Early into the 15-minute special, Obama reflected on the status of the country when he and Biden entered the White House in January 2009, pointing out the immediate work their team had to engage in thanks to a litany of problems inherited from George W. Bush's administration.
"When we came into office, even before inauguration, we had seen a historic financial crisis irresponsibility on Wall Street that had spread out to Main Street," Obama said. "We had to move fast. Not just in 100 days, but we had to move in the first month to get the Recovery Act passed. We're now in a situation where not only [do we have] an economic crisis but we have a public health crisis, to boot."
Biden said the current economic and public health crises as a combined problem with a threefold solution possibility.
"One, we've got to sustain and keep people from going under forever," the former Vice President said. "There's already 10,000 businesses that are not likely to open again, a significant number of them small businesses and minority businesses. … Two, when they're able to come back, [we have to make sure] they're not only able to keep their folks employed on a payroll but they're able to cover overhead, they're able to cover the additional expenses."
Those additional expenses, of course, come from the extra costs associated with keeping social distancing and COVID-19 safety measures at the forefront of operations.
"But the next stage of this is gonna be, if the stimulus can keep people afloat, then we have to deal with recovery," Biden added. "The recovery is building back. And not just building back, but building back better. We have to change the way we deal with allowing people an opportunity to make a living."
As for Trump's botching of the current pandemic response, Biden pointed to the failed steak salesman's obsession with dismantling Affordable Care Act protections.
"I don't think he has any sense of empathy," he said. "I don't think he can associate at all."
By Obama's assessment, Biden would handle ongoing COVID-19 concerns much better due to one very simple response tactic: actually listening to the recommendations of experts.
Later, about nine minutes in, Biden and Obama’s discussion turned to the national protests brought on in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police. Obama praised protesters, then compared the response of his and Biden's administration to that of Trump's when it came to matters of racial justice.
"Our response was not to ignore those problems, our response was we had a 21st century policing task force that we put together that drew police chiefs, academics, young members of Black Lives Matter all into a single conversation," Obama said. "And we arrived at a series of recommendations that are still pertinent to this day."
Obama added that Biden, in his opinion, possesses a "willingness to listen and to learn." This, he said, is "a sign of leadership."
From there, Biden explained what he believes are the two ways in which a POTUS can "motivate" the country, specifically pointing out that Trump's way of inadvertently motivating people was brought on by what he characterized as an intentional path of division.
"This guy has generated a sense out there that people are waking up to, that he ran by deliberately dividing people from the moment that he came down that escalator," Biden said. "I think people are now going, 'I don't think I want my kid growing up that way.'"
Catch the full Joe Biden x Barack Obama sit-down up top.