Joe Biden

Remarks at a Campaign Event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

May 29, 2024

The President. Hello, Philadelphia!

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Thank you.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

It's good—it's good to be——

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. [Laughter] It's good to be almost home. I just live down the road a little bit. [Laughter]

Thank you, Kamala, for your partnership. And it is a partnership. And how about another round of applause for our great Vice President. Is she something else?

It's great to see so many friends, including my fellow Scrantonian Senator Bobby Casey. Bobby, where are—where are you? There you are.

Mayor Parker; Lieutenant Governor Davis; and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Steve Horsford; and members of the CBC who are here tonight, I'm a—if I introduced everybody, I'll be here all night.

But look, while he couldn't be here, we're thinking of our dear friend Congressman Dwight Evans. He's recovering. And he's going to recover. He's doing well.

And joining us are so many State and local officials from across the country, including a guy from my father's hometown, where he was born, Baltimore, Maryland.

[At this point, the President briefly imitated a Baltimore accent.]

They say it down—"Baltimore," not Baltimore.

I want to introduce you to the mayor of—the mayor—the Governor of the great State of Maryland. Where are you, Gov? [Applause] In case you haven't noticed, he looks like he can still play too. [Laughter] It's great to be with you, Gov.

Civil rights and community leaders from all across the country.

Folks, if anyone whether—wonders whether their vote matters, remember this: Because Black America voted in 2020, I'm—please, have a seat, if you can, if you have a seat.

Because Black Americans voted, Kamala and I are President and Vice President of the United States—because of you. That's not hyperbole. Because you voted, Donald Trump is a defeated former President. And with your vote—with your vote—in 2024, we're going to make Donald Trump a loser again.

In 2020 and throughout my career—I know a lot of Philadelphians know this because I got so much help when I was running for the Senate in Delaware from Philly—Black voters placed enormous faith in me. I've tried to do my best to honor that trust, staying true to the value set that we share, and got me involved as a kid in the first place: Everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect, faith and family are everything, and we leave no one behind.

But, folks, I know it's natural to wonder if democracy—the democracy you hear about actually works for you. When justice is denied, how can it be working for you? When promises are broken, how can it be working for you? When you have to be 10 times better than everyone else to get the same shot, how can it be working for you?

I get it. And I know there's a lot of misinformation out there. So I came today to speak the truth: the truth about promises made and promises kept.

Do you remember when the pandemic hit—when 20 million people were out of work, when businesses and schools shut down, emergency rooms were overwhelmed, and Black folks were hit harder than anyone else? When Trump was President, he said—and he said this—he took responsibility for none of it—he said, "It's none of my responsibility."

When I came into office, I promised we'd do everything we can to get us through that pandemic. And that's what we did. That, folks, was a promise made and a promise kept.

I promised to put racial equality at the center of everything I do because I vowed I would have an administration that looked like America. Because you voted, we're invested more money than ever in the Black families and communities. A promise made and a promise kept.

I promised we'd start to reconnect Black and Brown and overlooked neighborhoods cut off by highways in the sixties and decades of disinvestment as a consequence of it, including here in Philly. But we're—changed that with the Recovery Act of—with the—in the—right now you see all the construction going on, on the highways around here. A promise made and a promise kept.

Look, I said I'd remove every lead pipe in America so every child can drink clean water without fear of brain damage. We're doing it. A promise made and a promise kept.

I promised we'd also take the most significant action on environmental justice ever to remove the legacy of pollution that smothers fenceline communities, because every child, every American deserves to breathe clean and fresh air. We're doing it. A promise made and a promise kept.

I promised to access affordable high-speed internet, because now internet is just as important as it was in the days of Franklin Roosevelt—electricity was generations ago. We're delivering now because no child should have to do their homework at McDonald's when things are shut down, sit in the parking lot with their parent to get it done. Another promise made and another promise kept.

I promised to protect your health care. I protected and expanded the Affordable Health Care Act that was Obamacare—is still Obamacare—[applause]—saving millions of Americans an additional $800 a year in premiums. And, folks, the Affordable Care Act is still a big deal.

As Kamala just explained, Senators with—debated this, but we finally got it done—we debated—seniors with diabetes are now paying $35 for insulin instead of $400. I'm determined to make that apply to every American, not just seniors, in the second term.

We're capping—the bill we've already passed, we capped total out-of-pocket costs for drugs for seniors beginning next year at $2,000 a year total, excluding—including cancer drugs that cost $10-, $12-, $14,000 a year. You pay no more than $2,000 a year. A promise made and a promise kept.

And by the way, it not only saves people money, it saves the taxpayers—guess what?—$160 billion cut in the deficit because Medicare doesn't have to pay those exorbitant prices.

Folks, one of the reasons I got started and won the first time and subsequent times in Delaware is because of the best HBCU in America, Delaware State. Kamala—[applause]—Kamala says it's some school down in Washington. [Laughter]

Anyway, HBCUs are incredible institutions, but they don't have the same endowments as other universities to fund research centers and to do so much more. Because you voted, I kept my commitment, and we're investing $16 billion—the most ever in the history of America—$16 billion. It will grow America. It will save America money. A promise made and a promise kept.

I'm keeping my promises that no one should be in jail merely for using or possessing marijuana. I pardoned thousands of people incarcerated for the mere possession of marijuana—thousands. A promise made and a promise kept. And for—their records should be expunged as well, I might add.

Folks, it wasn't easy to get a lot of this done. In fact, obstacles every step of the way, we faced. For example, Senate Republicans blocked the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. But it didn't stop me from signing a historic Executive order requiring key elements of that bill for Federal enforcement. That is banning choke holds, greatly restricting no-knock warrants, creating databases for police misconduct, and so much more. But we're still—[applause]—and we did it with the support of George Floyd's family, and we're going to finally get it all done. A promise made and a promise kept.

I promised we'd beat the NRA, and we did. As Kamala mentioned, I signed the most significant gun safety law in nearly 30 years. A promise made and a promise kept. And by the way, I'm going to go back and once again ban assault weapons in America. I did it once; I'll do it again.

The Supreme Court blocked me from relieving student debt, but they didn't stop me. So far, I've relieved student debt for nearly 5 million Americans—a significant number are Black borrowers—so you can chase your dreams, start a family, buy a first home, start a business, and so much more. And guess what? It grows the economy. It strengthens the economy.

I'm going to keep it going. A promise made is a promise kept.

But we're—speaking of the——

Audience member. [Inaudible]

The President. ——speaking of the courts, because you voted, I was able to keep my commitment to appoint the first Black woman on the United States Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. A promise made and a promise kept.

And I appointed more Black women to the Federal circuit courts than every other President in American history combined. Every single President combined.

And overall, we've appointed 200 Black judges to the Federal—I mean, judges to the Federal bench.

And guess what? The next President—they're going to be able to appoint a couple of Justices, and I'll be damned if they're not going to have—[applause]. Look, if in fact we're able to change some of the Justices when they retire and put in really progressive judges like we've always had, tell me that won't change your life when Trump Justices are already gutting voting rights, overturning Roe, decimating affirmative action, and so much more. Are we going to let that happen? We can't.

Audience members. No!

The President. No, we—we really can't.

Now, let's talk about Trump's MAGA lies. I don't have an hour, but we're going to shorten it. [Laughter]

Trump takes credit for sending all the pandemic relief checks alone. It's a lie. The truth is, the Congressional Black Caucus got that money passed.

And when Kamala and I came to office, with the help of the CBC, passed legislation to deliver more checks in the pockets to millions of Americans, including Black Americans—$1,400 checks from the American Rescue Plan we passed, and then $300 a month per child per family through the child tax credit, which cut child poverty in half for Black families. And I'm going to get it reinstated in the second term.

Folks, Trump continues to lie by saying Black unemployment was at a record low on his watch. The fact is the record low unemployment happened on my watch, and we're going to keep it going.

Black small businesses are starting up at a faster rate in 30 years because of what we've done. The racial wealth gap is the lowest it's been in 20 years because of our efforts. A promise made and a promise kept.

I announced significant—the most significant housing plan in 50 years that includes first-time homebuyer's tax credit, building millions of affordable housing to bring rents down. New data shows a 40-percent cut in the gap between home appraisals in majority White communities versus those of color—in communities of color.

You know, the same exact builder on either side of 95, build the same houses—if it's a Black community, it's lower—the value, from the very day it's built, ends up being lower than the exact same house across the highway in the White community. We're doing everything we can to right that wrong.

And guess what? We're taking on corporate greed to bring down the price of gas, food, and rent; eliminating junk fees. Instead of getting charged 35 bucks for an overdraft, it's $3 now, not $35.

The bottom line is, we've invested more in Black America than any previous administration in history has. We're opening more doors for economic opportunity, including access to capital, entrepreneurship, workforce training so you can build a life of financial freedom and create generational wealth, all—all—while being the providers and leaders of your families and community. Another promise made and a promise kept.

We're just getting started. In the second term, we want to keep it going to level the playing field by making the wealthy begin to pay their fair tax. It ain't even close.

I said I'd not increase the tax of anybody making less than $400,000 a year. Well, guess who—how much—guess how much the average Federal tax rate is for a billionaire? We've got a thousand of them. Eight-point-three percent. Eight-point-three percent. It's outrageous. If the billionaires only had to pay 25 percent, it would raise forty—$400 billion. We'd be able to do everything we're doing now and still reduce the debt.

Look, billionaires pay their fair share, not only would it—not only reduce the deficit, but it could provide childcare, eldercare, paid leave, and so much more to change the lives of millions of Americans, as well as grow our economy.

But, folks, all progress, all freedom, all opportunities are at risk. Trump is trying to make the country forget just how dark and unsettling things were when he was President. But we'll never forget lying around and him—how he and—and us—him—him lying around, actually. [Laughter] And lying about how serious the pandemic was and say he had no responsibility for it. And telling Americans, "Just inject a little bleach." Remember that?

The way he's acting, I think he injected a hell of a lot of bleach in himself. [Laughter] Trump——

Audience member. [Inaudible]

The President. [Laughter] You've got it, kid. [Laughter]

Trump and his MAGA extremists want to give power back to Big Pharma to charge—continue to charge exorbitant fees. Trump is still determined, in his own words, quote, to "terminate" the Affordable Care Act, which would deny 3 million Black Americans health insurance, deny protections for preexisting conditions for millions more.

During his Presidency, Trump enacted a $2 trillion tax cut overwhelmingly benefiting the very wealthy and the biggest corporations and exploded the Federal deficit. He racked up more Federal debt than any President did in any Presidential term in history. Tell me about the Republicans and balancing budgets. And now he wants to do it again.

At the same time, he is determined to cut Social Security and Medicare.

Audience members. Boo!

The President. I have a better idea: Let's protect Social Security and Medicare and make the very wealthy begin to pay for it.

As Kamala said, Trump brags about gutting Roe v. Wade—standing there, "I did this"—while he openly encourages voter suppression and election subversion.

Folks, reelect Kamala and me and a Democratic Congress, and I will sign the John Lewis Voting Right Act and the Freedom To Vote Act tomorrow, and we will make Roe v. Wade the law of the land again. It's within our power to do this.

MAGA extremists ban books. Did you ever think—if you're anybody over 30 years old—you'd go through a period where we're banning books in America? They're trying to erase Black history. We're going to write Black history, because it's American history. It's American history.

Together, we make history, not erase it.

To me, the values of diversity, equality, inclusion are literally—and that's not kidding—the core strengths of America. That's why I'm proud to have the most diverse administration in history that taps into the full talents of our country. And it starts at the top with the Vice President.

On Memorial Day, I proudly stood with a Black man—the highest order—the first Black Secretary of Defense; second Black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Black women heads of military units who are overseeing the most diverse, strongest fighting force in the history of the world.

And, folks, the threat that Trump poses is greater in his second term than his first. It's clear that when he lost in 2020, something literally snapped in this guy. No, I'm serious. That's why January 6 happened, when he unleashed an insurrection.

Now he's running again, and he's clearly unhinged. He calls the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol "patriots"—"patriots." If reelected, he wants to pardon, quote, "every one" of them.

Audience members. Boo!

The President. Let me ask you, what do you think he would have done on January 6 if Black Americans had stormed it? Think about this: What do you think would have happened if Black Americans had stormed the Capitol? I don't think he'd be talking about pardons.

This is the same guy who wanted to tear gas you as you peacefully protested George Floyd's murder. The same guy who still calls the Central Park Five "guilty," even though they were exonerated.

He's that landlord who denies housing applications because of the color of your skin. He's that guy who won't say "Black lives matter" and invokes neo-Nazi, Third Reich terms.

And we all remember Trump is the same guy who unleashed birthism—the birtherism lie against Barack.

And then Trump tells you he's the greatest President—I love this one. He says he's the greatest President for Black people in the history of America, including more than Abraham Lincoln.

[The President made the sign of the cross.]

Audience members. Boo!

The President. I mean, can you fathom that? Where in the hell—like I said, I think he injected too much of that bleach in his skin—into his brain. [Laughter] I think it affected his brain.

Some lies are so foolish that you don't have to say anything about them at all.

Maya Angelou said, "When someone shows you who they are"——

Audience members. Believe them!

The President. ——"believe them the first time." You've got it, kid. [Laughter] You've got it.

I've shown you who I am, and Trump has shown you who he is. And today, Donald Trump is pandering and peddling lies and stereotypes for your votes so he can win for himself, not for you. Well, Donald Trump, I have a message for you: Not in our house and not on our watch.

Let me close with this. [Applause] Let me close with this. And, folks, I know we have a lot more to do. When the full promise of America is not available to every person in this country regardless of race, we've got work to do. But let's not lose sight of how far we've come. And the reason is you.

The stakes in this election couldn't be higher. What's at stake is nothing less than the fundamental ideal of America—it defines America: that we're all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, and should be treated that way throughout our lives. We've never lived up to it, but we've never, ever before completely walked away from it either.

And I'll be damned if I'm going to let Donald Trump be the reason we stopped being America. I'll be damned if I'm going to let Donald Trump—[applause]—we're not going to let Donald Trump turn America into a place that doesn't believe in honesty, decency, and treating people with respect. And I'll be damned if I'm going to let Donald Trump turn America into a place filled with anger and resentment and hate.

Folks, America has always been a place where we've worked toward a more perfect Union, where those who were excluded in the past are included in the promise in the country today. I still believe that. I'm still optimistic. But I need you.

So my question for you is simple—a simple one: Are you with me?

Audience members. Yes!

The President. Talk to your family.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Spread the word.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. As the gospel song goes: "We've come too far from where we started. Nobody told me the road would be easy. I don't believe He brought me this far, though, to leave me."

My fellow Americans, I don't think the good Lord brought us this far to leave us behind. We just have to remember who we are. We're the United States of America, and there is nothing—nothing, nothing—beyond our capacity when we act together.

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

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Every time—every time I walked out of my Grandfather Finnegan's house up in Scranton, he'd yell, "Joey, keep the faith." And my grandmother would yell, "No, Joey, spread it."

Go spread the faith.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 2:25 p.m. at Girard College. In his remarks, he referred to Mayor Cherelle L. Parker of Philadelphia, PA; Lt. Gov. Austin A. Davis of Pennsylvania; Gov. Westley W.O. "Wes" Moore of Maryland; Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. "C.Q." Brown, Jr., USAF; Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Jr., Korey Wise, and Yusef Salaam, also known as the Central Park Five, who were convicted and later exonerated for the rape of a female jogger in New York City's Central Park on April 19, 1989; and former President Barack Obama. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Vice President Kamala D. Harris.

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

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