Joe Biden

Interview with D.L. Hughley on His National Radio Show

November 08, 2022

HUGHLEY: Hello, President Biden. How are you, young man?

THE PRESIDENT: How are you doing? It's been a while, man. How are you doing?

HUGHLEY: Yeah. The last time we talked, I had COVID, and we actually talked so long. By the time we finished, my 14-day quarantine was up. So -- so, we had a good conversation. How are you doing?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm doing well. I'm doing well.

HUGHLEY: I'm curious because it is Election Day. And the last time we talked, you weren't president, and now, you are. And I think I've been certainly impressed by your legislative accomplishments. I think you've done things. I think you've basically kept a lot of the promises you made on the campaign trail. Do you think that that's resonated with the American people?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know, people are really hurting, and -- and they were hurting a lot when we started this campaign.


THE PRESIDENT: As you know, you know, we -- we inherited a -- a hell of a mess. Unemployment was sky-high. We cut it to more than half. Black unemployment was sky-high. We've cut it down to one of the lowest rates it's ever been. You know, the fundamental thing I've tried to do is change the whole dynamic how we look at the economy.


THE PRESIDENT: And that is I want to build this economy. And I really mean it. You know me well to know it. And I want to build it from the bottom up and the middle out because when the middle class is doing well and the poor have a shot, they have a ladder up, and the -- and the wealthy do fine -- because I'm not worried about them. And -- but the other piece of this is I think it is -- part of it is just changing the whole attitude. I want to completely, thoroughly, and not a joke, integrate the Black community into everything that's going on. I have appointed more African American judges. I put the first Black Supreme Court justice on the court. I have -- my staff has significantly more African Americans than most administrations. You know -- and I want to make sure that we provide for -- some funding for first-time homebuyers --


THE PRESIDENT: With a small businesses, so they could have a shot. And -- and in addition to all that, you know, we're trying to -- like, for example, we dealt with the child care tax credit before the Republicans knocked it out. It was -- it reduced child poverty in America by 40 percent. I mean, it was a gigantic help to people.

HUGHLEY: I think I've been very -- honestly, I think that I've seen some things that you've done. And I think that, honestly, I haven't seen anybody be able to accomplish that in -- with a -- with a slight majority that you had. And -- and I don't know, in decades, I don't know that I've ever seen it. But when you say to me democracy is on the ballot, that's interesting. I don't -- I don't know quite how to quantify that. What would you say that means exactly?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, what it means is that you have an awful lot of people that are trying to stop people from being able to vote, make it incredibly difficult to be able to vote, cutting the number of polling places available, particularly --

HUGHLEY: We know who those people are. Those people are [inaudible]


HUGHLEY: Yes. Right. Right.

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. And, by the way, that's what -- that's what I'm talking about. And you talk about, you know, you have -- you have over 300 people, D.L., who are running for office on the Republican ticket who deny that we won the election. They -- they deny that the last election was legitimate, number one. Number two, you have these same people arguing that they're not sure they're going to accept the results unless they win. And, you know -- and then you had that -- that -- that storming of the Capitol on January the 6th, and they're calling these guys patriots. And how the hell can you say we have a -- you're -- you're a democrat with a small D, or you're someone who really cares about the nation when you say, "The only elections that matter are the ones we win. If we lost, it was cheated." And secondly, that -- the guys and women who -- who broke through those doors and two cops ended up dying, and that these guys are patriots?

HUGHLEY: You realize -- it -- it befuddles me. But yet those people are on the ballot, and in some places, they're doing very well. It's a very close election and it is going -- that's one of the reasons we're talking right now is to make sure that people exercise their right, the people are so determined to make sure they don't have. One more thing I want -- I know you got to go and -- but I do want to -- I do want to talk about crime.


HUGHLEY: Because they have used it as if it was a cult to it that, I guess, specifically -- you would think that everybody lived in Chicago, every Black person lived in Chicago. But -- but -- and it is always used as a whipping boy. Crime is up across the country, blue states, red. Whether -- whether you have a Democratic governor or a Republican governor, mayor, or something, crime is very -- on the minds of a lot of voters, a lot of voters. And, particularly, it affects us in our communities. What -- what can you do to make sure that our communities start to enjoy some of the safety that we hear about all the time?

THE PRESIDENT: Guns, guns, guns, guns, guns, guns. That's what -- what's really up is murder and -- and injury from guns. Look, the idea, the idea that these Republicans are fighting with -- and standing with the NRA and saying we should allow assault weapons on the street, the idea that you can sell a damn -- have a -- go in and buy a cartridge that holds up to 100 rounds of bullets in it, the idea that you're able to do this with impunity and be able to purchase it is just outrageous. It makes no sense at all. You may remember, when I passed the -- the assault weapons ban in the '90s when I was a senator, violent crime dropped and then mass shootings dropped precipitously. And -- and then, you know, the Republicans wouldn't keep it. The other thing is we have to spend a lot more time with youth and dealing with the things that have to do with helping them through their circumstances. You know, for example, crime prevention programs in communities, there's a lot of really good ones. Crime actually comes down. You have to embrace -- and when you let -- when someone serves their time in jail and they get out, they shouldn't be further penalized. They should be able to get Pell Grants to go to school. They should be able to live in public housing. They should be able to have -- take access to everything that's out there. You give them 25 bucks and a bus ticket, they end up under the same bridge they're under before.

HUGHLEY: Exactly. That's exactly what happens. And then they become --

THE PRESIDENT: I know. I know more -- I mean, I might know as much about this as you do, old buddy. And let me tell you --

HUGHLEY: Well, that is debatable, but I will actually -- that will be debatable.

THE PRESIDENT: [Inaudible] my whole life.

HUGHLEY: Well, good luck tonight. Any last -- one more -- I do want you to take this opportunity right now to tell people why. You know, some people are still on the fence as to why they should get out. It's raining, and they got to stand in a long line. What would you say to those folks?

THE PRESIDENT: And if the MAGA Republicans, these right-wing Republicans -- this is not your father's Republican Party. This is -- this isn't Governor Rockefeller. This isn't -- this is a different breed of cat. And they care about your community about as much as -- well, anyway. You've seen what you've got from that community. And -- and it matters.

HUGHLEY: I'm proud of you, man. And I hope you keep it up. And I just -- I don't know what will happen today, but I'm telling you that -- I will say this. That the things you have done have mattered. And I think that people will start seeing the results of those. I mean, it's just almost like when you start taking medicine, you don't oftentimes see it with the immediacy that you like. But I don't think that your work has gone unnoticed, and I hope that it doesn't go unrewarded. So, thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: All the time -- every time I'm walking on my grandpa Finnegan's house up in Scranton, which is a working-class neighborhood, he'd say, "Joey, keep the faith." And my grandmother, "No, Joey, spread it. Spread the faith."

HUGHLEY: And on that, we out of here. Hey, President Biden, it's a pleasure as always. Go keep at it, man.

THE PRESIDENT: All right. Bye-bye.

Joseph R. Biden, Interview with D.L. Hughley on His National Radio Show Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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