Photo of Joe Biden

Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Terence R. McAuliffe in Arlington, Virginia

October 26, 2021

The President. Hello, Virginia!

Audience members. We love Joe! We love Joe! We love Joe!

The President. Thank you. Thank you. My name is Joe Biden. I'm Jill Biden's husband.

It's great to be with you all. I really mean that. First of all, it goes without saying how much I appreciate your current Governor, Ralph Northam. Where's Ralph? There you are, pal. Thank you. Well——

Audience members. Biden, Biden—[inaudible]! Biden, Biden—[inaudible]! Biden, Biden—[inaudible]!

Audience members. We love Joe! We love Joe! We love Joe!

The President. That's all right. Let them go. Let them go. That's okay. That's all right. Why don't you hang out and talk to me after this is over, okay?

Audience member. We love you!

The President. Well, thank you. Look—thank you, thank you, thank you.

Audience members. We love Joe! We love Joe! We love Joe!

The President. That's right. This is not a Trump rally. We let them holler. We let them holler.

I'd also like thank members of the congressional delegation that are here: Don Beyer—I think Don is here; Elaine Luria; Bobby Scott; Abigail Spanberger. Are they all over there? I don't—and Senator Tim Kaine and Jennifer Wexton. Folks, they've been critical in our efforts to make historic investments in our Nation and our people.

And of course, it's great to be here with Dorothy and Terry McAuliffe. Folks, it's time. It's time. One week to make those phone calls and knock on more doors. One week to get out the vote. And 1 more week to elect Terry McAuliffe your Governor of the State of Virginia.

You all know the stakes. And here are a few things I want you to remember. First, you don't have to wonder what kind of Governor Terry will be because you know what a great Governor he was. It wasn't just because of what he'd promised, it's what he delivered. On his watch, Virginia's economy boomed. Two hundred thousand jobs created. He made a record addition of $1 billion investment in education expanding preschool and resources for public schools in lower income communities and gave teachers a raise. Okay?

Now, I must say, parenthetically, the real reason I'm here tonight is, my wife Jill teaches full time at Northern Virginia Community College. And Terry's going to be her boss. [Laughter]

Look, Terry stood by our veterans, helping them apply their skills in good-paying civilian jobs in fields like cybersecurity and health care; funding for new veteran care centers, including the first one in the Hampton Roads region.

Look, he took on the gun lobby and enacted sensible gun safety measures without infringing on the Second Amendment, including helping keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.

Virginia, you know Terry. You know his record. He was a great Governor. If you reelect him again, he'll be another 4 years as a great Governor.

But look, how well do you know Terry's opponent?

Audience members. No!

The President. Well, just remember this: I ran against Donald Trump, and Terry is running against an acolyte of Donald Trump.

Terry's opponent doesn't like to talk about how—very much now—but to win the Republican nomination, he embraced Donald Trump. [Laughter]

Audience members. Boo!

The President. He started his campaign by saying the number-one issue in the race was—his called the election—he called for election integrity. Now, this guy starts, and he's calling for election integrity. Now, why did he do that? Because he wanted to hear Donald Trump? It was a price he'd have to pay for the nomination, and he paid it. But now he doesn't want to talk about Trump anymore.

Well, I do. Talk about an oxymoron: Donald Trump and election integrity? [Laughter] I can't believe he puts the words "Trump" and "integrity" in the same sentence. [Laughter]

Look, he's done a lot of lousy things. But when my friend General Colin Powell died, his integrity—a man of incredible integrity—they certainly go together with—"Colin Powell" and "integrity." He's a decorated American hero, which is why the attack just leveled by Trump against General Powell was so offensive.

I'd say it's unbelievable, but it's not. Trump did the same thing about John McCain. That's who Donald Trump is. All coming from a guy who invented the "big lie," drove a mob of insurrectionists to breach the Capitol on the 6th of January. And to this day, he incites people all around the country. He said—he said the people who attended his rally and then stormed the Capitol, quote: They "were peaceful people," they "were great people."

Audience members. Boo!

Audience member. [Inaudible]

The President. Well, God love you. I'm glad you're here.

Virginia, you know better. You saw it with your own eyes. Many of you were there. Some of you risked your lives. The anger. The rage. American flags turned into spears. A noose. A gallows. Police assaulted and killed. Death threats against elected officials and public servants carrying the most sacred act of a democracy: certifying a free election.

The breach of the Capitol; that didn't happen even during the Civil War. To Donald Trump, the insurrection isn't a violent assault that took place on January 6 at the Capitol. No. To Trump, the insurrection was the November 3 election when more Americans voted than had ever voted in all of our history. That's the "big lie" that Terry's opponent embraced.

And it prompted the Washington Post to write something about Terry's opponent that every Virginian should read before they vote, and I quote: "Glenn Youngkin has failed [the] character test. . . . He . . . has indulged and encouraged Republicans who have swallowed former President Trump's lie that last year's Presidential election was stolen. . . . Mr. Youngkin chose to dignify a fundamental fiction that is subverting our system, rather than stand[ing] . . . squarely for the truth. In doing so, he proved himself unfit for office." End of quote. I've not seen many editorials written that strongly in my career.

Heck, just look at how he's closing his campaign. He's gone from banning a woman's right to choose to banning books written by a Pulitzer Prize- and Nobel Prize-winning author, Toni Morrison.

Audience members. Boo!

The President. My wife Jill went to Princeton to interview her, taught her book. Let's be clear: This is a guy who doesn't know much about anything.

A women's right to choose is very much at risk because of what's happening in Texas. If you want to protect a woman's right to choose in Virginia, you need a Governor absolutely committed to protecting that right. And Terry has made it clear he will be a "brick wall" against anyone trying to take that constitutional right away.

But Terry's opponent not only embraces someone with such a lack of character, he endorses Donald Trump's bad ideas and bad record. Donald Trump is the only President since Herbert Hoover in the thirties to see more jobs lost than gained the 4 years he was in office. In just 9 months of our administration, we've created more jobs than any President has in the same period of time in American history.

When Donald Trump left office, there were only about 2 million people fully vaccinated. In just 9 months in our first year, over 190 million Americans are now fully vaccinated.

Trump—I love this one—Trump likes to boast the single best measure of the economy is the stock market. I never thought that. Well, if that's true, take a look at the stock market now. It's higher than it's ever been. I guess it—[inaudible]—everything is doing well. It is. Higher than it's ever been.

Not only that, more people are working today than just before the pandemic started. Household wealth is up. People are buying more things. Manufacturing is up. We're on the move, but we're on the right track. We've got more to do.

So, if you're looking for someone who is going to keep your economy going and growing, the man behind me is the guy to get it done. He'll do it again.

In fact, we're taking a page from Terry's book when he was Governor and when he'd be Governor next time. We're emerging from this pandemic, and we want to expand pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, millions of pre-K students. That's what's in my Build Back Better initiative. Studies show that when you do this, you increase by 58 percent the chances of a child—will complete the rest of their education in high school and beyond.

And what better—we want better roads, bridges, and airports. Well, take the new bridge that will be built next to the 117-year-old Long Bridge in Arlington. This will be a dedicated corridor to passenger rail and reduce traffic bottlenecks in freight rail. It will be a game changer.

Right now 13 percent of Virginia households don't have the internet. As we said during this pandemic, no parent should have to park in a McDonald's parking lot to have access to their internet for remote learning. Think about that. Terry wants every single Virginian to have access to affordable high-speed internet, and I guarantee we're going to both do that.

Right now there are 10 million homes and 400,000 schools and childcare centers in America that have lead pipes, including in their water. Look, folks, in America, every American, every child should be able to turn on a faucet and drink clean water.

Audience member. [Inaudible]

The President. Give that guy a drink of water, will you? [Laughter]

Look, let me ask you this. Why is it that, 20 years ago, a bottle of insulin for type 1 diabetes cost $32 a bottle, but today, the same exact—same exact—formula, no change, costs $280 a bottle?

Audience members. Boo!

The President. Hear me? That's not only wrong, it's immoral. Terry wants to take the drug companies—and I do—bring down the costs of prescription drugs. And we can do that.

There are nearly 2 million American—qualified women in America who are working—not working today because of childcare. Here in Virginia, the average two-parent home spends $14,600 a year for just one child. We want to bring those costs down so working families will not have to pay more than 7 percent of their income to care for a child under the age of 5.

We're going to raise the minimum wage to—Terry is going to—we strongly support it—to $15 an hour. No one—no one—working full-time should live below the poverty line.

And here's what else you ought to think about. Terry's opponent has made all of his private pledges of loyalty to Donald Trump. But what's really interesting to me: He won't stand next to Donald Trump now that the campaign's on. [Laughter]

Think about it. He won't allow Donald Trump to campaign for him in this State. And he's willing to pledge his loyalty to Trump in private. Why not in public? What's he trying to hide? Is there a problem with Trump being here? Is he embarrassed? Look at who has been here for Terry: my wife Jill, Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, and so many more.

Look, let me close with this. There is a fundamental difference between Democrats and Terry McAuliffe and what's going on in today's Republican Party and Terry's opponent.

Number one, we stand for working people and the middle class. Trickle-down economics has never worked. We're both building an economy from the bottom up and the middle out. Today's Republican Party stands for nothing but just keep cutting taxes for the wealthy and the most powerful corporations.

Second thing to remember—here's the deal: Virginia Democrats, you've made incredible progress in this State in recent years on jobs, the economy, health care, education, on attracting new business, growing the middle class, and so much more. For more than 40 years in Virginia, it has been the Democrat and Democratic Governors who have led. You've made this progress because you've had the courage and the wisdom to reject the very extremism that has taken over the Republican Party all across America.

Think of it. The Republican Party, nationally, is for nothing. Not a joke. Nothing. Nothing. Just look around. Just look around—at what's happening with the Governor of Texas and Florida——

Audience members. Boo!

The President. ——the assault on a woman's right to choose. The lives lost to this pandemic could have been saved. Virginia, for the sake of your families and the country, we can't let this happen here in Virginia.

Extremism can come in many forms. It can come in the rage of a mob driven in an assault—driven to assault the Capitol. It can come in a smile and a fleece vest. Either way, the "big lie" is still a big lie.

So, Virginia, show up. Show up like you did for Barack and me. Show up like you did for me and Kamala. And show up for a proven leader like Terry McAuliffe. Show up to protect the majority in the House of Delegates, to reelect Mark attorney general, elect Hala as Lieutenant Governor.

Virginia, you can't take anything for granted. So vote. Vote early. Get five of your friends and family to vote. You can drop off your ballots in drop boxes. You can mail them in. Visit to find out where and how to vote early.

Show up for democracy, for Virginia, for the United States of America.

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

Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:07 p.m. at Virginia Highlands Park. In his remarks, he referred to Fair Fight Founder and 2018 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Y. Abrams; Gov. Gregory W. Abbott of Texas; Gov. Ronald D. DeSantis of Florida; Virginia State Attorney General Mark Herring; and State Rep. Hala Ayala, in her capacity as the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 27.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Terence R. McAuliffe in Arlington, Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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