Remarks to Democratic National Committee Staff and Volunteers
Vice President Kamala D. Harris. Good afternoon.
Audience members. Kamala! Kamala! Kamala!
Vice President Harris. Thank you all. Thank you. Good afternoon. You know. [Laughter]
Audience members. You know!
Vice President Harris. Well, this is why we're here today, because of this energy, this commitment, this passion, this love of our country and our willingness to fight for it. Good afternoon, everyone. Good afternoon.
The people in this room worked so hard in this election: staffing the polls, answering people's calls, answering voter protection calls, driving people to the vote. And among the captains of the team, my husband, the Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff, our phenomenal First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden——
Audience member. We love Jill!
Vice President Harris. ——and our one and only President Joe Biden.
Audience member. You did it, Joe! You did it!
Vice President Harris. [Laughter] You did it, Joe. [Laughter] Couldn't help myself.
So, as we gather here, votes are still being counted, but it is clear your work sent a message to the entire world: Our democracy is intact.
And when democracy is intact, this is what it looks like. And here's the thing: Some Democrats won, and some Republicans won. That is what happens when more than 100 million Americans participate and vote in free and fair and open elections. That's what happens.
And that included young people, seniors, parents with children in tow, working people who all made their voices heard. And the people in this room and around our country made that possible by standing up for basic American values: freedom, liberty, and the rule of law. And I believe when you know what you stand for, you know what to fight for.
This year, like so many of you, I traveled across our country. We convened students and faith leaders, organizing and advocating to protect the sacred right to vote. We convened candidates and elected officials defending the right to retire with dignity by defending Social Security and Medicare.
And of course, everywhere I went, we brought together people fighting for reproductive freedom, people everywhere, from every background. Because here's the thing: One does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling a woman what to do with her body.
Voters across our country knew what they stood for, so they knew what to fight for. They protected and they protected and they protected reproductive rights in Vermont, in Michigan, in California, and in Kentucky.
So, to everyone who made that possible, thank you. Thank you for working the long hours and the late nights, for protecting voting rights on behalf of every American in every community, in every political party.
And to the millions of Americans who waited in line, who mailed in your ballot, who rejected big lies and extremism, and participated in our democracy: Thank you. You knew what you stood for, so you knew what to fight for. You fought for rights and freedoms that will make our country more fair, more safe, and stronger. And you were not fighting alone.
From day one, our President has fought on behalf of all Americans and our democracy. Joe Biden understands the dual nature of democracy: its fragility and its strength. He's been talking about it since day one: the strengths of democracy that lie in principles about treating people equally and electing people fairly, to lift up instead of to beat folks down.
And this President understands democracy is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it. And no one fights harder for our democracy than the people in this room and this President. He knows what we saw again this week: When we fight, we win.
My fellow Americans, it is my great honor to introduce the President of the United States, Joe Biden.
Audience members. Let's go, Joe! Let's go, Joe! Let's go, Joe!
The President. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Kamala and Doug—by the way, Doug crisscrossed the country. I think he did—he spent more time making sure that the folks who actually count the votes in these States do it honestly. And thank you, pal.
Audience member. We love you, Doug!
Audience members. Doug! Doug! Doug!
The President. And, folks, on behalf of Jill and myself, we're here for a simple reason: to say thank you from the bottom of our heart. Not a joke. We mean it. This is not a political piece. This is to say thank you, thank you, thank you. Most of all, thank you for believing in your country. Thank you—no, I really mean it. Thank you for fighting like the devil to make sure that we had a free and a fair election.
And you know, all those election deniers, so far, best of my knowledge, none of them has not said they—when they lost, they said, "We lost." That's a big deal. No, I really mean it.
You know, Tuesday was a good day for America, a good day for democracy. And it was a strong night for Democrats. For months and months, all of you heard from the press and the pundits was that "Democrats are facing a disaster." Remember that? And all those polls—all those polls, God love them—[laughter]—you know: "Historic losses were on the way. A giant red wave."
Audience members. Boo!
The President. Folks, that didn't happen. You know, we were talking backstage here before we came out, each of us crisscrossing the country, all four of us. And we were saying we'd come back and say, "I don't know what they're talking about." [Laughter] No, no, no, I'm serious. The overwhelming response we were getting, and the fact that even those folks who may not like me or may not like somebody, but they agree with our agenda, they thought we—what we were doing, you know—[applause].
And by the way, all the Democrats ran on the same agenda without being told. Look, while votes are being counted—we don't know the outcome of all the races—here's what we do know: We lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than any Democratic President's first elected midterm in at least 40 years. We had the best midterms for Governors since 1986. And experts said we couldn't beat the odds, but we did beat the odds.
And we did it for one reason—this is not hyperbole—because of you and all of you up in the—by the—it's hard to see you up in the balcony, but God love you. I really mean it. Because of you. You believed in the system. You believed in the institutions. You fought like hell for it. And that's the most important thing that happened, in my view, in this election. It was the first national election since January 6, and there were a lot of concerns about whether democracy would meet the test. It did. It did. It did.
And I want to compliment all those mainstream Republicans. I mean it. If they get in—they fought like we usually fight, and they—we got a result, and we accepted it. Everybody accepted.
So, for many of you, you organized, you got the vote out, you volunteered at the polls. Think of all we heard before this election about all the people being intimidated, all the people being threatened at the polls, all the people who worked the polls. Despite the threats and abuses of too many poll workers on election day and election—excuse me, I should say election officials—experienced—have experienced of late, you did your job. You fulfilled your duty. You showed up. You did what you're supposed to do. And so did the American people.
Look, the American people overwhelmingly—overwhelmingly—support our agenda: lowering prescription drug costs, making health care more affordable, rebuilding America, revitalizing American manufacturing, taking on the climate crisis, and finally—and finally—making big corporations pay their fair share. Preserving democracy and protecting fundamental rights.
This is the progress and the programs that we ran on. And this is the vote that showed just some real enthusiasm for what we were—what we're fighting for. And guess what? It matters.
You know, when we came to office, we inherited a nation and a pandemic raging and an economy that was reeling, but we went to work—all of you.
And by the way, I know a lot of you just didn't show up on election day. You've been working the last 25—20 or so months' worth. But you went to work building an economy from the bottom up and the middle out. And so, you know, the MAGA Republican trickle-down economic policy, we decided, didn't work for Americans.
Our economic policies created 10 million new jobs. Unemployment—unemployment—went from 6.4 percent down to 3.7 percent, one of the lowest in 50 years. American manufacturing is surging with 700 new manufacturing jobs created and many more to come.
And look, as I said all during the campaign, "Where in the hell is written that America can't lead the world in manufacturing?" We are, and we will, and we're going to continue to.
Folks, look, just today we learned inflation came down last month. And mainstream economists are saying this is a really positive sign of the resilience of the economic recovery. It's going to take time to get inflation back to normal levels. We could see setbacks along the way, I realize that. But we are laser focused on it. That's why it's so critical for us to pass the important legislation this year to lower those costs for families. And I know it's going to take time to implement our entire economic agenda, which we already passed, and for folks to feel it in their day-to-day lives.
But I think folks are going to see it in the next few months. That's what's going to—that—and I think that's what they voted for.
Watch what happens when people see new roads, bridges being built in their towns; they start to see the investments being made in electric rail all across America, where they—they're going to—[applause]—it's going to take significant number of vehicles off the road, reducing pollution.
Watch what happens when there's affordable high-speed internet in every home in America. Watch what happens when they realize we meant what we said and the lead pipes start being pulled out of schools, daycare centers, homes all across America.
Watch what happens in January when seniors with diabetes on Medicare only have to pay 35 bucks a month instead of 400 bucks a month for their insulin.
Watch what happens when big corporations in America start to pay their fair share. And by the way, a 15-percent tax. Isn't that terrible? [Laughter] You all pay more than that.
Audience members. Yeah!
The President. Look—but, in 2020, the 55 largest corporate—of the 55—55 of the largest corporations in America paid zero on $40 million in profits. Those days are over.
And watch what happens when new factories are being built in communities with American workers making the most advanced computer chips in the world. And by the way, that's going to create thousands of good-paying jobs. And I mean jobs between $120-, $135,000 a year, and you don't need a college degree to do them.
Look, you all made this possible, and we're just getting started. We're just getting started.
We saw extraordinary results in these midterms elections that no one thought possible. More Independents voted for Democrats and Republicans in this election. Young people, you voted at historic numbers again, just as you did 2 years ago. Young people voted to continue addressing the climate crisis, gun violence, personal rights and freedoms, student debt relief, all those things which you stepped up to do.
And as I said, women in America made their voices heard, man. I said it last year that one of the most extraordinary things about the Dobbs decision is what was about to challenge American women when the Justice said, let's—"They have it in their power"—basically saying, "Let's see what they're going to do."
Well, guess what? [Laughter] Y'all showed up and beat the hell out of them. Look, I said it then: Those who support ripping away the rights to choose don't have a clue about the power of women in America, but now I think they do. And we're just—and by the way, no one worked harder to get that message across America than this lady right here.
And look, I also think the American people sent a message that they want us to work together. They've—I've always done that, and I know I got criticized for it when I ran. I said I was running for three reasons: One, to restore the soul of America; two, to build this economy from the middle out and the bottom up; and thirdly, to unite the country.
Regardless of what the final tally showed, I'm prepared to work with Republicans. But the American people made it clear: They expect Republicans to work with me as well.
And, folks, I'll always be open to any good ideas, whether it's Democrat or Republican, to move the country forward. But I've also made it really clear that if Republicans try to repeal the power we just gave Medicare to reduce prescription drug costs, I will veto it and not let it happen.
If Republicans try to walk away from the historic commitment we just made to deal with a climate crisis, I will not let that happen. If Republicans try to cut Social Security and Medicare, I will not let that happen. And if they try to cut taxes for the superwealthy again and the biggest corporations, like they did in the last administration, I will not let that happen either.
Look—and as we look at tax cuts, we should be looking at tax cuts for working people and middle class people. And I'm going to keep the commitment we both made: that no one making less than 400 grand a year will ever see a penny in their taxes go up as long as we are in power.
And, folks—and I love the Republicans talking about "big-spendin' Democrats." Because we're going to keep working to keep the Federal deficit low. We cut the deficit in 2 years by 1 trillion, 700 billion dollars, more than ever in all of American history. I don't want to hear it from Republicans, calling Democrats big spenders. They're the—we're the ones bringing down the deficit. They're the ones that blew it up over 4 years.
And one more thing: If Republicans pass—and I got—don't think they can do it now—a ban—a national ban to ban abortion, I will veto it. It's simple. We need to codify Roe v. Wade as the law of the land.
And look, let me close with this. You've all heard me say it before, and I'll say it again: I honest to God have never been more optimistic about America's future than today. And I'm optimistic for a number of reasons.
We're better situated than any nation in the world—any nation in the world—to lead the world. We're better positioned than any nation in the world, in terms of our economic growth and possibilities. And I'm optimistic because of the young people of this Nation.
I've—you've heard me say time and again, and I meant it: Your generation represents the best educated, the most talented, the least prejudiced generation in the history of the United States of America. For—[applause]—I'm not—and by the way, I wasn't trying to be nice, I was just stating the facts. Just stating the facts.
In two—in 2020, many of you voted for your first time, and you volunteered in your first election. Well, look at what you did when you exercised your power to vote: You elected Kamala Harris the first woman Vice President in American history. And you helped me keep my commitment that I would appoint the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, Justice Jackson. And guess what? She's probably the smartest person on the Supreme Court.
And because of your vote this year, we're going to keep building the foundation we laid for the first—in the first 2 years.
You proved once again on Tuesday that our democracy—in our democracy—our democracy, the power is in the hands of the people. We the—no, for real—"We the People." It really is truly in our hands.
We set the course for the Nation's future. We just have to remember who in God's name we are. And I'm—I hope, if nothing else happens, remember this: There's not a damn thing—and I really mean it from the bottom of my heart—not a damn thing we can't do if we do it together. We are the United States of America. And you made it better.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. Go get 'em. We've got a lot of work to do. Thank you. Thank you.
NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 3:35 p.m. at the Howard Theatre. In his remarks, he referred to Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks to Democratic National Committee Staff and Volunteers Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/358731