Joe Biden

Remarks at a Campaign Reception in McLean, Virginia

June 18, 2024

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

I think your patience exceeds your good judgment. [Laughter]

Folks, look, first of all, I want to thank Terry's neighbors. Where—where are his neighbors? [Laughter] Because they've gone through hell putting this thing on. [Laughter] Understand, the President in your house, everyone—I apologize. [Laughter] But thank you, thank you, thank you. And, by the way, we'll—we'll figure it out.

Terry, thanks for hosting us and thanks for your friendship. I remember being here back in 2020 when a lot of people believed we couldn't win. And—but Terry and his family believed we could then and now.

Most of all, thanks to President and Secretary Clinton, who we all know as Bill and Hillary. They're dear friends, great Americans, and I'm grateful—I'm truly grateful for their support.

You know, Bill holds the record for the most jobs created. And I'm hoping, in another 4 years, I can get close.

Hillary, you were not only a great Senator and Secretary of State, you're a hell of a producer. [Laughter] And to see you on a—the reception you got at the Tony Awards—holy God almighty—standing ovation speaking to the power of women.

Folks, back in 2016, Hillary warned us about many things, including how the Supreme Court was at stake and the rights of women were at stake. She was right.

Over the weekend, in Los Angeles, Barack and I made the point: The next President could have possibly two or more Supreme Court Justices in the next 4 years. That would mean, if Trump wins, there would be five or more MAGA-appointed Justices that could determine the future for decades to come.

Audience members. Boo!

The President. We can't let that happen.

I said in 2020, we're in a battle for the soul of America. And here we are in 2024, and what we're fighting for is clear. It's freedom in the literal sense: freedom, democracy, America.

Because all of you in this room and all of you in this tent and supporters around the country, look how far we've come. We came through a pandemic, as it was mentioned; we have the strongest economy in the world right now; 15 million new jobs—a record in 3½ years; historic unemployment, including Black and Hispanic unemployment; historic small-business creation; historic economic growth and wages continue to rise; the most significant investment in climate ever—ever in the history of the world; and a record in building America's—rebuilding America's roads, bridges, high-speed rail, ports, airports, clean water system, affordable high-speed internet—the list goes on.

Remember Trump had—every year he had—every month he had—you know, month—the—the month was devoted to this issue. Well, we got 10 years' worth, and we're just starting.

Folks, in the second term, we can do much more to create more good-paying jobs; make housing more affordable; lower inflation, which is down significantly, by taking on corporate greed—to fundamentally clear—change the economy and grow from the middle out—that was what we talked about. I remember talking about this with you, Hillary, back when you were in the Senate. The trickle-down economic system didn't work a whole lot.

My dad used to say not a whole lot trickled down to his kitchen table. [Laughter] But when the—no, I'm serious. My dad was a—was a well-read man who has a heart of gold. And he used to—we talk about—what we decided to do was build from the middle out and the bottom up. That way the wealthy still do very well and the poor have a chance and the middle class continue to grow.

But Trump will—because—and I mean this sincerely—because Terry is such a—did such a good job talking about these issues, all I'm going to say is, Trump has made it clear: If he wins, he's going to undo everything we've done.

Folks, for the first time in American history, a former President that is a convicted felon is now seeking the office of the Presidency. But as disturbing as that is, more damaging is the all-out assault Donald Trump is making on our system of justice—literally a—an all-out assault that is being supported by the Republican Party—not because he was convicted, but the way he tries to undermine the system.

Folks, it's clearer every day: The threat Trump poses would be greater in a second term than it was in his first term. You know, he snapped when he lost in—I mean this sincerely—I think he snapped when he lost in 2020. He can't accept he lost. He's—literally driving him crazy. That's why on—January 6 happened. He's—now he's running again. He's not only obsessed with losing in 2020, he's clearly a little bit unhinged right now. No, I'm being serious.

Just listen to him. He says he wants to—he wants, in his words, to be dictator on "day one." He says he wants his words—in his words, to "terminate" the Constitution. He calls convicted insurrectionists who are in prison "patriots," and he says, if reelected, he's going to pardon every one of them. Trump says if he loses again in November—using his words—there will be a "bloodbath"—his phrase—there will be a "bloodbath."

Throughout this campaign, Trump has made it clear he is running to exact revenge. And now, after criminal convictions, it's clear he's worried about preserving his freedoms.

While Trump is worried about preserving his freedoms, he's got a lot of problems. He's taking away—you know, look, he's taking away your freedom. But he's got three or four other cases to—that could put him in jail.

Folks, Trump brags about he's the reason Roe v. Wade was overturned. Well, guess what? Kamala and I are going to be the reason why Roe v. Wade is returned.

More children are killed in America by guns—more children are killed in America by guns than any other cause. But Trump has got no problem taking away the freedom of children who just want to go to school.

Did you ever think—those of you who are over the age of 50—we'd be talking about "duck and cover" in school for our children?

Without gun violence—look, he told the NRA he was proud of—in his words, he did, quote, "nothing on guns when I was President." He's going to undo everything we've done since I've been elected, including the most significant gun safety provision in 30 years, since President Clinton signed the assault weapons ban.

But, folks, I'll try to make this—that's not all. We pay more for prescription drugs than any advanced nation in the world. From the time we were in the Senate together, Hillary and I fought to take on Big Pharma. I've been fighting that fight for over 35 years. We finally beat Big Pharma, giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices—just like the VA does—negotiates lower drug prices.

And guess what? Now seniors with diabetes pay only $35 a month instead of $400 a month for their insulin. Starting next year, there will be a cap. Seniors, no matter how many prescription drugs they have, including whether they have the cost of those cancer drugs that can be 12-, 14-, 15,000 bucks a year—the cap is $2,000—all they'll have to pay, no matter how many drugs.

Folks, these reforms not only save people's lives and money, it saves the American taxpayer $160 billion—is being saved because Medicare no longer has to pay these exorbitant prices. But Trump wants to undo that law and give power back to Big Pharma to rip the American people and charge whatever they want for the medicines they need badly. It's outrageous.

In a second term, he's going to make it available—make it available—I—my second term, we're going to make it available to all Americans. Because when I first got this law passed in the beginning of the year, it applied to every American, not just seniors. And the Republicans blocked it the second time around. We're going to make sure every American pays a fair price, not an exorbitant price.

And, of course, he still wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act that provides millions of Americans with preexisting conditions who have no other alternative to get health care the ability to get it. Trump wants to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, but I'm not only going to protect it, I'm expanding it.

When Trump got elected in 2016, he told everyone he didn't need their money. Remember he said, "I don't need the money." Not only did he lie then, he's lying now. [Laughter] He's desperate. He's out selling Bibles and gold sneakers. [Laughter]

What's more trouble, he's selling out his Presidency to the highest bidder at—down at Mar-a-Lago. He told the oil executives he met down there—he said: If you give—if you give me a—raise a million—billion dollars for me in campaign contributions—his words—we have "a deal" because taxes and regulations he would help them avoid. He said, "drill, drill, drill." That's his promise.

He increased the national debt by $8 trillion, and he made—talks about managing the budget—this guy talks about it? Come on. He's the only the President other than Herbert Hoover who lost more jobs by the time he left office than when he entered office.

But that's not all. Former Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton, Larry Summers, wrote, "If you're worried about inflation, Trump is just going to make it a hell of a lot worse." And he would.

Everything Trump is proposing, from new taxes for the—for superwealthy, the biggest—tax cuts—corporations are going to expand the Federal debt to a huge new consumer tax in front of a giant 10-percent tariffs on every product—that's what he says he wants to do—every product coming to America, he wants a 10-percent tariff on it. That's going to drive up inflation.

And he's reported to have said behind closed doors, according to the press, he'll replace the income tax system—eliminate it and make it all tariffs. A study came out today that shows his plan would increase taxes on the average middle class family by $8,300 a year.

Folks, I have a different plan. There are a hundred billionaires in America—a thousand—I mean, a thousand in America. They pay an average Federal tax rate of 8.3 percent. But I—anybody want to trade places with them? [Laughter] That's less than a firefighter, a teacher, a nurse—and I could go on.

But if we just raise the minimum billionaire tax to 25 percent, it would raise $500 billion over the next 10 years. Imagine what we could do to help provide childcare, eldercare, paid leave; reduce the Federal deficit; and generate economic growth.

Look, folks, let me close with this. Virginia is a proud veterans State. Earlier this month, I was in Normandy, France, visiting the site of the D-Day invasion, one of the most important moments in history in the defense of freedom and democracy. I also visited an American cemetery that Trump refused to visit because he thought the veterans buried there were "suckers" and "losers"—his phrase. My God.

I've got to tell you, I'm glad I wasn't there. I mean it. My son died because of what happened in Iraq. The idea this sucker calls a—I'm not going to—look, what those soldiers died for, must we never give up.

I want to say it as clearly as I can: Democracy is on the ballot this year. The future of democracy and freedom is at stake. These brave soldiers who gave their lives on the beaches of Normandy and other places in the—that invasion did their part. Now we've got to do ours.

I know we can do this together. I've never been more optimistic about our future. We just have—I'll shorten this—I'll end this now. We just have to remember who in the hell we are. We're the United States of America. There is nothing beyond our capacity—nothing beyond our capacity when we do it together.

God bless you all. And I hope to hell there's still a dinner for you all.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 7:30 p.m. at the residence of former Gov. Terence R. McAuliffe of Virginia. In his remarks, he referred to former President Barack Obama; and Vice President Kamala D. Harris. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on June 19. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

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

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