my doctorate. I mean, I worked so hard for it.” When Colbert suggested that she take it as a compliment that all people can think to criticize her about is the “Dr.” before her name, she laughed and said, “OK, I’ll take it that way.”
Later, the host also asked the president-elect about how he handles the attacks on his son, Hunter Biden, which have barely slowed since the campaign ended and will inevitably remain a “cudgel” against him once he’s president.
“We have great confidence in our son,” Joe Biden said. “I am not concerned about any accusations that have been made against him.” He labeled the attacks “foul play,” but added, “It is what it is. And he’s a grown man. He’s the smartest man I know in terms of pure intellectual capacity. And as long as he’s good, we’re good.”
“As a father, I understand that and I admire that,” Colbert said. “But I mean in terms of your job as president, can you reach across the aisle to people who will be using this as an attack on you when it’s such a personal attack, because it’s about family?”
Biden said that “if it benefits the country,” then he will do whatever he needs to do, adding, “I really mean it.”
When Colbert chimed in with, “You’re a better man than I, I’m not sure I could do that,” Biden said, “Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean I’m not angry, doesn’t mean I wasn’t angry and doesn’t mean if I were back in the days of high school I wouldn’t say ‘come here’ and go a round.”
“But you have to take the high road,” Jill Biden added.
“The American people, I think they can smell the phoniness, smell what’s true and what’s not true,” Joe Biden added, optimistically. He explained that he actually “feels badly” for the Republicans who have been attacking him over his son as a way to show fealty to Trump.
As Jill Biden emphasized, “People we thought were our friends.”