In the wake of the battle of words between Pope Francis and leading Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, Vice President Joe Biden adds to the moral argument against a massive wall along the US/Mexico border, saying that, in the face of America’s tradition of welcoming the immigrant and refugee, “erecting a wall for the world to see makes a lie of everything we say about ourselves.”
A clip of Rachael Maddow’s interview with Vice President Joe Biden is available here, and the transcript is available below.
Rachel Maddow: “He’s a worldwide figure in way that a lot of folks have not been. On his way home, he made remarks to reporters today and he was specifically asked about Donald Trump. He said anybody who is building walls instead of building bridges is not a Christian. Mr. Trump has reacted to this, called it disgraceful and said nobody should question his faith. I have to ask you as a Catholic and as an observer of 2016, what do you think about that?”
Vice President Joe Biden: “Pope Francis. Trump. it’s not hard call for me. not even close.”
Maddow: “Is it fair to say somebody who wants to build a wall, by definition, isn’t a Christian?”
Vice President Biden: “I’m not a theologian nor a priest or minister. We’re a pluralistic society. It functions. Look around the world. Every other country where there’s chaos now, what is it? They’re pluralistic without consensus. Look at almost every single country from Syria to Iraq to Ukraine. No matter where it is. I think it’s totally counter to our tradition. Should we have border security, yes, but the idea of the United States erecting a wall for the world to see makes a lie of everything we say about ourselves.”
“It’s a little bit like why the president and I feel so strongly about closing Guantanamo Bay. It’s inconsistent with what we are. We have a bill of rights. We have trial by jury. We have a notion you’re innocent until proven guilty. We have all these things. I’ve been saying for the last nine years, our power comes as much from our — our respect in the world comes from the exercise of our power as it does from the power of our principles. I mean, it’s — why do people like America? They say: ‘You have the largest military in the world. You have more people, et cetera.’ I like America for what we stand for.”
“One of the things I’m so proud of being with this president for the last seven years is we have once again aligned our basic fundamental beliefs and principles with our conduct. It matters. it matters in terms of our security. It matters in terms of our ability to succeed.