Joe Biden

Remarks at a Campaign Reception in Dallas, Texas

March 20, 2024

The President. Well, thank you, Kneeland and Sharon, for the introduction and for hosting us. You know, I think maybe, I'm learning with time, the worst sentence in the English language may be: The President is coming. [Laughter] It causes so much disruption, but I—really, thank you for hosting us. And thank you all for your support.

You know, Jaime Harrison, DNC chair; Chris Korge, the national finance chair—dear friends who I've worked with closely—Susan Rice and Ron Kirk—thank you all very much.

Folks, we're seeing incredible enthusiasm all over the country. I've traveled recently, in the last several weeks, to Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona. And Jill and Kamala and Doug and I are traveling as well.

The grassroots support keeps getting stronger. So far, since we've announced, this—we've had 1.3 million people contribute to our campaign—[applause]—with 500,000 of them brandnew contributors. And 97 percent of all contributions are under $200—97 percent.

We're ramping up our campaign headquarters and field offices—opened nearly 100 field offices all across the country before Trump and his MAGA Republican friends have even opened one.

While you probably haven't read about—a lot about it, in the last few days, we've seen some polls where we're—the five most recent national polls have us leading since my State of the Union Address.

But look, I know not everyone is feeling the enthusiasm. Just the other day a defeated-looking man came up to me and said, "Mr. President, I have crushing debt, and I'm completely wiped out." And I had to look at him and say: "Donald, I'm sorry. I can't help you." [Laughter] I thought about it, but I just couldn't do it.

Speaking of Donald Trump, just a few days ago, he asked the famous question in one of his rallies. He said, quote, "Are you better off today than you were years ago—4 year ago?" Well, Donald, I'm glad you asked. I hope everyone in this country asks the same question and thinks back to what it was in March of 2020.

COVID had come to America, and Trump was President. Our hospitals and emergency rooms were overwhelmed. First responders were risking their lives. Nurses had garbage bags for protection in the hospitals. There was a ventilator shortage. Mobile morgues were being set up. Over a million people died. Our loved ones were dying all alone, and they couldn't even say goodbye to them.

Unemployment shot up to 14 percent. The stock market crashed. Grocery store shelves were empty. And we even had a toilet paper panic, remember? [Laughter]

Well, for months, Trump tried to downplay the virus. He told us—he told us: "Don't worry. It'll go away. Just stay calm, and it'll be over by Easter." All the while, doing absolutely nothing.

Of course, we know from Bob Woodward's book that Trump was lying to the American people all along, that he knew how dangerous the virus was, but he hid it from us just to keep getting—things just kept getting worse.

He told Americans—remember he said, "Just inject some bleach in your system." If you didn't—you weren't around, you'd probably think I'm making this up. [Laughter] He told us to hit the body with UV light.

Later, he wanted—we wanted to tear-gas Americans on—for a photo op so he could peacefully protest—they were across from the White House peacefully protesting for justice.

And then, after losing the 2020 election, Trump finished his Presidency by sending an insurrectionist mob to attack the Capitol. And now he's talking about freeing them all.

You know—but 4 years later, look at how far we've come. Donald Trump is not President; I am. And because of you, I'm President. That's the reason.

COVID no longer controls our lives. We've created 15 million new jobs—more than any President has in a first term. The lowest unemployment rate in over 50 years. We have record economic growth, record new business creation. The stock market has risen to the highest level ever.

Insulin for seniors—the cost is down to $35 a month instead of $400. Out-of-pocket [costs for; White House correction] prescription drugs for seniors is capped at $2,000 a year, even for all drugs, including the cancer drugs that cost 10-, 12-, 15,000 bucks. And it doesn't save just—just save seniors' money. It saves a significant amount of money for the American taxpayers by reducing the Federal debt [deficit; White House correction] by over $160 billion because Medicare does not have to pay out these exorbitant prices.

We're rebuilding the national roads, bridges; delivering clean water and high-speed internet to every American. You know, American manufacturing is booming—800,000 manufacturing jobs and counting. And we've attracted over $650 billion in private-sector investment in clean energy, advanced manufacturing, semiconductors—all across America, including here in Texas. You're going to soon see some more coming.

We've made the biggest investment in history to combat climate change. But there's more —we have to do. There's more we have to do.

Inflation peaked at 9 percent, but now it dropped below just about 3 percent—the lowest in the world—and it's still dropping. But we have more to do.

So let me ask you: Does anyone here want to go back to 2020?

Audience members. No!

The President. Well, when fear ruled our lives, and Trump was President? I don't think so. I don't think so.

But look, folks, the problem isn't just getting back to where Trump left the country. The problem is he wants to take us—where he wants to take us now. Look at the things he's saying. And I hope we all know by now he means what he says. He only wants to be a dictator for a day.

He wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Over 30 million Americans depend on the ACA. It would be a disaster. He wants to get rid of the savings I just put into the law—the prescription drug prices of $35 a month. He wants to get rid of that whole ability for Medicare to negotiate.

He wants to enact another $2 trillion tax cut. This time—which is—by the way, this created the single largest debt in a 4-year period of any President of the United States of America.

He wants to—look, the House Republicans just proposed a massive cuts in Social Security. They laid out their platform. Trump recently said about Social Security and Medicare, quote, "There's a lot you can do in terms of cutting." Well, he means it.

He's a climate denier. He'll do away with the historic actions we've already taken on climate.

And after another school shooting about 3 weeks [months; White House correction] ago, you remember what he said? He said—when asked by the press, he said, "Just got—just get over it." "Just get over it." No, I want to stop it. The idea we're teaching our children to duck and cover in our schools is just sickening.

And look at the judges he put on the bench. Imagine what else he'll—who else he'll put on the bench if he wins again.

Our reputation internationally is being crushed when the President—when he was President. Imagine what will happen if he's reelected. He wants to walk away from NATO. He tells Putin, quote, "Do whatever the hell you want."

Trump hosts, recently, the Prime Minister, Orban, from Hungary at Mar-a-Lago. And Orban says he doesn't think democracies work, and Trump talks about how much he admires him and Putin.

Trump brags about how he's the reason Roe v. Wade was overturned, the freedom to choose was taken away. Americans needs to know Trump—Donald Trump and his MAGA extremists—extremists are not calling for a national—are now calling for a national ban on all abortions.

And one more thing. He didn't just bring chaos into the lives of women. He's also bringing chaos to the American border.

With a group of bipartisan Senators, led by a very conservative Senator from Oklahoma, we agreed over a 5-week period to the strongest border law in American history: One thousand—[applause]—1,500 more border agents and officers; 100 more immigration judges to hear the cases and the backlog—there's a backlog of 2 million cases; 4,300 more asylum officers and new policies so they can resolve cases in 6 months instead of 6 years, which every study shows will discourage people from going to these cowboys and being—paying 8,000 bucks to be smuggled across, knowing—if you know you're not going to be looked at again for another 6 years, then you—come, but if you know you're going to be out in 6 weeks, it's a different thing; 100 more high-tech drug detection machines—what I've been calling for for a long time—to significantly increase the ability to screen and stop vehicles from smuggling fentanyl into America.

But Trump was worried. He was worried it wouldn't [would; White House correction] work. It wasn't that he was against it. He couldn't stand the thought I'd get credit for it.

You know, folks, this wasn't about whether it's good for me or good for Trump. It's about whether it's good for America.

But here—[applause]—here's the deal. I've been around the Senate and the Congress for a long time and Vice President. I've never seen a President who has called people up to tell them to vote against something he thought was good because he worried the other guy would benefit.

You know—and here's what I'll not do. Unlike Donald Trump, I don't demonize immigrants. I'm not going to say immigrants are "poisoning the blood" of the nation. I'm not going to call immigrants "rapists" and "murderers." And I will not separate families. I will not end birthright citizenship.

I just met a young man whose parents came here from another country, and he was born here. Under Trump, if he had the law, he could not be an American citizen. It's outrageous.

And I will not ban people because of their religion. This is not who we are as Americans. It's not America.

But for all the threats—[applause]—I'm not going to keep you standing much longer. I apologize. [Laughter]

For all the threats Trump poses to our economy and to our standing in the world, the greatest threat he poses is to our democracy. The violence on January 6, Trump embraced it. He's running on it.

You know, at his—if you watch any of his rallies, he now has a thing where the folks in prison sing the national anthem and he interjects a—Pledge of Allegiance in between. The insurrectionists are in prison, and he calls them "patriots." And, if reelected, he says he's going to pardon them all. Folks, now Trump says if he loses again in November, there'll be a, quote, "bloodbath."

Folks, we can't stand for this. I'm going to say, with one voice—we have to say it as Americans; as Democrats, as Independents, and Republicans—that there's no place for political violence in America ever. Period.

And I don't know whether—[applause]—I don't know whether you recently saw what Liz Cheney—a woman who I, on policy matters, strongly disagree with—said that she can't vote for Trump; the only—we have to elect Biden.

Folks, this—this is not about me. It's about him. It's about what would happen if he wins again. I feel an overwhelming obligation to get this right.

Look, let me close with this. The stakes couldn't be higher across the board. But with your help, we're going to win and put down—up and down the ticket. That includes here in Texas, electing Colin instead of Ted Cruz. I'd like to see him join Donald Trump as a loser. [Laughter]

There's a lot of focus these days on how old I am and how old Trump is. I'm 41. [Laughter] But the real question is: How old are our ideas?

Donald Trump's vision for America is one of anger, fear, hate, revenge, retribution—some of the oldest ideas known to man.

I have a different view of America, a different vision, one that focuses on the future—and I mean this from the bottom my heart—and answers a single important question: Are you better off now than 4 years ago?

And here's the future I see. I see a future dedicated to democracy, not diminishing it. I see a future where the—we restore the right to choose, where—protect our freedoms but not take them away; increase the right to vote, not diminish it. I see a future where the middle class finally has a fair shot and the wealthy begin to pay their fair share.

You know, there are 1,000 billionaires in America now. I'm a capitalist. If you can make that kind of money and you—do it honestly, better for—congratulations. But it's about time you start paying your fair share.

You know how much the average tax is—the tax is for billionaires? Eight-point-three percent.

If they just paid 25 percent tax, which is not the highest tax bracket by a longshot—if they just paid 25 percent, you know how much money that'd raise in 10 years? Four hundred billion dollars. Imagine what we could do, from childcare to the deficit.

I see a future where we save the planet from climate crisis and our country from gun violence. Above all, I see a future for all of America where we don't demonize one another, we give hate no safe harbor, and we leave nobody behind.

That's the future—[applause]—I really mean it. And that's a future we can build together. And that's the reason I've never been more optimistic about the future. We just have to remember who we are.

My dad used to have an expression. He'd say: "Joey, remember, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about your dignity. It's about respect. It's about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, 'Honey, it's going to be okay.'"

We're the United States of America. We're the only nation, as a student of history, I can find that suggests—that come out of every crisis stronger than we went in, because of who we are. It's who we are.

There's nothing beyond our capacity when we act together—nothing. And I pray to God we stick together, because we can't afford—we can't afford not to.

So God bless you all. May God protect our troops.

And thank you for all the help. I appreciate it.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:34 p.m. at the residence of Kneeland and Sharon Youngblood. In his remarks, he referred to former Domestic Policy Council Director Susan E. Rice; former U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk; Douglas C. Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala D. Harris; Robert U. Woodward, associate editor, Washington Post; President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of Russia; Sens. James P. Lankford, Kyrsten L. Sinema, and Christopher S. Murphy; former Rep. Elizabeth L. Cheney; Texas Democratic senatorial candidate Rep. Colin Z. Allred; and Sen. R. Edward "Ted" Cruz. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on March 21. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

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

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