By Jim DeFede

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former Vice President Joe Biden admits he has a bad case of cabin fever as he spends most of his days downstairs in his basement, where he conducts video conferences with advisors, virtual town halls with voters and interviews with local television stations in battleground states.

“But I’m allowed to go upstairs and I walk out in the yard with the Secret Service,” Biden said, holding up a mask. “I got my mask with me, so I’m already.”

In a wide-ranging interview with CBS Miami, the presumptive Democratic nominee talked Cuba, Venezuela and immigration as well as President Trump’s response to the coronavirus.

“The President has refused to take responsibility on what needs to be done,” he said. “He takes no accountability and he makes nothing but excuses. And he’s not been telling the American people the truth about the crisis, about this crisis, about this whole dilemma we find ourselves in. And he hasn’t acted as a Commander in Chief as he’s supposed to.”

The virus has exposed many of the inequities in our society, as suddenly those who are working low wage job are currently considered essential workers. Biden said it should give us pause to consider how we view those workers in the future.

“I talked earlier when I ran when I announced about a year ago, we’re going to restore the soul of America,” he said. “We’re seeing the soul of America now. These folks these folks are the soul American. A lot of them are scared to death, but they’re still showing up for work and the essential jobs.”

“And I hope to God, when this is over,” Biden said, “we’re gonna be able to turn what is an awful crisis and turn it into an opportunity to begin to treat them like they should be treated with fair wages, more respect in the position where they’re gonna be able to take care of their families.”

Regarding Cuba, Biden said he would restore the Obama policy of engagement.

“Yes, I would. In large part, I would go back,” Biden said. “I’d still insist they keep the commitments they said they would make when we, in fact, set the policy in place.”

Wouldn’t he be rewarding Cuba at a time when they are supporting and propping up Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela?

“Well, they’re having great difficulty propping up Maduro,” he said. “Number one, Maduro is in real trouble. Number two, there’s no reason why we cannot still sanction them, but failing to recognize them at all is a different thing than sanctioning them.”

He said engaging with Cuba isn’t just about Cuba, it also strengthens the United States’ hand throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Biden also said he would suspend deportation for anyone in the country illegally during the first 100 days of his administration.

Because we have to straighten things out,” he noted. “Anyone who committed a felony in the meantime would be deported. But we have to take time to take stock of exactly what’s going on.  We are a nation of immigrants. And one of the reasons why we are so powerful, and we’ve been so successful, is because we’re a nation of immigrants.”

Asked him how he plans to win Florida in 2020 when Hillary lost the state in 2016.

Biden responded, “It’s 2020. And they’ve had a good dose of the president, United States of America.”

“It’s about telling the truth,” he added. “It’s about letting people know what you’re going to do to make their lives better. It’s about making sure that everything doesn’t just go to the very wealthy in this country. It’s about making sure that people have access to real education. It’s about making sure they’re going to afford college. It’s about making sure that we build the middle class back up and also deal with what everybody in Florida knows is a problem, global warming and create real jobs around that. That’s what it’s about.”

Jim DeFede

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