Biden on working with Senate Republicans: ‘I will never publicly embarrass them’

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenJudge expels Republican action to close Georgia’s polls after business hours. First responders Fauci serenade with ‘happy birthday’ Joe Biden may be the president of middle class workers and all races MORE expressed optimism that he could work with Republicans because of his years of working alongside them, despite a heavily divided Congress.

“My advantage is that every senior Republican knows that I have never, ever, deceived them,” Biden said in a phone call on Wednesday with several columnists, according to The New York Times. “I will never publicly embarrass them.”

Biden faces a Congress deeply divided on party lines. Many Republican lawmakers supported President TrumpDonald Trump Powell says White House advisers will not let her help Trump Judge reject the Republican Party’s lawsuit to close Georgia polls after business hours Bipartisan, bicameral group urges Trump to sign the COVID-19 relief package MOREunproven claims of electoral fraud.

But Biden told reporters in the call, which included Times columnist David Leonhardt, Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post and Gerald F. Seib of The Wall Street Journal, that he thinks the country is in a different position now that it will allow a deal and action on certain issues – including the environment.

“I’m going to be able to do things in the environment that you won’t even believe,” he said, according to the Times. “I couldn’t have done that six years ago.”

He also said he hoped bipartisan work could be done in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has infected more than 18 million people and killed more than 329,000 in the United States, and poses significant economic challenges across the country.

“There is a new sense of urgency on the part of the general public,” he said. “The American public is being painfully alerted to the extent, damage and incredibly high cost of failing to take the kind of measures we’re talking about.”

Democrats will retain control of the House when Biden takes office in January, but the Senate’s fate is still undecided as Georgia moves on to two runoff contests.

Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock are facing GOP Sens. David PerdueDavid PerdueOssoff, Warnock every rake in more than 0 million Judge rejects GOP process to close Georgia polls after business hours Trump’s request for K checks puts pressure on Georgia’s Republican senators MORE and Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerOssoff, Warnock every rake in more than 0 million Judge rejects Republican Party action to close Georgia ballot boxes after business hours Warnock says he will focus on Georgians after the ex-wife’s video appears. MORE, respectively, in the runoff elections on January 5.

If Perdue and Loeffler are successful, the GOP will retain control of the Senate. But if Ossoff and Warnock defeated them, Biden would face fewer setbacks on his agenda, as Democrats would control both chambers of Congress during the start of his presidency.

Biden may also face some challenges from within his own party. He was among the most centrist candidates in the presidential primaries and has already faced pressure from progressives on several issues.

Asked this week whether he is ready to fight with Republicans and members of his own party, Biden told columnists: “Respectfully, I suggest that I beat up everyone.”

The president-elect noted that he overcame Trump with more than 7 million votes and won the Democratic presidential nomination, defeating several prominent progressives, according to the Times.

“I think I know what I’m doing and I have been very good at being able to handle the punches. I know how to block a straight right and make a right hook. I understand, ”he said.