New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Senior Advisor for the Biden for President Campaign Greg Schultz spoke about governmental transitions in the post-election, pre-inauguration period in a webinar hosted by the university on Jan. 13.
The panelists were asked their thoughts on the Capitol insurrection, which happened just days prior to the webinar. “I think it is a very fragile time. There is no question about it. The attack was shocking,” said Murphy in regard to the transitional period.
The panelists were asked to comment on the impeachment attempts being pursued on former president Donald Trump. Murphy said he believes it is necessary for the former president to be impeached and convicted, even if it is outside of his term limits. There are still people within the house who are trying to challenge the election of Joe Biden, according to the governor, and they should also be held accountable for their actions in prompting distrust within our democracy.
Schultz said that impeachment would be good for democracy in the long term but may bring difficulties in the short term for President Biden. According to Schultz, it will not be easy for Biden to begin his term with the impeachment proceedings. However, the point of the impeachment is to defend the Constitution and therefore the impeachment must occur, said Schultz.
“I would say we have certainly bent the structure of our republic but it did not break,” Schultz said in regards to the Capitol riots.
When asked about his opinion on how the Biden-Harris administration could strengthen the American democracy, Schultz said he did not believe Biden would drive partisanship which can weaken democratic processes. During his presidency, Schultz said, “[Trump] does nothing but drive partisanship. I’m not saying some Democrats would not do that but that is not Joe Biden.”
As a society, Americans have to find a way to approach disinformation and misinformation which is spreading, according to Schultz. Schultz believes approaching disinformation can then strengthen American’s trust in the government. Biden can bring the United States the stability it currently needs, said Schultz, since he can bring back bipartisanship.
The panelists were asked to comment on what they thought the Biden administration should do in regards to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis which the United States is facing. One must “find common ground with whoever you can find common ground with to save lives,” Murphy explained.
The Biden administration should support sending out more vaccines immediately, according to the governor, since the country is still far from where it should be in regards to tackling the pandemic. There is also a need for state and local aid from Congress in order to continue providing and delivering services to front line workers, according to Governor Murphy. In the last stimulus, there was no local aid provided, Murphy explained.
In regards to the pandemic, the governor said the country needs a fact-based and empathy-based rhetoric. “We need decisions that are based on nothing but the facts, the data, the science, the raw numbers,” said Murphy. In addition to that fact-based rhetoric, there must be empathy for the thousands of people who have lossed loved ones due to the coronavirus. As of press time, over 400,000 individuals in the United States have lost their lives to the coronavirus, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.
“We need that right now. That alone will go a step if not many steps towards rebuilding the fabric that we have torn apart,” said Murphy.
The panelists were asked to comment on how the Biden-Harris administration could tackle issues relating to anti-Blackness, structural racism and racial violence within the United States.
Schultz said that the economic factor must be considered, since it has been difficult for African Americans to build generational wealth due to redlining and other systemic practices that occur on the local and municipal level which disproportionately affect people of color. A potential solution, according to Schultz, is to put money back into communities of color. Along with money there should be more resources available to the community to provide assistance in using the aids, like technical assistance.
“[Joe Biden] is not going to cure racism in the country but he can lead by example,” said Schultz.
Through the diversity of the Biden-Harris administration, Schultz said it can act as a model for corporate boards and other administrations to be more diverse and inclusive.