Q: Many believe those spending bills were a crucial part of stabilizing the economy back then. Would you support bailouts for industries that are being crushed by the Coronavirus outbreak now?
Sanders: I voted against the bailout because I believed that the illegal behavior being done by the people on Wall Street should not be rewarded by a bailout. And today, by the way, those banks are more prosperous and own more assets, by and large, than they did back then. They're bigger now than they were then. I thought at the time that in the midst of massive income and wealth inequality, the people on top [should pay for the] bail out. Joe [Biden] voted for that. I voted against it. But to answer your question where we are right now, we need to stabilize the economy, but we can't repeat what we did in 2008. Our job right now is to tell every working person in this country, "you are not going to suffer."
We have to have the best science in the world telling us what can stay open and what need be closed. Like I said earlier, the idea that we are closing schools, which I understand, but not being able to provide lunches for people who in fact need the school lunch program to get by.
I can understand the decision made to close places where a hundred or 50 people or more gather, but how do you deal with the things that necessarily have to be kept going and what's the way to do that? There should be a national standard for that. It should be coming out of the situation room right now.
Bernie Sanders: Well, first thing we have got to do, is to shut this president up right now, because he is undermining the doctors and the scientists who are trying to help the American people. It is unacceptable for him to be blabbering with unfactual information which is confusing the general public. Second of all, make sure that every person in this country finally understands that when they get sick with the coronavirus that all payments will be made, that they don't have to worry about coming up with money for testing. They don't have to worry about coming up with money for treatment. We have to make sure that our hospitals have the ventilators that they need, have the IC units that they need. Right now, we have a lack of medical personnel. Bottom line from an economic point of view, say to the American people, if you lose your job, you will be made whole. You're not going to lose income.
Biden: No. The World Health Organization offered the [coronavirus] testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them. We did not want to get them from them. We wanted to make sure we had our own. [Trump] said something like, "We have the best scientists in America," or something to that effect. We are not prepared for this. I agree with Bernie, we're in a situation where we have to now be providing for the hospitals that are going to be needed, needed now.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: This is a time for all of us working together. The World Health Organization is a very, very strong organization. It is sad that we have a President that has ignored the international community in so many ways, including in terms of international health crisis.
Joe Biden: The World Health Organization [WHO] offered the testing kits that they have available, now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them. [Trump] said something like, "We have the best scientists in America," or something to that effect.
Bernie Sanders: This is a time for all of us working together. The World Health Organization is a very, very strong organization. It is sad that we have a President that has ignored the international community in so many ways, including in terms of international health crisis.
Fact-check posted Mar.6 by Politico.com: On Jan. 11, Chinese scientists posted the genome of the mysterious new virus, and within a week virologists in Berlin had produced the first diagnostic test for the disease. The WHO had shipped tests to nearly 60 countries. The US was not among them. Why the US declined to use the WHO test, even temporarily, remains a perplexing question.
BIDEN: Anyone who shows up to be tested for Coronavirus, or gets Coronavirus treated, would be held harmless. There are certain things you cannot deport an undocumented person for and that would be one of them. We want that. It's in the interests of everyone. And those folks who are the xenophobic folks out there, it's even in their interest that that [infected person] come forward, because it keeps the spread from moving more rapidly.
Q: What about closing the Mexican border during the pandemic?
BIDEN: Our future rests upon the Latino community being fully integrated. If we do not invest in their future, everything that the xenophobes are concerned about will in fact get worse, not better. We should be embracing, bringing them in, just like what happened with the Irish immigrants after the famine, just what happened with the Italians, et cetera. We've been through this before, xenophobia is a disease.
STEYER: If it were necessary to take the vaccine to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus through the United States, yes, I would. But let me talk for a second about Coronavirus. Because what we're seeing is that this is a pandemic that hasn't been handled well. Back in 2014, there was an Ebola outbreak in Africa; President Obama did a fantastic job of controlling it. We're seeing the exact opposite from this president. We're seeing a president who just asked Congress for money to deal with it today. The World Health Organization declared an emergency in January. So what we're seeing here, the Coronavirus may or may not turn into a worldwide epidemic. But what we know for sure is that it's going to have a huge impact on the world economy as we try to deal with it.
BLOOMBERG: No. Number one, he fired the pandemic team two years ago. Number two, he's been defunding Centers for Disease Control. So, we don't have the experts in place that we need. I hope he's right that the virus doesn't come here, that nobody gets sick. But the bottom line is, we are not ready for this kind of thing. And the president doesn't seem to believe in science. We are as exposed to this kind of thing as we have ever been, probably more so.
Q: What would you do if you were president right now?
BLOOMBERG: You have to marshal the teams. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a team in place. I can tell you what we did in City Hall back in New York. For Hurricane Sandy, for 9/11, for the swine flu--we were ready for it, in the sense that we had played out what would happen, how we would communicate with people, how we would distribute drugs, how we would include the hospitals & the nurses.
BUTTIGIEG: Well, first of all, we've got to meet 21st century security threats with a forward-looking security policy. This president's idea of how to keep us safe is a big wall. That is a 17th century security solution. I would be making sure that we have the coordination across the federal government for something that is a health issue, an economic issue, a security issue, and needs to have an integrated approach. But it's not enough to integrate within the United States. We've got to integrate internationally. The virus does not care what country it is in. And in order to deal with an issue like that, you need international partnerships and global relationships of the very kind that this president is tearing to shreds on an almost daily basis. This is why we need first and foremost, to restore the credibility of the US among the nations of the world.
KLOBUCHAR: Today, when the president addressed this, he [mentioned] the CDC; I think that's important, because I believe in science. But I also think, as we look at diseases and how they spread, we have to think ahead. And a lot of this, when you look at the budgets and how he has handled this, he's tried to cut the CDC in the past. He has tried to cut the organization that works with the rest of the world when it comes to pandemics. Democrats in the Senate have asked for something like $7 billion, $8 billion. And I think we have to be ready. And the number one thing is to listen to the doctors and call the doctors, but the other thing is to plan ahead. And how I would do this as your president is, one, make sure we have adequate medical help and research, that we have invested in education.
WARREN: This really is serious. We know that, with any virus that develops, the most vulnerable will be our children, seniors, people with compromised immune systems. First we think about allocation--our overall approach. I'm going to be introducing a plan tomorrow to take every dime that the president is now spending on his racist wall at our southern border and divert it to work on the Coronavirus.
Q: V.P. Pence is in charge of the U.S. response?
WARREN: We need someone in the White House who is coordinating all of the work and all of the messaging and all of the information. Do keep in mind that this vice president has dealt with a public health emergency before, in Indiana [with HIV]. And what was his approach? It was to put politics over science and let a serious virus expand in his state and cost people lives. He is not the person who should be in charge.
BIDEN: We've been through this once. We've been through this with the virus that occurred with Ebola in Africa. I was deeply involved on that. We were able to keep the disease overseas. The few that came to the United States, we were able to put together the following: We set up an office within the president's office to deal with infectious diseases, number one. Number two, we significantly increased the funding for NIH, National Institute of Health, as well as the CDC, to immediately begin to work on vaccines, which worked. We moved. Thirdly, what we did was we made sure that we were able to be honest with the American people, so that we had complete unity between the scientists and the president.
BIDEN: I think it's important that we understand that you have to have a president in charge. What I would do were I president now, I would not be taking China's word for it. I would insist that China allow our scientists in to make a hard determination of how it started, where it's from, how far along it is. Because that is not happening now. And we should be allowed to do that and they should want us to do that, because we have genuine experts who know how to confront these things. But we need to invest [in science agencies] immediately. We should have done it from the beginning, the moment the virus appeared. But we're getting late, but we've got good scientists. And I just hope the president gets on the same page as the scientists.
SANDERS: Well, for start, I would not do what Trump has done and cut funding for those federal agencies which deal with infectious crises. We would put more money into research to make sure that we are best prepared to what I fear may be happening more and more frequently. And we've got to go to the best experts that we can. But we need a global response to this global crisis.
Q: Is cutting off access with China, is that wise?
SANDERS: I don't think you want to cut off access. I think you want to put up protocols to do our best to make sure that we take a look at anybody who is coming into this country, I suspect. But I don't know you have to stop travel from China.