time.com
TIME 100 TALKS
BACK TO HOME
Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Her Husband's COVID-19 Recovery—And Whether She's Talked to Joe Biden About Joining His Ticket
Play video on original page
BY ABBY VESOULIS
APRIL 23, 2020 4:19 PM EDT
Senator Amy Klobuchar may be more attuned to the realities of the novel coronavirus than most: In her professional life, the Minnesota Democrat and former 2020 presidential candidate is working to legislate stimulus packages to help Americans get through the crisis. And in her personal life, she had to watch from afar as her husband, John Bessler, was hospitalized with COVID-19.
For 10 days, Bessler’s temperature was over 100 degrees, Klobuchar tells TIME’s Senior White House Correspondent Brian Bennett during the TIME 100: Finding Hope virtual summit, which gathered the world’s top leaders to discuss the pandemic, how to confront it, and how the country will recover from it. But his condition eventually improved. “On the fifth day in the hospital, he took a good turn and his oxygen levels improved,” she says.
Though her husband is doing much better now, Klobuchar’s work is far from over. She’s stumping for former Vice President Joe Biden, her former rival, as he continues his bid to best President Donald Trump in the November election.
Electing Biden has perhaps never been more important, the Senator argues: “It really bothered me that this President, at the Republican Convention, said the words, ‘I alone can fix this,’ Klobuchar says of Trump. “And then when we’re in this major crisis of unprecedented dimensions with people’s lives on the line, he literally says ‘I’m in the backseat for the governors,’” referring to Trump’s recent rhetoric that seems to punt responsibility to the states.
Play video on original page
Amid the virtual town halls she is hosting for the former vice president, some political pundits have suggested Biden may pick Klobuchar to be his own running mate. But Klobuchar says she and Biden have not discussed it. “I never had any talks [with] him about any of that, because for me, what’s important is winning this election,” she said. She also refused to speculate about what she would say if he asked her to join his ticket: “I am not engaging in the hypotheticals,” she said. “We’ve got to deal with this pandemic, and we’ve got to do it as quickly as possible.”
She’s keeping up with her Senate responsibilities, too. In March, she worked to help Congress pass $400 million for safer voter measures—such as funding for vote-by-mail, expanded early voting and online registration, and additional poll workers and voting facilities—before the General Election. “I think everyone remembers that scene of the people of Wisconsin standing in line in homemade masks and garbage bags, just to risk their lives basically,” Klobuchar says of Wisconsin’s problematic primary.
Compared to the average person, Klobuchar may have an outsized impact on how the country will rebound from the chaos this pandemic unleashed, but her Thursday conversation also showed that, in some ways, the virus is the great equalizer: like many of us have experienced during virtual happy hours with loved ones, and video conference calls with coworkers, her broadband connection cut out a couple times.
“I hope that you and your family stay healthy and safe,” Bennett said at the end of their talk.
“Well, we will,” Klobuchar responded. “And we will improve our internet service.”
This article is part of #TIME100Talks: Finding Hope, a special series featuring leaders across different fields sharing their ideas for navigating the pandemic. Want more? Sign up for access to more virtual events, including live conversations with influential newsmakers.
Subscribe to TIME
The Coronavirus Brief.
Everything you need to know about the global spread of COVID-19
You can unsubscribe at any time. By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
WRITE TO ABBY VESOULIS AT ABBY.VESOULIS@TIME.COM​.
SHARE THIS STORY
MORE FROM TIME 100 TALKS
'You Should Not Be Able to Buy Justice.' John Legend on the Dangers of Incarceration During Coronavirus
Dr. Larry Brilliant and Dr. Leana Wen on How We Need to Prepare for the Next Pandemic
Watch JR Discuss the Meaning of Art During the Coronavirus Pandemic
How 'Broad, Ubiquitous Testing' Can Help Restart the U.S. Economy
Watch the Full TIME100 Talks Series
'I Can Be Someone I Didn't Have.' Actor Simu Liu on Asian Representation and His Marvel Future
© 2021 TIME USA, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy (Your California Privacy Rights) and Do Not Sell My Personal Information.
TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy Terms of Service apply.
Manage AccountDigital MagazinesHelp CenterSUBSCRIBE TIME 100 Talks
Manage AccountDigital MagazinesHelp Center SIGN IN Home U.S. Politics World Health Personal Finance by NextAdvisor Business Tech Entertainment Ideas Science History Newsfeed Sports Magazine TIME 2030 Video TIME100 Talks The TIME Vault TIME for Health TIME for Kids TIME Edge Red Border: Branded Content by TIME Newsletters Subscribe Give a Gift Shop the TIME Store US & Canada Global Help Center Careers Press Room Contact the Editors Reprints and Permissions Privacy Policy Your California Privacy Rights Terms of Use Site Map