PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke exclusively with KDKA.
KDKA political editor Jon Delano spoke with the former vice president on Monday for 10 minutes on a variety of topics, including his vice president, President Donald Trump, Pennsylvania’s role in the upcoming election and energy issues.READ MORE: Strategic Effort Between Pa. Attorney General And Local Law Enforcement Shuts Down Drug Trafficking Enterprise
WATCH: Full Interview —
In a wide-ranging interview, Biden said Pennsylvania is key to his election.
“Pennsylvania is not only the Keystone State, but it is the key to whether a Democrat can be the next president of the United States,” Biden told KDKA.
Biden, who announced his candidacy in Pittsburgh, said this city reminds him of his hometowns of Scranton and Claymont, Delaware.
“I spent a lot of time in Pittsburgh, as you probably know, and I like it a lot there,” Biden said. “They’re the people I grew up with. There the middle-class, working-class folks who bust their neck and did well but went through some really tough times.”
On the key issue of the Shell petrochemical cracker plant and fracking for natural gas in this region, Jon Delano asked Biden if he would shut down the industry.
“No, I would not shut down this industry. I know our Republican friends are trying to say I said that. I said I would not do any new leases on federal lands. Ninety
percent of the leases are not on federal land, to begin with. I would make sure … the water is not being contaminated. But I would not shut it down, no.”
On trade and the steel industry, Biden lashed out at President Trump.
“He has been terrible on trade, thus far. … He’s always looking at the corporations when he tried to fix it and finally got straightened out by the Democrats when we did the whole NAFTA redo,” Biden said.READ MORE: CDC Recommends Masks For Fully Vaccinated People In Certain Areas, Reversing Earlier Decision
So what would Biden do?
“I would do what we did in our administration. We, in fact, came down on China for dumping steel. We did it on three different occasions. We made sure that it stopped. But look, Trump has it all backwards.”
Like many Democrats, Biden is critical of the way Trump has handled the coronavirus pandemic, calling him “slow-mo Trump.”
“He has been so slow getting out of the gate. Talk about slow, this is slow-mo Trump. I mean, everything is like it’s in slow motion. They’ve got to move. People are getting hurt badly,” Biden said.
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“Way back in January, I said he should step and challenge China. They are engaging in an activity that they are not being truthful with the rest of the world about. Typical him, every time he is behind the eight ball, he tries to turn it around and say the other person is the reason why those things happen,” Biden added.
When KDKA’s Jon Delano asked Biden what his first order of business would be if elected president, Biden was clear.
“The first thing I’m going to do is make sure we reestablish and have a staff — if we haven’t already and I’m doubtful [President Trump will] do it — reestablish the pandemic office in the White House to deal with a recurrence of the virus or future viruses,” Biden said.
But Biden had two more priorities for day one.
“I will immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Accord so we can get about the business of dealing with the existential threat we have. You can also have an opportunity to provide an enormous, enormous number of good-paying jobs by dealing with the environment and getting back into the Paris Climate Accord,” Biden said.
And the former VP pledged to resolve the immigration issue, once and for all.
“I would send to the United States Congress, right off the bat, an immigration bill to provide a pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million people out there,” Biden said.MORE NEWS: It's A Girl: African Baby Elephant Born At Pittsburgh Zoo And PPG Aquarium's International Conservation Center
Click here to watch the full 10-minute interview with Joe Biden.