Joe Biden

Remarks at a Campaign Reception in Chicago, Illinois

May 08, 2024

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Bob and Jane, thank you very much for hosting us, and thank you for that introduction. And, most of all, thanks for your friendship and partnership, and thank you for your support in this campaign and the convention.

I understand there's going to be a convention in Chicago. We're excited to come back to Chicago.

Look, we're into the spring—as we move into spring, we genuinely feel I—a genuine excitement about the momentum and the excitement of this campaign. So far, we have 1.6 million individual contributors, 97 percent—550,000 more than last time out and additionally—[applause]—and 97 percent of them contributed less than 200 bucks. They're monthly contributors.

It matters, and it shows a genuine enthusiasm. I don't think anybody has ever done that before.

And we're ramping up campaign headquarters and field offices, hiring staff across the country, and—ahead of Trump's MAGA Republicans. And we—you know, while we—the press doesn't write about it, the momentum is clearly in our favor. All the polls moving toward us and not—and away from Trump. The latest one, we have up 6 points.

I just came from Wisconsin, where the latest Quinnipiac Poll is—has us ahead 6 points among registered voters.

But the truth is, I don't think any of the polls matter very—this early around because it's hard to get a good poll these days. You know, to be able to call someone on a cell phone and get them to answer—most people don't have hardlines anymore. It takes a—you know, sometimes 30, 40 calls to get one person to answer.

So, you know, we were just in Wisconsin to announce a $3 billion investment from Microsoft to build a data center in Racine and power artificial intelligence systems, probably the most significant technological breakthrough in human history, and it has some potential—enormous potential for good and some potential for not so good.

It's being built on the same site that Trump promised Foxconn was going to build and invest $10 billion in manufacturing—10 billion. Trump showed up for that groundbreaking with literally gold shovels. I mean, the shovels were gold. Okay? And he promises they're going to build the "eighth wonder of the world."

Give me a break. [Laughter] He dug a hole, and he fell into it. [Laughter] He just keeps digging and digging more holes.

You know, look, Trump's trouble and—is in trouble, and he knows it. And you know, after bragging about the reason Roe v. Wade was overturned was because of him, he's now worried the voters are going to hold him accountable for what he said—I don't know why we'd do that, hold him accountable for what he said—and for all the cruelty and chaos that's been created as a consequence.

You know, well, we have news for Trump: The voters are going to hold him accountable.

Trump did a long interview with TIME magazine. Some of you may have seen it. And it's on the cover, so please read it. His words, not mine. He says States should monitor women's pregnancies and prosecute those who violate the ban. Monitor.

And that's not all. He said, "A lot of people liked what I did" with the—meaning with regard to his TIME magazine interview, as well as saying that he was responsible for Roe v. Wade being overruled.

He uses phrases like—and I'm not making this up. You can read it in TIME. You can read it anywhere on the—online. He said he'd be a dictator on "day one." Asked if he thought violence would occur if he lost, Trump said, "It depends." They asked him whether he'd accept the results of this election. He said, "It depends." "It depends." He can't understand how it could possibly be a result unless the—that he could support unless he won.

He calls the insurrectionists who are in prison—he calls them "patriots." And if reelected, he says, "I will pardon every one of them." Trump says that when he loses again in November—and that's my phrase—[laughter]—if he loses again in November, there will be a "bloodbath"—a "bloodbath."

And he said a whole lot more. But the bad news is he means what he says. He means what he says. Unless you think I'm kidding, just think back to the 6th of January. This guy means what he says.

But look, chaos is nothing new for Trump. His Presidency was chaos. Trump is trying to make the country forget about the dark and unsettling things that he did when he was President. Well, we're going to not let them forget.

We'll never forget him lying about the pandemic, telling people it wasn't really that serious. And saying all you've got to do is inject a little bit of bleach in your system. I mean, for real. That's —if you didn't know about it, you'd think I—mean, it'd be—but if I did this in a campaign 10 years ago, they'd commit me. [Laughter]

I mean, look, and that bleach he didn't inject in his body; he just put it in his hair. [Laughter] But look, he's got more hair than I do. [Laughter]

And we'll never forget his love letters to Kim Jong Un of North Korea and his admiration for Putin, telling him, "Just do what you need to do if people aren't moving your way."

And here's what he said in that TIME article: He may not come to the aid of an ally, if attacked, in Europe or Asia, if he felt they weren't paying their fair share of their defense—would not come to their aid. Again, not my words. You can read them in TIME magazine—quotes from him.

And I don't think anybody wants to go back to that. And I think we just got to remember—remind people what's going on.

Look how far we've come. We've created 15 million new jobs, a record number of jobs in a three-quarter-year period of any President in American history. More people have health insurance today than ever before in history in our country. We took on Big Pharma, and we won, lowering prescription drug costs for insulin for 35 bucks instead of 400 a month, and so much more that's written into the law that's going to be coming into effect.

For example, in 2025, no senior is going to be in a position to have to pay more than $20,000 for their entire bills, if in fact—I mean, $2,000, if, in fact, you're in a situation where you have a $15,000-a-year cancer drug you have to take. Nobody.

We made the most significant investment in climate ever—ever, ever, ever.

I signed the most significant gun safety law in 30 years.

I could go on, but the point is this: We're lowering costs. We're expanding opportunities and protecting freedoms. It's all at stake.

Trump is still determined to terminate the Affordable Care Act. He tried 51 times. He says he's going to do it again. That's going to have a profound—profound—impact on people.

I forget how—I have it in my—I don't want to give the press here—give the wrong number. But if I'm not mistaken, we're talking about millions of people who, in fact, would not have insurance, because—guess what?—you're in a situation where you have to—if you have a preexisting condition, you can't get covered by most policies, especially if you don't have the money to pay a lot for the policies. But I could go on.

Look, the reason why he wants to do away with the—the Affordable Care Act is because it was Obamacare. He can't stand the idea of associating himself with anything that had to do with Barack.

He's determined to get rid of the climate law. We're spending $369 billion on making climate change—for the first time in the history of the world—the world—not in the United States, in the world, we're in a situation, as some of you well know, that we're going to be in a position to make significant changes.

Because—and he wants to know why he—everybody wants to know why he hates the—dealing with climate change. Well, first of all, he says—he knows that Big Oil doesn't like it. And he says his plan for next time around is: drill, baby, drill, drill, drill, drill.

He's determined to cut taxes. I'm all for cutting taxes. I made a commitment no one under —making under $400,000 a year would see a penny of their Federal tax go up, and I've kept that commitment and will.

But he—you know, there's a—we have a—now we have a thousand billionaires in America. I'm a capitalist. That's good if you can make a billion bucks. Just start to pay a little bit of your fair share.

Guess what? You know what the average Federal rate of—tax rate is for a billionaire? Eight-point-three percent. Anybody want to trade that tax rate for any—but, all kidding aside, 8.3 percent.

If we just moved to 25 percent—not an exorbitant amount—25 percent, it would raise $400 billion over the next 10 years. Imagine what could be done. Imagine what could be done, from eliminating a significant portion of the Federal debt, all the way down to making sure that we have childcare—a whole range of things.

Look, but, at the same time, he makes no excuse about wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare. And he—and he could so much other damage.

Look, I proposed the most comprehensive immigration reform in decades, while Trump says immigrants are the—"poisoning the blood of America." Well, I wonder how many of us would be here if that was the case when our forefathers came—when our folks came. He says the biggest threat—the biggest threat is these—these criminals coming across the border.

Well, folks, the biggest threat is Trump's—the one he poses to our democracy. And above all, what's at risk in '24 are our freedoms, our democracy.

Look, let me close this. This an election about competing values and competing visions of America. Trump's values and visions are one of anger, hate, revenge, and retribution. "I will be your retribution." "I will be your"—you know, I have a very different set of values that leads me in a different direction for America, one of hope and one of optimism. No, I mean it.

I see an America where we defend democracy, not diminish it. I see an America where we protest and protect our freedoms when they're—attempt to be taken away and where we restore Roe v. Wade again as the law of the land.

I see an America where every—the economy grows from the middle out and the bottom up, because that's—when that works, everybody does well; the wealthy—the wealthy still do well, and everybody does well—we got a fighting chance—where working people finally have a fair shot; where healthcare becomes a right, not a privilege; where we make insulin affordable for everybody in America, capping prescription drug costs at 2,000 bucks a year for all—all—to all drugs.

I can jump you on Air Force One with me as we leave here, and you have a prescription from any American drug company, and you say—and how much it would cost in your local pharmacy. I can take you—you name the country; you name the city. I'll take you to Toronto, Berlin, Belgium, and—I could take it to—Rome, to—and you're going to be able to get the same exact prescription for somewhere between 40- to 60-percent less.

I see a future where we see the rest of the world as a dependable—we're seen by the rest of the world as a dependable and reliable ally.

Look what he's saying. He's telling people just—if, in fact, you don't like what's going on, he tells—straight up with Putin, he tells it, but he talks about it in the world: If you don't like what's going on in another country and you want to invade another country, if they haven't paid their share of what I consider necessary for their defense, have at it.

I see a future where we keep our pledge to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030, lead the way in saving the planet in the climate crisis. I see a future where we rid our country of gun violence and ban assault weapons again, and this time for real.

Folks, this election really is about democracy. It's about democracy. It's about freedom. It's about America. That's why I so badly need you.

We know we can do this together. I've never been more optimistic about our future. We just have to remember who in the hell we are. I really mean it. This is the United States of America. We're the only country in the world that's come out of every crisis we've faced stronger than we went in—every single one in our history. Not another country can say that.

There's nothing beyond our capacity. There really is not a single thing beyond our capacity as a nation when we do it together—when we actually do it together, compromise, and get things done.

So, folks, I'm confident we're going to do well in this election but, in no small part, because of all of you. You put me in a position to be able to run this campaign in a way that is going to be able to make the cases that need to be made to the American people.

And, as you well know, the American people usually don't really begin to hard focus in elections until sometime into the spring—into the fall.

But we're setting up, as I said, our infrastructure we're putting together as a campaign. He hasn't—Trump hasn't even opened a single major office in any State. He hasn't moved at all.

And so I think we're going to be in good shape but, in large part, because of all of you.

So thank you, thank you. Thank you. Thanks, everybody. Appreciate it.

NOTE: The President spoke at 5:16 p.m. at the Palmer House hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Bob Clark, executive chairman and founder board of advisors, Clayco Corp., and his wife Jane; former Presidents Donald J. Trump and Barack Obama; State Affairs Commission President Kim Jong Un of North Korea; and President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 9. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

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

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