Vice President Joe Biden says President Obama “sure as hell” shocked him when he awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction Thursday.
“I had not the slightest idea,” Biden insisted on the “The View” today, adding he thought he was about to participate in a private toast with his family and the Obamas. “I thought the families were going to sit down and sort of reminisce about the last eight years and what we’ve been through, and I walk in and I see everybody that’s been important in my life in the room. First of all, that shocked the hell out of me.
“Then when the guy came up with the medal, I thought, ‘Who the hell is this for?’” Biden admitted. “I really didn’t [know]. I swear to God. I didn’t.”
Turning to the transition of power at the White House next week, Biden said that his criticisms of Donald Trump during the campaign were drawn from his analysis that Trump had no foreign policy experience.
“What I worry about is the inadvertent mistake in the near-term on foreign policy,” Biden said. “I don’t mean any nuclear war, that kind of malarkey. I think there’s a lot of complicated circumstances in Eastern Europe and Ukraine.
“There’s a lot of complicated circumstances that exist today in the South China Sea. There’s a lot of complicated circumstances that exist in Latin America.”
Biden also said that Trump’s criticism of the Intelligence Community worries him.
“Everything we do we rely upon those 16 different agencies, and to diss them and dismiss them, it really plays into Russia’s hand, which is the hand they’re playing and Mr. Putin is playing,” Biden said.
“I hope a lot of what Mr. Trump has said has been rhetorical so far. He sits behind a chair, he’s a smart guy, and that he begins to understand the gravity and the consequences of words, not just actions but of words.”
Asked whether Trump understands the gravity of his overnight tweets, Biden answered, “clearly not.”
Biden said he did not know whether the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails cost her the election.
“I don’t think anyone can say what cost Hillary the election,” Biden said. “The fact is Hillary acknowledged the campaign wasn’t that well run. We never got to the issues.”
The vice president also deflected personal responsibility for the loss, stressing that he participated in 83 events for Clinton.