SPONSORED:

Biden on working with Senate Republicans: 'I'll never publicly embarrass them'

Biden on working with Senate Republicans: 'I'll never publicly embarrass them'
© Getty Images

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Manchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Overnight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE expressed optimism that he will be able to work with Republicans because of his years working alongside them, despite a sharply divided Congress. 

“My leverage is, every senior Republican knows I’ve never once, ever, misled them,” Biden said on a telephone call Wednesday with several columnists, according to The New York Times. “I’ll never publicly embarrass them.”

Biden faces a Congress deeply divided along party lines. Many Republican lawmakers have sided with President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE's unproven claims of election fraud.

ADVERTISEMENT

But Biden told the journalists on the call, which included Times columnist David Leonhardt, The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart and The Wall Street Journal's Gerald F. Seib, that he thinks the country is in a different place now that will allow for agreement and action on certain issues — including the environment. 

“I’m going to be able to get stuff done on the environment you all are not going to believe,” he said, according to the Times. “I couldn’t have gotten it done six years ago.”

He also said he is hopeful bipartisan work can get done in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has infected more than 18 million people and killed more than 329,000 in the U.S., and has posed significant economic challenges nationwide.  

“There’s a new sense of urgency on the part of the public at large,” he said. “The American public is being made painfully aware of the extent and damage and incredibly high cost of failing to take the kind of measures we’ve been talking about.”

Democrats will maintain control of the House when Biden takes office in January, but the fate of the Senate is still undecided as Georgia heads into two runoff races. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock are facing GOP Sens. David PerdueDavid PerdueGeorgia Republican secretary of state hits Loeffler as 'weak,' 'fake Trumper' Warnock raises nearly M since January victory Georgia's top election official looks to shake political drama MORE and Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerGeorgia Republican secretary of state hits Loeffler as 'weak,' 'fake Trumper' Loeffler asks Georgia attorney general to investigate Raffensperger over 2020 election Former Rep. Doug Collins won't enter Georgia Senate race MORE, respectively, in runoff elections on Jan. 5. 

If Perdue and Loeffler are successful, the GOP will maintain control of the Senate. But if Ossoff and Warnock beat them, Biden would face less pushback on his agenda as Democrats would control both chambers of Congress during the start of his presidency. 

Biden may also face some challenges from within his own party. He was among the more centrist candidates in the presidential primary, and has already faced pressure from progressives on various issues. 

Asked this week if he is up to the fight with Republicans and members of his own party, Biden told the columnists, “I respectfully suggest that I beat the hell out of everyone else.” 

The president-elect noted he topped Trump with more than 7 million votes and won the Democratic presidential nomination, beating several prominent progressives, according to the Times. 

“I think I know what I’m doing, and I’ve been pretty damn good at being able to deal with the punchers. I know how to block a straight left and do a right hook. I understand it,” he said.