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Biden Shares New Details Of His Plan For Overturning President Trump's Agenda

STACEY VANEK SMITH, HOST:

Build that wall was presidential candidate Donald Trump's rallying cry in 2016. Now his 2020 opponent is saying, no new wall. That's presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. He has not made himself available for many interviews with reporters, but he did sit down with a team representing the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists. And NPR's very own Lulu Garcia-Navarro was among them.

Hi, Lulu.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Hi there.

VANEK SMITH: Thanks for joining us. So you got to talk with the former vice president about a bunch of issues.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I did indeed. And he laid out what I thought was his clearest vision yet for completely overturning President Trump's agenda. Let's start with the border wall. As you know, progress on the wall has been sort of stymied by quite a few legal challenges. And President Trump has had to reroute federal funds to pay for its construction. I asked Biden if he would tear down the new parts of the wall.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOE BIDEN: No, I'm - there will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration, number one. Number two, what I'm going to focus on and the - and you're - the fact is that somebody in this group written a lot about the border. I'm going to make sure that we have border protection, but it's going to be based on making sure that we use high-tech capacity to deal with it. And at the ports of entry - that's where all the bad stuff is happening.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What about the land confiscations? What about the land confiscations?

BIDEN: Ended. End. End. End. Stop. Done. Over - not going to do it. Withdraw the lawsuits. We're out. We are not going to confiscate the land.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And this is the first time he said that. The issue of land confiscations is a big one. When former President Obama came into office with Joe Biden, they allowed a border wall planned under the Bush administration to continue. He's saying here, all work will stop if he becomes president.

VANEK SMITH: And then, from what I understand, Biden spoke about China.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: He did. I asked him about if he would rescind the China tariffs that Trump has put in place. And he said yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BIDEN: Manufacturing's gone on recession. Agriculture lost billions of dollars that taxpayers had to pay. We're going after China in the wrong way.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And then I asked him...

So if he scrapped those tariffs, what do you want in return? - or you're just going to scrap them without any concessions.

BIDEN: No. No. Here's the deal. The question is, what is the appropriate behavior that they have to engage in international trade with us? And they have to play by the international rules. And what we have done is we have disarmed ourselves. We make up 25% of the world's economy, but we poked our finger in the eye of all of our allies out there.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what Biden suggests is gathering the international community together to place pressure on China to do what is right, not using tariffs as a stick.

VANEK SMITH: I also hear that there was a pretty feisty exchange about cognitive testing. Cognitive testing, of course, is something that President Trump has said went very well for him recently.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yes. He was asked if he has taken a test for cognitive decline, and he said no.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BIDEN: Come on, man. That's like saying you - before you got in this program, did you take a test where you're taking cocaine or not? What do you think?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Biden added that he's very willing to let the American public judge his physical and mental fitness and that he's looking forward to the debates. There was a lot more from our interview, which will be out tomorrow morning, where Biden discusses immigration and asylum, racial justice and whether Trump could face prosecution once he is out of office. And we should say that President Trump was also invited for an interview, and he never committed.

VANEK SMITH: OK. Well, we are really looking forward to this interview. That was NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro.

Thanks, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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