Biden says 'too early' to open businesses, says he would focus on small business if he was President

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there's still a race for the White House and former Vice President Joe Biden took time out of his day to talk with FOX 2 about what he would do if he were president.

Though President Donald Trump and the Democratic presumptive nominee can't hold rallies and campaign, they're both still stumping for votes in their own way. During a Zoom interview with Biden, he talked about coronavirus in the U.S., Michigan, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer's presence during the crisis.

"It's still too early to open up businesses, in my view, based on all the experts I've spoken to," Biden said. "I think they should continue to wait until they flatten the curve which is now sort of flattened and is now starting to curve down in a big way."

So how would he handle it differently if he were president? He said there needs to be even more focus on small businesses and keeping them afloat during the shutdown.

"We've got to focus more though on getting the money to the small businesses. Too much is going to the publicly-owned corporations and they should get it to the small businesses. The unemployment checks - anybody making less than $75,000 a year in the new process is basically held harmless. We should be doing that. There's other things we should be doing as well. I think we should be focusing on making sure those businesses that can open, you're in a position where you don't fire anyone and everybody does have the job they were doing before and the government makes up half the difference. Everybody gets their full salary but you're able to keep a full workforce"

Biden did say there were some things he liked about how the Trump administration has handled the pandemic.

"I think what it's done appropriately is that it started off talking about the need to have the social distancing. Realizing that, starting off by listening to the scientists, listening to Dr. Fauci and others. But there are some specific things they should be doing immediately. They should fully empower a supply commander here in Michigan. (Michigan's) testing is far behind the levels that are needed for testing supplies. You ought to create a Defense Protection Act for banks so that banks don't just service the big operations but service the small operations because they're being covered. Establish a pandemic testing board to solve the pandemic problem," Biden said.

He said even though the majority of the cases are in the Metro Detroit area and in larger populations throughout the state, he said the rural communities could be in danger.

"What we do that when you allow it all to open up, people begin to move and it moves to rural areas. We've seen it happen all around the country. It seems to me the choice between public health and the economy is a false choice. We have to get the number of cases sufficiently down, we have to have widespread available testing, we have to make sure hospitals are ready for flare-ups, we have to convene top experts as to how they go about it. We have to convene business experts as well. Call them and say how are you going to keep your plant open, how are you going to deal with social distancing, tell me what your safeguards are going to be," he said.

With Biden being the lone Democratic hopeful standing, there has been talk about his running mate and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's name has been tossed about - and he says she's under serious consideration.

"I mean this sincerely, I really do, the way she handles crisis, the way she stands up, her strength, the way she has moved forward, I think she's a real leader," he said. "I think there are a number of women who are ready on day one if God forbid something were to happen to me and she needed to become president, and I think she fits in that category and I think there's a number of women as well. We're now just setting up a mechanism of choosing a woman for that job and she's surely one of the people that I was looking at,"

The focus with Biden was on Michigan and how COVID-19 has affected the state. The topics were discussed with his staff ahead of time, similar to how we interviewed President Trump in January.