Joe Biden

Remarks at a Campaign Reception in Boston, Massachusetts

May 21, 2024

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you, Governor Maura Healey. Thank you for that introduction, and thanks for your support. You've been a hell of a Governor. [Laughter]

You know, it wasn't a hard choice for me to make when we—I came out and said I supported gay marriage. I remember when I was a kid and a good friend of mine, Paula Levine—we go back a long way; knew my dad. I was being dropped off at the City Hall to get an application to be a lifeguard. I was a lifeguard at a country swimming club, and then I decided I wanted to work in the projects on the east side. And I got dropped off at the—Rodney Square in the center of the city, where the DuPont company, Hercules company, and—and DuPont company all kind of came together.

And I'm getting out of the car, and I looked over and two well-dressed men—one who ended up walking to the Hercules building; the other walking to the DuPont building—and they kissed each other. And I turned and looked at my dad. He looked back at me and said: "Joey, it's simple. They love each other. It's simple." That's what I think it's about.

Thank you all for your support. And, folks, I usually start my remarks with how the campaign is doing. You know, we've raised, with your help, over $400 million, and we have nearly $200 million on hand. And we're building the strongest campaign in the history of America.

And that's all thanks to people like you in this room. But these are the days in a campaign when things happen that you just have to talk about. Today is one of those days.

Last night Donald Trump posted on his official social media account a video talking about the America he would create if he wins. And it includes the following quote: "a unified Reich"—"a unified Reich," unquote. "A unified Reich." That's not the language of an American President. That's not the language of any American. That's the language of Hitler's Germany.

And talk about the day, but Trump finally took that video down today. He got some lame excuse that a staffer did it. But we already know Trump personally controls his social media account because he's bragged so much about control.

But it's not the first time Trump has gone down this road. He attacks his opponents as "vermin," end quote. He says immigrants are, quote, "poisoning the blood" of America. That's the language of Hitler's Germany, not an American President.

Folks, I can't be—it can't be any clearer. The threat Trump poses is greater his second time around than it was the first. This is the same Trump who got elected in 2016, and something snapped when he lost in 2020.

He can't accept the fact he lost. It's literally driving him crazy. That's why January 6 happened. Every legal avenue Trump tried to change the election failed, so he unleashed the insurrection.

Now he's running again. He not only is obsessed with losing in 2020, he's clearly become unhinged. Just listen to him. He says he wants to be a dictator on "day one." He says he wants to "terminate" the Constitution. When asked if he thought violence would occur if he lost again, his comment was, "It depends." "It depends."

It depends? No American President ever said that until Trump came along. So I'll say what he can't. There is no place for violence in American politics—none, ever—period.

He calls the insurrectionists who are in prison "patriots." And if reelected, he said he's going to pardon, quote, "every one" of them. Imagine had by—imagine had those folks who went to the Capitol been Black, what he would have done. Imagine. Pardon—pardon them? These folks aren't patriots, they're criminals.

And finally, Trump says if he loses again in November, there will be a, quote, "bloodbath"—his phrase, not mine—his phrase. A bloodbath? When do Presidents talk like that in American history?

But it's not just a threat to our democracy that he poses; he's a threat to our personal freedoms as well. He's the reason Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Well, guess what? Elect Kamala and me, we're going to restore Roe v. Wade.

He's literally a threat to our health. He wants to get rid of $35 insulin that I was able to do and cap at $2,000 prescription drugs—all drugs—cumulatively for seniors. He still wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which—and by the way, it's the only reason why millions of people who have preexisting conditions will be able to get insurance at all.

He's a threat to the planet. Trump just told the big oil companies when he spoke to them that if they give him a million [billion; White House correction] dollars, he'll give them whatever they want.

Folks, we're a long way from Trump telling us in 2016 how he didn't need anybody's money; he had plenty himself. He's so desperate, he's selling Bibles and golden sneakers now. [Laughter] Can you imagine? Anyway. [Laughter]

Folks, Trump isn't running to lead America. He's running for revenge. That's revenge. But revenge is no way to lead a country.

I'm running to lead a country into the bright and noble future, that we have enormous opportunity in front of us if we grab it.

Look at the progress we've made so far: 15 million new jobs—a record for any first term; unemployment under 4 percent for 2 years and going down; record business creation; record economic growth; record investments in taking on the climate crisis; billions of dollars in investment in making complex computer chips. They used to—we invented, we improved, and we used to have 40 percent of the market. Used for everything from cell phones to automobiles to our weapons systems.

The single greatest investment in rebuilding American infrastructure and roads in our history: bridges, roads, eliminating lead pipes, providing the internet to all Americans—affordable.

We have to do more, but inflation has dropped from 9 percent to 3 percent. And we're going to keep get—bringing it down and are going—I—you're going to see that get to 2 percent.

Let me close with this, because I don't want to keep you too long. Folks, we've made a lot of progress, but we've got to keep going.

That's why I need you. I know you can do this—we can do this together. I've never been more optimistic about our future, and I mean that. I've been doing this a long time, but I've never been more optimistic about America's future.

We just have to grab hold of it. We have to remember who in the hell we are. We are the United States of America. There is nothing, nothing, nothing beyond our capacity—nothing. I mean it.

Folks, as a student of history, I can tell you we're the only nation in the world that has come through every crisis we've had stronger than we went into it. That's who we are. That's who we are.

We shouldn't stop now. There is so much opportunity, but we are on the cusp. We're at one of those inflection points in history. What happens in the next 3, 4 years is going to determine what the four or five decades are going to look like. And we can make it look good.

And the rest of the world is looking to us. They really are. Madeleine talked about—Madeleine Albright wrote about we're the essential nation. It's not hyperbole. Name me what country in the world could possibly lead the world without the United States. Name me one. Name me—it's not possible.

So we have an overwhelming obligation, but an overwhelming opportunity.

You know, I'm a poet—my colleagues, when I was in the Senate, used to always kid me I was always quoting Irish poets. They thought I did it because I was Irish. I did it because they're the best poets in the world. [Laughter]

But Seamus Heaney wrote a poem called "The Cure at Troy." And there's a stanza in that poem that I think we should pay attention to. It says, "History teaches us not to hope on this side of the grave, but then once in a lifetime, that longed-for tidal wave of justice rises up, and hope and history rhyme."

I'm determined, with your help, to make hope and history rhyme again so the middle class, the working class have a chance and everybody does well.

Now, I'll stop and get to the real reason why we're here. [Laughter] It's a real honor—and I really mean it—to welcome on stage a world-class musician, a friend, and someone who inspires me and people all over the world. Ladies and gentlemen, the real reason we're all here: Yo-Yo Ma.

Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 7:54 p.m. at the Seaport Hotel Boston. In his remarks, he referred to Vice President Kamala D. Harris. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 22. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks at a Campaign Reception in Boston, Massachusetts Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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