Joe Biden

Remarks at a Campaign Event in Greenwich, Connecticut

June 03, 2024

The President. Richard, thank you. Richard——

Please, have a seat.

Thank you, Richard. I—I don't want to take more of your time, but I'm going to tell a little story about elevators myself. [Laughter] You know, I got elected when I was 29 years old to the Senate. I come from a very modest background, as Chris can tell you. Three-bedroom, split-level house. Four kids, a grandpop living with us. And we weren't poor, but we weren't wealthy, either.

And I got elected in '72 when Nixon received 60 percent of the vote in my State. I won by 3,100 votes. And I'm the first Catholic and the first Democrat in a long time to get elected to the Senate in that State.

And so I went down to Washington, and right after the—I got elected, there was an unfortunate accident in my family while I was—wasn't old enough to be sworn in, as the Gov knows. I had to wait 17 days to be eligible. And I was hiring staff. Teddy Kennedy let me use his office to hire staff, and I got a phone call from my local fire department saying my wife and daughter had just been killed in an automobile accident and my two sons were very badly injured. We weren't sure they were going to make it.

And so I didn't want to go. And, as Chris can tell you well, as one of my best friends in the Senate—best friends, period—that a number of the senior Senators came to me and say, "Look, just stay for 6 months." [Laughter] If they only knew. [Laughter] "Just stay for 6 months." And they saved my sanity.

But I got appointed to two very important committees that everybody wanted to get on. The three most sought-after committees in the Congress in the Senate were the Appropriations Committee, where the money is; and Foreign Relationship, where—Foreign Relations, where the international—all the international issues are; and Judiciary, which was a very contentious time during the civil rights movement.

And so I showed—Henry Kissinger was going to testify on whether or not we were going to stay in Iraq. Remember—you know, none of you women are old enough; some of the men may be—[laughter]—that whether or not we're going to stay in Sector 3 in Vietnam or we're going to leave and end the war.

To make a long story not quite so long, so I showed up and I had all my questions prepared, Chris. And I sat in the—you know, that Foreign Relations Committee room with the horseshoe there—seating—at the very end, the most junior guy. And I'm sitting there wondering where everybody is. And what happens is, a young secretary goes, "Can I help you, Senator?" I said, "Yes, I'm here for the Kissinger hearing." She said, "Oh, that's over in S101."

I went, "Where in the hell is that?" I had never been there. It was over in the Capitol. She told me it was on the first floor of the Capitol. So I went, literally jogging—rushed, sprinting across the Mall, and it was a warm day. I was perspiring like hell. I'm running, looking at the little plaques on the door. I find 101, and it's a louvered door that opens outward.

So I grab the door and pull. I—my hand was perspiring by then. And, all of a sudden, a cop grabs me and spins me around and throws me against a wall. [Laughter] I swear to God.

He says, "Where in the hell do you think you're going, kid?" I said: "I'm embarrassed. I'm a—I'm a U.S. Senator." He said: "Oh, geez. Okay, go ahead." [Laughter]

And as Chris will remind—and the others that have been in that room will tell you, it's a beautiful frescoed ceiling in that—that meeting room with a great big—it's like a miniature Cabinet room. And so there's double doors—French doors that open inward.

And my hand was perspiring, and I pushed the door open, and it slipped out of my hand and smashed against the filing cabinets. And all of a sudden, I find myself in the back of Henry Kissinger. [Laughter] Literally. And so I sat down, making myself the third-ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It went bad to worse.

Got to the very end of the process and Senator Mansfield was then chairing because Senator Fulbright had to go to the floor. And he said, "Any more questions?" And I said, "Yes, I do." And they kind of looked at me like, "Oh, God."

So I said, "Mr. Secretary"—and all—he put his hands up, and he said: "Mr. Chairman, I thought we agreed: No staff in the committee room." [Laughter] I said, "Thank you, Secretary Dulles." And things got better from there. [Laughter]

But so—I'm accustomed not being able to get on elevators. But I wish—I've been the youngest for too long, now I'm the damn oldest. I like being young. [Laughter]

Look, thank you, Lisa, for being here and allowing me to be in your home and for hosting us tonight.

Look, thanks to everyone here and especially to my buddy Chris. That's not hyperbole. He's always been there—the good and the bad in my life—always there to help me.

And, Ned—Ned was the first Governor in the United States to endorse me in 2020, stepped up for me. We Irish don't forget, Ned. [Laughter] And, Susan, your Lieutenant Governor, thanks for your leadership. And thanks for the members of Congress.

You know, Richard Blumenthal is a real class guy. He and my son—my son was attorney general, and Richard took care of my son, who passed away—my son Beau. He looked out for him and was—and never—and my son always talked about you, for real—for real—because of the way you treated him.

And Chris Murphy, who—and Jim Himes are two—Chris, the Senator, and Jim, State Rep—two of the most polished and most informed Members of the United States Congress. Thank God they're there. They're great partners in all the progress we made in the last 4 years.

And thanks to all of you for your support.

Look, folks, this campaign has entered uncharted territory. Last week, for the first time in American history, a former President is convicted—a convicted felon. He's now seeking the office of the Presidency.

Audience member. Boo!

The President. But as—but as disturbing as that is, more demanding, more damaging is the all-out assault Donald Trump is making on the American system of justice. An all-out assault is being supported by the Republican Party—the MAGA Party.

And by the way, it's surprised me—I don't know about Chris and Murph and the rest—but it's surprised me some of the people we know who are much better men and women than they have—appear to be are all falling in line—I'm not quite sure why—on the Republican side.

An all-out assault that is completely without any basis. What happened in New York was profound as it was simple. The American people—a principle that no one is above the law—it was reaffirmed. It was that basic.

But now Donald Trump wants you to believe it's all rigged. But nothing could be further from the truth. The facts are Donald Trump was given every opportunity to defend himself. It was a State case, even though he said Biden set this up, and not a Federal case. And it was heard by a jury of 12 citizens, American citizens, just like the millions of Americans that serve on juries all over the country.

This jury was chosen the same way every other jury was chosen, and it was a process that Donald Trump's own attorney was part of.

The jury heard 5 weeks of evidence. And after careful deliberations, the jury reached a unanimous verdict on 34 counts of felony. Now he will be given an opportunity to appeal, like every citizen has a right to do.

That's how the American system works. That's how justice works in American. And it's reckless and dangerous and downright irresponsible for anyone to say that it's rigged just because they don't like the verdict.

Our justice system has endured for 250 years in this country. It's been the cornerstone of American democracy. And that's not hyperbole; it's a fact. The justice system should be respected. We should never allow anyone to tear it down.

So I want to thank—I want you to think about what Trump is doing. He's attacking both the judiciary and the election system as rigged. Nothing could be more dangerous for the country, more dangerous for the American democracy.

Folks, here's what is becoming clearer and clearer every day. The threat Trump poses would be greater in a second term than it was in his first. This isn't the same Trump that got elected in 2016. He's worse. Something snapped in this guy, for real, when he lost in 2020. He can't accept loss. He can't accept the fact that he lost. It's literally driving him crazy.

That's why the 6th—January 6 happened. Trump tried to challenge the election results on every legislative—every legal avenue. Over 60 cases—60 court cases unanimously rejected his outrageous claims. Trump failed in the courts, and he unleashed an insurrection.

Now he's running again. He's not only obsessed with losing in 2020, he's clearly been—and I mean this sincerely—a little unhinged. Just listen to his rantings. He says he wants to be, in his words, a dictator for one day.

He said he wants, in his words, to "terminate" the Constitution when necessary. He asked the—if he thought violence would occur if he lost. He said, "It depends." He calls convicted—insurrectionists who are in prison now "patriots." And if reelected, he wants to pardon "every one" of them. His words. "Every one."

Trump says if he loses again in November—these are his words—there will be a "bloodbath" in America. If he loses, there will be a "bloodbath." My God. What kind of man is this? The things he's saying.

In fact, just this weekend, he said MAGA supporters would reach a "breaking point." Throughout his campaign, Trump has made it clear that running is the exact—is his way to exact revenge. That's what he talks about. Now, after his criminal convictions, it's clear he's worried about—preserving his freedoms.

But while Trump is worried about preserving his freedom, he's got no problem taking away your freedoms. Trump brags about how he's the reason why Roe v. Wade was overturned. The first time in our history, because of Donald Trump, a fundamental constitutional guarantee was taken away from the American people, from women in America.

Well, guess what? Kamala and I and a Democratic Congress are the reason why Roe v. Wade is going to be reinstated once again—[inaudible].

If you're my age, you may recall, even though it wasn't so prevalent in my time, duck-and-cover drills in grade school. Well, more children in America are killed by guns than anything else and they have duck-and-cover drills in public schools and—[inaudible]—schools across the county. It's ironic.

Trump has got no problem taking away the freedom of children who just want to go to school safely without fear and violence. He told the NRA, the National Rifle Association, at their national convention not long ago, he was proud—in his words that "I did nothing—did nothing on guns when I was President." He's doing nothing. He made the situation worse.

He's going to undo everything we've done on guns since we've been elected, including the most significant gun safety law in 30 years—just ask Senator Chris Murphy, who was the—instrumental in writing and getting that passed.

But that's not all. We pay more for prescription drugs than any other advanced nation in the world. With the help of congressional members here in this room, we finally beat Big Pharma by giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, like the Veterans Administration is able to negotiate prices for drugs for veterans.

Now seniors with diabetes will only have to pay $35 a month because of what I wrote instead of $400 a month. And starting next year, seniors will have to have a cap of $2,000 on all the drugs they consume, and that includes expensive cancer drugs that cost $10-, $12-, $14,000 a year.

It not only saves people's lives and money, it saves the American taxpayer—what we've done so far—$160 billion so far—because Medicare does not have to pay prices. Medicare no longer has to pay those exorbitant prices.

In the second term, we're going to make sure insulin is 35 bucks a month and the drug costs are $2,000 a year maximum for every single American, not just seniors. But Trump wants to undo that law as well and give back Big Pharma to rip off American people, charge you whatever they want for the medications you badly need. It's outrageous and it's absolutely—absolutely outrageous.

And, of course, he still wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act—it used to be called Obamacare—that protects millions of Americans from being denied coverage because they have preexisting conditions. They could not afford health insurance at all. It's a historic law. It's saving lives. And Trump wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. But I'm not only protecting it, I'm expanding it.

Trump got elected in 2016. He told everyone he didn't need anyone's money was—he was so wealthy and so well situated. He not only lied then; he's lying now. He's desperate. He's out selling Bibles and golden sneakers. [Laughter] Think of that. I mean, God—anyway. [Laughter]

What's more troubling: He's selling his Presidency to the highest bidder down in Mar-a-Lago. He just told Big Oil executives that if they give him 1 dollar—1 million—billion dollars in campaign contributions, he would be their—he would have, in their words, "a deal" because of tax and regulations he would help them avoid. And then he said when it ended, "I'm going to drill, drill, drill, drill." This guy thinks there's no such thing as global warming.

Folks, when Kamala and I came to office, the pandemic was raging, the economy was reeling. And what did Trump do? He denied—even though he gave an interview acknowledging he knew it—the deadly nature of COVID. He told us to inject bleach in his skin. Well, guess what? I think he must have injected it in his brain because—[laughter].

Over 1 million people would go on to die. How many of them didn't need to die if we just acted sooner? But we've come a long way since then. Because of what we did, COVID no longer controls our lives.

We had increased the—and we've increased—he increased the national debt when he was in there for 4 years by $18 trillion. And this guy talks about managing the budget?

He's also the only President other than Herbert Hoover to lose more jobs by the time he left office than when he entered office.

On our watch, we've created a record 15 million new jobs. Unemployment has been under 4 percent for over 2 years with historic lows in Black and Hispanic unemployment. The fastest small-business creation in three decades because of our actions. Record economic growth and wages continue to rise. The most significant investment in climate ever in the history of the world. A record investment in rebuilding America—our roads, bridges, ports, airports, clean water systems, affordable high-speed internet.

Remember it was going to be—next month was going to be "Infrastructure Month"? Well, guess what? We have—you're going to have infrastructure for 10 years what we've done so far—helping grow the economy by creating first-rate jobs.

And look, I know we have more to do. Too many folks are still—for—things are tough for them. Inflation has dropped from 9 percent to 3 percent. And we're going to keep working to bring it down further. Just last week, former Secretary of Treasury Larry Summers wrote, and I quote, "If you're worried about inflation, Trump is just going to make it a hell of a lot worse." And he will.

Everything Trump is proposing—and he's laid out what he would do: new tax cuts for the super wealthy and the biggest corporations that will explode the Federal deficit; giving—giving back the power to change those—charge those hidden fees called "junk fees" on everything from credit card bills—or overcharge to hotel; a huge new consumer tax in the form of a giant 10 percent tax on every product shipped into America. Almost every expert will tell you that it's going to drive up inflation considerably.

Let me close with this. We've made a lot of progress, and we can create even more progress, but we've got to keep it going. That's why I need all of you.

We're building the biggest grassroots operation in the history of politics. Already—this is—is about grassroots—we have more than 2 million individuals, as of the end of May—2 million individuals, roughly 90 percent of all—of them—contributors who contributed less than $200. Two million. Two million.

We've raised more money than any President has at this point because of people like you. But the point is, it's a groundswell. It's all over America. Two million individual contributors.

And the polls are moving our way. The polls show that roughly half the independents thought Trump should drop out of the race because of the criminal convictions.

Folks, in just a few days, I'll be in Normandy Beach in France on the 80th anniversary of D-Day invasion—one of the most important moments in the history of defense of freedom and democracy in the history of the world. You know, what those soldiers died for must never be given up.

I want to say as clearly as I can: Democracy—and I've been saying this for a while—democracy is literally on the ballot this year. The future of democracy and freedom is at stake. We have brave soldiers who gave their lives on the beaches of Normandy who did their part.

You may recall, this—I'm glad I wasn't with him. I lost my son because of being near a burn pit for a year in Iraq. He was a major in the United States Army, attorney general of the State of Delaware.

Glad I wasn't with him when he said—remember, he wouldn't go up to the Normandy—he wouldn't go up to that American cemetery in Italy [France; White House correction]? Why? He said they're "losers" and "suckers." "Losers" and "suckers." Who in the hell does he think he is?

This guy does not deserve to be President, whether or not I was running. Now we have to do our part. We have to do it together.

I've never been more optimistic in my entire career. We just have to remember who the hell we are. We are the United States of America. There is nothing—nothing—beyond our capacity. We're the only Nation in the history of the world that's come out of every crisis stronger than we went in. It's time for us to stand up and take it back. It's time for us to do what we can do. It's time for us to give everybody a shot.

My dad used to say: "Joey, your job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about your dignity. It's about your honor. It's about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, 'Honey, it's going to be okay.'" Well, that's what's happening now. We're on the cusp.

We've gone from trickle-down economics to the point where we're in a situation where we build from the middle class out and the bottom up. And that way the wealthy still do very well. No one wealthy is hurting at all. We're in good shape. So we have to keep it going that way.

Remember—remember why we're in this. We're in this to make life better for everybody. Just give people, as my dad would say, an even chance. Just a shot. Nothing guaranteed, just a shot. Give them a shot, they'll step up.

This is the United States of America. And we're going to do it.

God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 7:38 p.m. at the residence of Richard and Lisa Plepler. In his remarks, he referred to former Sen. Christopher J. Dodd; Gov. Edward M. Lamont, Jr., and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz of Connecticut; Sen. Richard Blumenthal; and Vice President Kamala D. Harris. He also referred to his sister Valerie Biden Owens and brothers Francis W. and James B. Biden. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on June 4. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks at a Campaign Event in Greenwich, Connecticut Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives