Joe Biden

Remarks at a Campaign Reception in Medina, Washington

May 11, 2024

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Well, welcome to the Seattle Art Museum. [Laughter] What a magnificent place you have, Kim—really, really, really. And thanks for that introduction—most of all for your friendship.

The first couple of times they helped, it was their own fault. But they know better now, and they're still helping. [Laughter] And God love you. Thank you very, very much.

And you know, I also want to thank what I consider to be the best Governor in America on environment and one of the best Governors in America overall. Mr. Governor.

Jay and the first spouse, Trudi, thank you very, very much. And I warn you—I warn you all, if you like seeing him around Washington State, don't elect me. But if you want to see him—if you don't mind leaving him—having him leave this State a little bit, elect me, because I'm going to try to grab him to get him to Washington. [Laughter] You think I'm kidding. I'm not.

And your congressional delegation. A great friend—I won't say "old" because she's not; I am—Maria Cantwell. Maria, where—where is she sitting? There you are.

I can't think of virtually any major issue we've ever disagreed on in all these years. I don't want to ruin your reputation. [Laughter] But it's true.

She's a significant leader. Not kidding. And you know why? When you think of Maria, you think of one thing: integrity. No one ever doubts that whatever she says, she means, and she's telling you the truth. Maria, I love you, kid. You're really—you're the best.

And Suzan DelBene, who is working like hell to make everything work. [Laughter] No, I'm serious. She's putting together a real, real effort running the DNC [DCCC; White House correction]. I mean—anyway, thank you for all you're doing.

And a woman who has more courage and hutzpah and stamina than anybody I know, Representative Jayapal. Thank you.

Adam Smith. Kim Schuler [Schrier; White House correction]. And Marilyn—where's Marilyn—where's Marilyn Strickland? There you go. Marilyn, thank you very much.

Just what you all need: You finally get to come home on a magnificent Saturday, and you're all in here with me. [Laughter] Please forgive me. [Laughter]

Look, before I begin, let me answer a question related to the hostage deal I get—keep getting asked by the press and all the folks out there.

You know, there would be a cease-fire tomorrow if Hamas would release the hostages—the women and the elderly and the wounded. Israel said it's up to Hamas; if they wanted to do it, we could end it tomorrow. And the cease-fire would begin tomorrow. It all has to do—you know, we've not—anyway, I don't want to—I guess I shouldn't get into all this about Israel. But you know—well, I don't want to get going, I guess. [Laughter]

But look, I want to thank you for your support and—for this campaign, especially Brad and Kathy Smith. Brad, you've been—we were—where—there you are. We were recently in another part of the world—in Wisconsin doing an incredible job.

And Microsoft is investing $3 billion to build a data center in Racine to power their artificial intelligence system. It's being built on the same site that Trump promised FoxComm would build a $10 billion manufacturing center. Trump even showed up at the groundbreaking with, literally, a golden shovel—[laughter]—promising this would be the, quote, "eighth wonder of the world."

Give me a break. Anyway—[laughter]—and he dug this hole with the golden shovel, and then he fell into it. [Laughter] He just keeps digging and digging more holes.

Folks, look, in fact, we feel good about the—the state of the race. But you know, we know the race is close.

The last four national polls have me ahead in two, him ahead in one, tied in—for another. In the battleground States, most of the polls released this week are within the margin of error. We just had the very strong Wisconsin poll up 6 points.

But look, here are a few things we find encouraging. And the polls are very difficult now. As some of you know, in your businesses you use polling, it's very difficult to get an accurate poll because not everybody has a landline. It takes x thousand calls—not really, but scores of calls to get one response.

But what I look at—and if you take a look at '20, '22, '23, all those races, you look at the—what the outcome of the primaries were.

First, we run strongest among likely voters in the polling data. That's a good sign. And while the national polls basically have us registered voters up by 4, likely voters we're up by more.

The second point I'd like to make is, the actual votes in the primaries, as opposed to the polls, we're running much stronger than Trump.

Trump continues to lose a gigantic chunk of his Republican colleagues. Just this last week, over 120,000 people voted for a woman who dropped out of the race, Nikki Haley, in the Indiana primary—a hundred twenty thousand—in Pennsylvania primary, she was already out of the race and over 150,000 people voted for her in that race.

In the Pennsylvania primary, I got over 100,000 more votes in the Democratic primary than Trump did in the Republican primary. I got 900,000 votes. Trump, a little under 800,000.

I know a lot of people like to look at the polls, but I look at the actual votes as we—for—and if you look at a guide from '18, '20, '22, '23, and those off-year elections, it comes down to that.

Let me say there's always going to be a place for Haley voters for my campaign. [Laughter]

And—anyway, I won't get into what I'm predicting. But anyway—look, third, we're building the strongest ground game for any campaign in our country's history.

So far, 1.6 million individuals have contributed to our campaign—1.6 million individuals. We've raised more money than any candidate has at this spot in the campaign. And of those 1.6 million, over 97 percent contributed less than $200. They're on payment plans of $5, $10, $20, $30, $50 a month. That's how we're raising that money.

And as the candidates know here, if you want to know what's happening in the street, see what ordinary people are doing with their money.

The battleground States, we've opened up more than 150 field offices, while Trump has not opened a single, solitary one. We're organizing, and we're ready. Trump MAGA Republicans are in significant disarray.

Now let's get to the message of the campaign. Our message is straightforward. There's a lot to talk about. But the threat posed—that Trump poses to democracy is greater than what he posed in the first term.

It's clear that when we lost the—when he lost in 2020, something snapped in him. And I mean it sincerely. A lot of people known him well when he was in New York. But some—[inaudible]—he just can't accept the fact he's lost, and he's lost it when he lost. He really did.

That's why January 6, every legal avenue Trump tried to change the election failed, so he unleashed an insurrection. And he did unleash the insurrection. Now he's running again.

He's not only obsessed with the losing in 2020, he's clearly unhinged. Just listen to what he's telling people. I urge you to get TIME magazine. He's on the cover of TIME. He did a long, long interview. And he means when he says.

In the article, he said, "A lot of people liked it when I said I'll be a dictator on day one." I don't know—asked if he would—there would be violence occur if he lost, he said, "Well, it depends." "It depends" about whether there'd be a violent—he calls insurrectionists who are in prison—he calls them "patriots." "Patriots." And if reelected, he wants "every one" of them pardoned—"every one" of them pardoned.

Trump says, when he loses again, that there'll be a "bloodbath" if that occurs. These are his words, not mine. His words.

You know, he said he's not going to accept the results of the election when he loses again. And it's clear—it's clear a lot of people—a lot of people are—how can I say it?—auditioning for Vice President, which is not unusual. But he has a litmus test. They have to say they won't accept the results—that they didn't accept the results of the 2020 election, and when they lose again, they'll not accept the results of the 2024 election.

This is not some dictator state. What's going on? I really mean it. Have you ever, ever—even if you're as old as I am—[laughter]—have you ever heard anything like that in American politics?

And look at what he's saying about reproductive freedom. He's bragging he's the reason Roe v. Wade was overturned. Listen to what he said in TIME magazine. He said, "The States should monitor women's pregnancies"—"monitor them," not just—know—"monitor women's pregnancies and prosecute those who seek help." Monitor women's pregnancies? Prosecute them?

Folks, Trump is running—he's not running to lead America, he's running for revenge. He talks about it. "I'll be your revenge" —"I will be your revenge." "I will be your retribution."

That's revenge. Every—but—but revenge in no ways lead—to lead the county. And you can't. You can't build a future on revenge. You can't build better lives for people on revenge. That's why I'm not running on revenge, I'm running to lead America into the future, folks.

Look at the progress we've made: 15 million votes—excuse me, new jobs since we got elected—15 million. More than any President has in that period of time in American history. More have health insurance today in America than any time in American history.

We took on Big Pharma, and we won, lowering prescription drug costs. Everybody knows somebody with insulin—needing insulin or other major drugs they need.

Well, insulin was 400 bucks a month, now it's $35 a month, and people are able to afford it, saving lives. But what people don't also—what we don't talk about enough is not only is it saving lives, it's saving the taxpayer $160 billion—$160 billion—because Medicare doesn't have to pay out that $400 and exorbitant prices.

I'm proud to say the new report co-released by 20 major climate organizations—and by the way, I'm not—I'll say it again: Your Governor is one of the leaders in the Nation and the world on climate change—climate organizations, from the Sierra Club to the Sunrise Movement, credited my administration with taking on more than 300 actions relating to conservation, climate, public health, and clean energy. And the Indian Nations are stepping up. And we're keeping our promise to them as well.

You know, in the words of that—the endorsement, it says, "Biden has done more to take action to protect the environment, to protect and secure health and the—our environment than any president in American history, and he's not done yet."

Well, we're not done yet. We've got a long way to go. But we're on a path to be able to get it done. And we've also made the most significant investments in science, technology, innovation in generations—so that many of you are leading the way.

Talking about science and development to you guys is like talking about, you know, football to the Philadelphia Eagles. [Laughter] I'm an Eagles fan.

But all kidding aside, we've already attracted six—$866 billion—$866 billion in private sector investment in clean energy, manufacturing, and historic amounts in—in such short amount of period. And we're just getting started. And you all know it.

I just signed the most significant gun safety law in 30 years. We're not going to stop until we once again—I miss her; Dianne Feinstein helped me get passed, when I was a Senator, the assault weapons ban. We need to get that again. It saved lives. It will save lives.

And I promise you, elect a Democratic Congress and Kamala and I will make Roe v. Wade the law of the land again.

I promise I'm not going to keep you much longer. But, folks, we're lowering costs, expanding opportunities, and protecting freedoms. And we have to keep it going.

For example, Trump is determined to get rid of my climate law. He just flat out said it in that—read that article. He said he wants to get rid of the climate law because the oil companies hate it. He said he wants to "drill, drill, drill."

In fact, he's been reported—he asked—[inaudible]—on television the other day—Big Oil companies—he met with the oil execs—to direct a billion dollars toward his campaign, and we'd have ourselves "a deal," he said. Look, what's the deal?

He'd repeal everything we've done on climate—as he said in the TIME—in the TIME's article, again, "Drill, drill, drill."

Folks, look, let me close with this. Our freedoms and our very democracy are at stake. And that's not hyperbole. I mean it. I give you my word. I mean it from the bottom of my heart. We know it.

I do an awful lot of international—as you might expect. But because that's been my—my, sort of, go-to job when I was in the Senate and when I was Vice President. And I know all these heads of state, knew them before, and know the ones that are there now.

I attend all these meetings, these international conclaves with heads of state. And as I leave those meetings—not a—this is not a exaggeration—half of the CEOs—half of these CEOs—half of the heads of state will come up and grab my arm and say, "You can't let him win. My"—meaning their—"My democracy is at stake."

This is the guy who says, "Let them"—whether it's you're talking about the Middle East or you're talking about Europe, "If you don't pay enough money for your own defense, go ahead, you can take the country."

Look, this is why I need you. I know we can do this together. I've never been more optimistic about our future. We just have to remember who the hell we are. We're the United States of America. We're the only country—in my view, as a student of history—the only country that's come out of every crisis we've entered stronger than we went in—literally, not figuratively, stronger than we went in.

And we have—and think about this. Madeleine Albright wrote about us being the essential nation. Not because I'm President; because no matter—who leads the world in the right direction if America is not the leader? Seriously, who replaces America in that role?

And he has no notion of it. And he doesn't seem to care much about it. And so that's why other nations are worried about their democratic future, whether it's Europe, whether it's the Middle East, whether it's the Far East, whether it's Japan, no matter where it is.

And so there's a lot at stake. The world's looking at us. I'm going to try my best not to let you down, because we have the greatest democracy in history of the world.

We're the only democracy—we're the only country in the whole world that's built on an idea. Every other nation in the world was built on geography, ethnicity, religion, something that unites them. But we're the only one built on an idea. And the idea—and it's not hyperbole—the idea is, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all women and men are created equal, endowed by"—we've never lived up to it, but we've never walked away from it.

This guy is ready to walk away from it. It's not who we are. Not only does the American public need us to do the right thing, but the world needs us to do the right thing. And I'll try my best not to disappoint you. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:48 p.m. at the residence of Kim and Jon Shirley. In his remarks, he referred to Gov. Jay R. Inslee of Washington and his wife Trudi; Rep. Suzan K. DelBene, in her capacity as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; Brad Smith, vice chairman and president, Microsoft Corp., and his wife Kathy Surace-Smith; former President Donald J. Trump; former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nikki R. Haley, in her former capacity as a 2024 Republican Presidential candidate; and Vice President Kamala D. Harris. The transcript was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 12. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

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

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