Transcript: Cedric Richmond on “Face the Nation”

Transcript: Cedric Richmond on “Face the Nation”

The following is a transcript of an interview with Biden senior advisor and Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond that aired Sunday, December 13, 2020, on “Face the Nation.”

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we are back now with Louisiana Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond. He is soon leaving Congress to join the Biden White House as a senior adviser, and he joins us this morning from Kenner- Kenner, Louisiana. Good morning to you.


MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m doing well. I want to start on the news of the day, and that has to do with these vaccines. April 29th will be a hundred days in office for then President Joe Biden. He says he wants to deliver 100 million vaccinations into the arms of Americans by that date. So what planning are you all doing now to change the Trump administration’s distribution system or are you sticking with it?

REP. RICHMOND: Well, we don’t know if we need to change it or not at this point. We met a couple of times this past week with Operation Warp Speed, and we’re getting up to date, but we still have more information to get from them and more information about their distribution plan. And, look, the one thing about President-elect Biden is that he is honest and he’s transparent. And so what we don’t want to do is mislead the American public- public–


REP. RICHMOND: –overpromise and under deliver. So, that’s why we are being as cautious as we can in our estimates of numbers to make sure that we are being frank and honest with the American people.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the president-elect did say he’d prioritize people in long-term care facilities, frontline workers and educators. Are you going to leave it up to the governors to decide how to roll out vaccines in schools? Or should teachers be mandated to take those shots?

REP. RICHMOND: No, we’re going to communicate with governors and look, one of the priorities for President-elect Biden is to get schools back open and get kids into schools, and that means we’re going to have to put resources in it, which is why the- a deal from Congress to help education facilities and schools open up is important. Making sure the vaccine gets to those teachers and students is important. And so it’s one of our top priorities.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay, so you’re not going to mandate teachers get vaccinated?

REP. RICHMOND: Well, I don’t think we’re going to mandate anything, —


REP. RICHMOND: — but what we’re going to do is appeal to the American people to rise up to their civic duty, and let’s all get on the same page. And so, that’s still to be determined, but we’ll see what happens.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. You, in your new role in the Biden administration, have described it as also being a conduit in some ways for outreach to Republicans. Two thirds of the Republican conference, including your friend, Congressman Steve Scalise, have supported this failed effort by- by Texas to get the Supreme Court to try to overturn the results. And he says he still supports the president’s attempts to do so. If- if two thirds of the Republican conference doesn’t recognize Joe Biden’s victory as the president-elect, how can you do business with them?

REP. RICHMOND: They recognize Joe Biden’s victory. All of America recognizes Joe Biden’s victory. This is just a small portion of the Republican conference that are appeasing and patronizing the president on his way out because they are scared of his Twitter power and other things. And so when it’s time to govern, if we can’t cooperate- if Republicans won’t meet us halfway, we will go to the American people, and we will continue to push our agenda. But this country is in far too much turmoil. And this pandemic, the economic aspects and health aspects really caused for America to get on one page —


REP. RICHMOND: — solve this crisis and start to move forward. So–

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you don’t take it seriously?

REP. RICHMOND: — we’re not going to let them slow us down. No, I don’t. I talk to Republican members of Congress all the time, and they say one thing privately, they say another thing publicly. But the one thing I will tell you is they realize he lost this election.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The president-elect’s son, Hunter Biden, revealed this week that he is the target of attacks related, as he describes it, investigation by the US attorney in Delaware. Unless President Trump’s Justice Department clears Hunter Biden of wrongdoing before leaving office, it’s going to be presented as a question for the Biden administration’s Justice Department as to how to proceed with the inquiry. Should a special counsel be appointed to remove any questions about propriety here?

REP. RICHMOND: We won’t make any comment on that. What I will say emphatically is that President-elect Joe Biden has said over and over again during the campaign, and is saying now that he wants an independent Department of Justice, unlike what we’ve had for the last four years in that he will trust that Department of Justice to do their job. And he’s not going to meddle with the Department of Justice because it is that important to the rule of law, confidence of the American people and to our government. So —


REP. RICHMOND: — Hunter Biden issued his own statement, and I think the statement speaks for itself.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So it- does remaining independent, does that suggest that the incoming attorney general, whoever that person is, since one hasn’t been named yet, should they recuse themselves from this case?

REP. RICHMOND: Look, I’ll let the incoming attorney general decide, that is not my area of expertise, but our position is that the incoming attorney general should be independent, the Dep- Department of Justice should be independent, and we will go from there.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Any timeline on when we might hear who that new AG might be?

REP. RICHMOND: No, I can’t- I absolutely–


REP. RICHMOND: –can’t tell you. I can’t- I can’t get into the president-elect’s mind about when he’s going to roll out his remaining cabinet–


REP. RICHMOND: –members.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to quickly ask you, there was violence again in- in Washington, D.C. with these pro-Trump protests. ANTIFA was also president- present, according to our reporters. Are you concerned about this kind of violence around the inauguration?

REP. RICHMOND: Well, look, we’re concerned about violence anywhere, and especially as we go into the holiday season, the stress continues to mount up on our families. But look, we want to be clear that where there’s violence concerned it is not protest. That is breaking the law. Peaceful protest are one thing, but breaking the laws is another thing altogether. So we are worried about it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Congressman, thank you for your time. We’ll be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Stay with us.