Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session With Children on Take Your Child to Work Day
The President. Well, I want to thank my Secret Service agents who walked me out here. [Laughter] And I want to thank you all, all you kids, for bringing your parents to work. [Laughter]
This is a good day. Anybody supposed to have school today?
Audience members. Yeah!
The President. All right. It's a real good day then, isn't it?
Audience members. Yeah!
The President. Well, it's great to see you all. Oh, hey, people in back of me, too. Hi, everybody.
Well, you know what? One of the things that, when I was—my kids were little that I miss the most was being able to take them to work. But I have in my office, over in the Oval Office, I have pictures of them on the White House lawn on days—on Bring Your Kid to School Day—I'm sorry, Work—today.
And so—I don't know. Which one of you guys is going to be President of the United States? [Laughter] You've got any Presidents here? All right, man. That's good.
You know, you've got to—just got to make me a promise though. When you're President and they say, "Joe Biden is out in the waiting room coming to see you, promise me you won't say, 'Joe who?'" [Laughter] You'll remember me, okay?
The President. All right. Well, I'll be darned. Do you guys have any questions for me? Any of you guys—kids have a question—yes.
Child. What's it like being President?
The President. What's it like being President? Well, first of all, it's probably the greatest honor anyone in America can have bestowed on them, number one. Number two, one of the best parts is—and I mean this sincerely—you get to meet so many different people. And number three, it also means that you live in this house. It's not a bad place to live, you know? And number four, you get to meet folks like you. And I really mean it. Thank you, thank you.
What's your name, angel?
The President. Hadley. What's your question?
Child. What—how many people live in the house?
The President. How many people live in the house? Well, right now, the only two people who live in the house every night of the family is Mrs. Biden and me. But we have grandchildren and children.
So I have a son who lives in California, but comes once in a while with his family.
And I have a daughter who lives up in Philadelphia. She's a—she works to help women who are victims of violence, and she's a social worker. And every once in a while, she comes down with her husband.
And then, the best part of it all, I have six grandchildren. And I'm crazy about them. And I speak to them every single day. Not a joke. Matter of fact, I just got finished going through the calls. And only one of them answered the phone. [Laughter] But at least I got to leave a message.
At least—and they're—my oldest granddaughter is named after one of my daughters who I lost in an accident a long time ago. And her name is Naomi.
And then I have number two—I have a daughter [granddaughter; White House correction] who works in the environmental movement. And her name is Finnegan and—named after my mom.
And number three, my granddaughter—I call her my "All-American girl." She was a great little athlete. And she's about to graduate from college in about 2 weeks. And her name—her name is—she's—the nickname we call her is "Maisy."
And then I have two other—a granddaughter who I just spoke—did get to speak to. And her name is Natalie, and she is a senior in high school about to graduate and go off to college where her daddy went to school.
And then I have a grandson who's going to be a senior in high school.
And then, now I have a new—a new—baby boy. He's 3½ years old. And his daddy named him after his brother, my deceased son. And he's Beau Biden.
So—and guess what? They're crazy about me—[laughter]—because I pay so much attention to them.
Anybody else have any questions? Yes, baby. What do you have? Oh——
Child. My name is Amelia. And where are your—where are your grandsons or granddaughters?
The President. Where? Okay. Her name is Amelia. She wants to know where my granddaughters are.
One granddaughter lives in Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. One granddaughter lives in New York. One granddaughter lives in Washington. One granddaughter lives in Wilmington, Delaware. And the other grandsons—my grandson lives in California.
But I left somebody out, didn't I? Anyway. Philadelphia, Wilmington, and——
Child. There are six, but you only said five.
The President. I did say five. You're right.
So let me see. I've got one in New York, two in Philadelphia—or is it three? No, three, because I've got one granddaughter who is—I don't know. [Laughter] You're confusing me. But they're all around. Wilmington, California, New York, and Philadelphia—the cities they live in.
Child. I'm—[inaudible]—and I wanted to ask: Why did you want to become the President?
The President. Why did I want to become the President? Well, you know, when I was younger, 120 years ago—[laughter]—when I was younger, I was in—I lived in a State that—it was very hard for African Americans to have a fair chance. It was segregated by law.
And so, as a high school student, I got involved in what was called the civil rights movement. And so one of the things that was happening in my State was, we were trying to get people to run to fight for civil rights, and we were having trouble getting that many people to run the—when I started off. And they asked me to run.
And I said I didn't want to. And then, my sister, who's my best friend—my sister used to be 3 years younger than me. Now she's 20 years younger than me. [Laughter] We went to the same university. She graduated with honors; I graduated. [Laughter]
But she managed my campaign, and so we ran in a district where my team—the team I belong to—hadn't won. And so I said, okay, I'd run—being the good sport. But guess what? We won because of my sister.
And next thing I know, they—one thing had a—one thing came after another. And then it turned out that I ended up being a Senator for a long time. And then, Barack Obama—President Obama asked me to be his Vice President. And then I ran for President 4 years later.
Child. What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
The President. Now she's talking my language. What's my favorite ice cream flavor? [Laughter] I may be among the dullest Presidents of the world because I'm known for two things: my Ray-Ban sunglasses and chocolate-chip ice cream. That's my favorite.
Down here. Yes, what's your—what is your question, honey?
Child. My question is, what makes you hopeful for the next generation of America?
The President. You.
He said, what makes me hopeful for the next generation of Americans?
The generation of Americans from you guys to the people all the way to their late twenties is the most open, the least prejudiced, the best educated, and the most giving generation in American history. For real. Not a joke.
And that's why I'm so hopeful. Because in America, we can do anything—anything at all—if we do it together. For real. There's not a single thing we can't do.
And what gives me the most hope is all of you guys. For real. And that's the God's truth.
At any rate, yes.
Child. What's your favorite color?
The President. My favorite color is blue. [Laughter]
All right. Not because it—when I started off, it wasn't red and blue States. It was—everything was—anyway—[laughter]. But that's my favorite color.
Child. How did you become a President?
The President. I became a President by go and asking people like your mommy and daddy—and I don't know your mommy and daddy—but asking them to look me over. I'd say: "Look me over. And if you like what you see, help out. If not, vote for the other guy. But give me a look."
And—but I ran because I think America is not only the greatest nation in the world, but we have—we can do more than any other nation to keep peace and to help people going.
I'm going to take two more. I'm getting myself in trouble here because your parents are saying, "When is he going to stop?" [Laughter] And my Secret Service agents, they're packing, so I've got to be careful what they tell me. [Laughter]
I'm going to go down at this end for just a minute. Okay? And then I'll finish up here. Okay? Hang on.
Okay. The lady in pink. You.
Child. Me? Oh.
The President. Fire away.
Child. Hello. Okay——
[At this point, another child whispered a question as follows.]
Child. What he'd eat for breakfast?
Child. Oh, what have you eaten for breakfast? And also, can I have a fist bump?
The President. You can have a fist bump. And I had a bacon and cheese on a croissant.
Child. Thank you. I'm going to try that.
The President. I mean bacon, scrambled egg, and cheese on a croissant.
Child. That sounds good.
The President. I forgot the scrambled egg.
Child. Can I have a fist bump?
The President. Sure, you can have a fist bump.
Child. Can I have a fist bump?
The President. You sure can.
Child. My name is Sophie. I was wondering what your biggest accomplishment so far in the White House has been.
The President. Well, I think the biggest accomplishment we've had so far is helping people being able to get health care and be able to afford health care.
You know, people need—you know, your moms and dads and a lot of people you know need prescription drugs. They need a prescription to stay healthy.
I'll give you one example. Do you know anybody—any of you kids know anybody who has diabetes—any kid you know? Well, guess what? It used to be, when I came to the office, that to pay for the diabetes for a month, a lot of parents had to pay three, four, five hundred dollars a month.
Child. That's a lot of money.
The President. Well, I was able to change it. They don't have to pay more than—they're not going to have to pay more than $35 a month for that. Those kinds of things.
The other thing is, I think one of the biggest things is—and it's not complicated, but it is a little bit. There is a concern when I got elected whether or not—I'll get your question—[laughter]—there is a concern that—whether or not we would hold all of our allies together, the people in Europe—France, England, Italy, Germany—to stay with a thing called "NATO," the North Atlantic Treaty assembly. And we've always been able to keep the peace since World War II that way.
And so I spent a lot of time pulling all those folks together to stay on the same page to take on the Russian aggression, what they're doing to the poor people in Ukraine. And so I think I'd consider that an accomplishment.
And the third thing I think is an accomplishment is that, you know, we have to be the strongest and most prosperous nation in the world, we have to have the best—what they call infrastructure: bridges, roads, highways, internet, all those things.
And I was able to convince a lot of my Republican friends to join us. And so we passed a significant bill to rebuild all our roads and all the things that are going to make your generation much, much stronger.
Child. Who is your biggest inspiration?
The President. My biggest inspiration? Let me see. Who—politically, my biggest inspiration was probably Dr. Martin Luther King. But, in terms of personally, my biggest inspiration were my mom and my dad.
My mom—for real, my dad used to say things when he was alive. He'd say: "Remember to be a person of your word, to be a man or a woman of your word, you have to keep your word. Whatever you say, you have to commit to. You have to stick with what you say and tell the truth. And it really does matter."
And my mom used to say, "Just remember, Joey: Never bow, never bend, never kneel. Just get up and fight back." And that's for real. And so I think my mom and dad were my two biggest inspirations.
Child. How many guards are in the building?
The President. How many guards in the building? Well, other than the four Secret Service people over there right in front of the podium—but you know, to tell you the truth, I don't know how many there are. There's a whole bunch, though. [Laughter] There's a whole bunch.
I don't know, honey. There's a lot. I wish I knew the number. I don't know.
Child. What is it like in the White House?
The President. Well, what's it like in the White House? Well, here. Come here. You hang with me for a minute and I—you don't want to go into the White House. Okay, all right. [Laughter] Okay.
Child. Do you watch the Stanley Cup playoffs? And if you do, do you have a favorite team?
The President. I did, and I do. The Philadelphia Flyers.
Child. I'm rooting for the Devils.
The President. Oh, you're——
Child. I'm rooting for the Devils.
The President. All right. That's a good thing.
Child. Can I have a fist bump?
The President. Yes. There you go. Hey, man.
Child. Can I have a selfie? And what was your favorite team in the Super Bowl final round?
The President. Well, let me grab that. Who—what was your favorite team?
Child. Kansas City Chiefs.
The President. I've got to admit, it was the other team for me. But Kansas City is pretty cool.
[The President posed for a photograph.]
There you go.
Child. Can I see? Can I try?
Child. What do I say?
The President. Whatever you want to say. Want to make a speech?
The President. What's your name?
The President. Did you have a question?
The President. Want to tell me what it is?
Child. Yuri Newman. [Laughter]
Woman. He said he's named Yuri Newman. [Laughter]
Child. That's—that sounds crazy.
The President. Can't answer that one.
Child. What was the last country you traveled to?
The President. The last country I've traveled—I'm thinking what's the last one I was in. I've been to 89—I met with 89 heads of state so far. So I'm trying to think.
What was the last—where was the last place I was? It's hard to keep track.
The President. I was—I mean, yes, you're right. Ireland. [Laughter] That's where it was. How'd you know that?
Child. I'm going to Ireland too.
The President. Oh, you're kidding me? All right, man.
Child. I'm visiting my nan and grandad.
The President. Okay.
Child. What is your favorite rose in the Rose Garden?
The President. My favorite rose is the white rose. And the reason that's my favorite rose is that that's the rose I always give my wife: the white rose.
Folks, I'm keeping you a long, long time. And I promise I'll answer some questions back here. But let me just say to—you know, your mommy and daddies are doing really important work, for real.
And you know, in America, you're allowed to have really different points of view. You can really disagree on which direction you think as you—that we should take the country, whether we should be spending money on this program or that program, or we should be dealing with one country or another.
But in the past, we've always, at the end of the day, come together. We've always come together. And so the most important thing to remember is that—
Now, let me—you know, America is the most unusual country in the world and we—for you little kids, "unique"—meaning there's not any other country like it. Most countries become countries because they are all the same religion or they're all the same ethnicity or they all have the same backgrounds. They're all—all very similar.
But America is the only country that was built on an idea. And no matter how young you are, I hope you remember the idea. And that is that we're based not on where we live, not the geography. We're based on this idea—and this is true. It says: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women—all men and women are created equal, endowed by their Creator, endowed by God, with certain inalienable rights—meaning rights that they just—they have just because they're born. And those rights are life—to have a good life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
No other country is based on that idea. No other country in the world. That's what makes us so special. And that's what makes us the envy of the world.
And I tell you, your moms and dads—both in the press, as well as in government—they allow us to be able to make it work. We've never completely reached our goal, but we've never walked away from it.
So remember, in America, you should be able to do anything. You can accomplish anything. And there's an awful lot of people who have become very, very, very consequential and done incredible things for America because we afford them an access to an education, we afford them the access to be able to do neat things.
So thank you, thank you, thank you. I can see everybody is going: "Slow it up, Biden. We better get this—get back to work."
But thank you, thank you, thank you.
I wish I could take more of your questions. But I—[applause]—I'm going to say hi back here. Thank you. [Laughter]
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Appreciate it.
[The President addressed another group of children as follows.]
Hey, guys. I didn't ask—let you guys ask me any question. What do you——
Child. I'm Glen. And what are you going to do to ensure the—the health care and money for the employees of the White House?
The President. What am I going to do to make sure we have health care for the employees of the White House? We're going to make sure that we tell the American people what we're doing and why everybody—if everybody paid their fair share in taxes, the superwealthy—like regular people pay their fair share—we can easily afford this.
You know, we have a thousand billionaires in America. They only pay 8 percent of their taxes. Your moms and dad pay 20, 25 percent on their taxes. They don't make anywhere near that. So we've just got to make sure everybody pays their fair share.
And we can do all these things. We can do them well.
Child. First, what's your favorite part about being President? And can I have a handshake?
The President. My favorite part about being President is doing what I'm doing right now, getting to look the American people in the eye and hear what's on their mind. I really mean it. That's my favorite part of being President.
Child. What's your favorite room in the White House?
And can I have—also have a handshake? [Laughter]
The President. My favorite room in the White House is the room that's off the bedroom, where I—I made it into a study where I'm able to go in there and write my speeches and do a lot of things very quietly.
And I also like that little place called the Oval Office. That's a pretty neat place too.
Okay? Thank you, man.
What's your question, honey?
Child. When you became President, did it take you a while to get used to everyone crowding you and taking pictures?
The President. [Laughter] Well, yes, it did a little bit. But, see, I had an advantage when I became President. I had, for the previous 8—I had for 8 years shown up every single day in the Oval Office as Vice President. So I got used to being with Barack and being in that circumstance, so it wasn't like all of a sudden, I was just in the national position. But it made it a little bit easier.
I'll take one more question here. Then I'm going to go across and ask for a question over here.
Child. Where were you born? [Laughter]
The President. That's a good question. I was born in a place called Scranton, Pennsylvania. In—it's up in—it's north of Philadelphia. It's almost into New York. But Scranton, Pennsylvania, is where I was born.
I'll be right back.
Child. What do you do on a daily basis?
The President. What do I do on a daily basis? Well, that's—without getting into the whole—every morning, I have a meeting with what they call my—the National Security Council—the people who are the people who collect all the information overnight, the secrets around the world, and fill me in on what they know is happening and not happening.
And so I sit with this—the head of the CIA, the head of the military, and I do that.
Every morning I meet with my Chief of Staff to find out what the most important things are going on that day. And then, it depends. For example, today I'm going to be—anyway, the schedule varies, but—and I meet with my press team. And I talk to the press as well.
Child. What's your favorite movie?
The President. My favorite movie was the new movie that was about that guy who flies jet planes. You know who I'm talking about?
Child. "Top Gun"?
The President. "Top Gun." The——
Child. Oh, yes, "Top Gun: Maverick."
The President. Did you see—did you see "Top Gun: Maverick"? That's been my favorite movie I've seen this year.
Child. It's my favorite movie too. [Laughter]
Child. Can I please have a fist bump?
Child. Mr. President, I heard you have to get back to the Oval Office. [Laughter]
The President. What was that?
Child. That's my sister.
The President. Oh, hi. How are you?
The President. You—what did you say? I didn't hear you.
Child. I said you have to get back to the—I heard you had to get back to the Oval Office.
The President. And by the way, the one thing I thought when I got to be President, I'd get to give orders. [Laughter] But I take more orders than I ever did.
And you're right, babe. What's your name?
The President. Kathleen, what a beautiful name.
Kathleen is reminding me I've got to get back to the office. If I don't go, they're going to get the Secret Service working on me, so I'm going to be in trouble.
Well, thank you all for taking the time. I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
NOTE: The President spoke at 12:43 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, USA; and White House Chief of Staff Jeffrey D. Zients. He also referred to his Howard D. Krein, husband of his daughter Ashley Biden; his grandson R. Hunter Biden II; and his sister Valerie Biden Owens.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session With Children on Take Your Child to Work Day Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/360993