Biden was also asked whether he has considered what will happen if he wins but Trump refuses to leave office.
“Yes, I have,” he said quickly.
The interview appeared to be edited at that point, but Biden resumed by speaking about the number of high-ranking former military officers who spoke out over the past week about Trump’s response to the protests.
“I promise you, I’m absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch,” Biden said.
Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for the Trump campaign, described the former vice president’s comments as “just another brainless conspiracy theory from Joe Biden as he continues to try to undermine confidence in our elections.” He also criticized Biden for being part of the Obama administration, saying, “Biden himself was part of the effort to sabotage the incoming Trump administration because they couldn’t live with President Trump’s victory.”
In response to Biden’s claim that Trump might not voluntarily leave office, Murtaugh said, “President Trump has been clear that he will accept the results of the 2020 election.”
Biden’s remarks were some of his most forceful and far-reaching to date about the anxieties many Democrats feel about the potential for interference in November’s election. It is playing out amid concerns about ballot access, long lines to vote and how Americans will cast ballots if safety concerns over the coronavirus are still widespread.
Two months ago, Biden said that Trump would attempt to delay the election, even though Trump does not have the power to do so and had not suggested he would attempt to do so.
“Mark my words: I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” Biden said in late April.
Then, as now, he criticized Trump for sowing doubt over the use of mail-in ballots — and pointed to Trump’s use of a mail-in ballot.
“This is a guy who said that all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, voting by mail,” Biden said Wednesday night. “While he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in a primary.”
Biden also said his campaign is gearing up for a major legal presence throughout the country to monitor potential election problems. While pointing to the voting lines in Georgia and some of the widespread issues with Tuesday’s primaries, he said his campaign would be prepared.
“We’re putting out a major initiative of lawyers to make sure we’re in every single district in the country to patrol this,” he said. Referencing some of the delays in counting ballots in Pennsylvania, Biden pointed to speculation that the country would not know who won the state until a month after the general election.
During the interview, Biden also discussed the widespread protests around the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. He highlighted his proposals to reform police departments.
“I don’t believe police should be defunded, but I think the conditions should be placed upon them where departments are having to take significant reforms,” he said.
Biden, who was the author of a 1994 crime bill and had also been a strong Democratic force in the war on drugs in the 1980s, also said that there should be more leniency in law enforcement and a greater emphasis on rehabilitation programs.
“Nobody should be going to jail for the use of drugs,” he said. “They should be going to mandatory rehabilitation. We should be building rehab centers, not more prisons.”
Biden also discussed some of his strategies for what will be a contentious election.
“We’re calling out every lie he, in fact, is saying,” he said of Trump. “We’re calling out and making the case this guy is not a good guy.”
Biden said that attacks on him are more difficult because he is well known.
“People know me and they know me, warts and all,” Biden said. “I have weaknesses, for real.”
Asked what they are, he said, “I always say what I think.”
He also said that his “old stuttering days occasionally come back,” briefly mimicking a stutter.
“I sometimes make political gaffes,” he added. “You know the old expression, a gaffe in Washington is a politician telling the truth.”