Former Vice President Joe Biden dodged questions from debate challenger Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City on deportations during the second day of CNN’s Democrat debates on Wednesday, saying those conversations were private.
The two were debating comprehensive immigration reform when De Blasio was seeking answers from the former vice president on the issue of deportations under the Obama administration.
“You were vice president of the United States. I didn’t hear whether you tried to stop them or not, using your power, your influence in the White House. Do you think it was a good idea, or do you think it was something that needed to be stopped?” De Blasio said.
Biden dodged the issue, saying that it was all former President Barack Obama’s idea to deal with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and that it was his idea to push that legislation through Congress. He added that Obama was also the one who wanted to “up the number of people” allowed into the U.S.
Later in the debate, de Blasio asked Biden again whether he had a role to play in stopping those deportations.
“Mr. Vice President, you want to be president of the United States, you need to be able to answer the tough questions. I guarantee you if you’re debating Donald Trump he’s not going to let you off the hook,” de Blasio said.
“So did you say those deportations were a good idea or did you go to the president and say this is a mistake, we shouldn’t do it. Which one?” de Blasio asked.
Biden declined to respond to the mayor’s inquiry, saying those conversations were private.
“I was vice president. I am not the president. I keep my recommendation to him in private. Unlike you, I can expect you would go ahead and say whatever was said privately with him. That is not what I do,” Biden replied.
Biden continued throughout the debate to dodge questions regarding immigration and referred to the Obama administration more than any other candidate.