Joe Biden

Remarks Following the Arizona, Florida, and Illinois Primary Elections in Wilmington, Delaware

March 17, 2020

[As prepared for delivery.]

Good evening everyone.

Last week, I had the honor of speaking to all of you from Philadelphia, the birthplace of the foundational documents of our democracy.

Tonight, in keeping with the latest guidance from the CDC to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, I am speaking to you from my home in Wilmington.

I hope that all of you are staying safe, taking the recommended precautions to keep social distance, and slow the spread of the coronavirus.

This pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives, and every aspect of this campaign.

My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one, to those who have contracted the virus, and to all of the brave Americans who are working harder than ever to help their neighbors.

Doctors, nurses, EMTs, and public health officials, as well as front line emergency workers like fire fighters and the dedicated folks working to keep the shelves stocked in grocery stores.

Tackling this pandemic is a national emergency akin to fighting a war.

It will require leadership and cooperation from every level of government.

It will require us to move thoughtfully and decisively to quickly address both the public health crisis and the economic crisis we're in.

It will require us to pay attention to the medical and scientific and health experts.

And it will require each and every one of us to do our part.

Yes, this is a moment where we need our leaders to lead.

But it is also a moment where the choices and decisions we make as individuals, and collectively as a people, will make a big difference in the severity of the outbreak and the ability of our medical and hospital systems to handle it.

I know that we as a people are up to this challenge.

I know that we will answer this moment of crisis with what is best in ourselves — because that is what Americans have always done.

That's who we are.

And today, even as we are moving quickly to adapt our routines to meet this challenge, Americans in three states went to the polls.

I want to thank all the public officials and the poll workers who worked closely with public health authorities to assure safe opportunities for voting — to clean and disinfect voting booths and to make sure that voters could cast their ballots while maintaining distance from one another.

It is important for us to get through this crisis, protecting both the public health and our democracy.

Today, it looks like, once again, in Florida and in Illinois — and we're still waiting to hear in Arizona — our campaign has had a very good night. And we've moved closer to securing the Democratic party's nomination for president.

We're doing it by building the broad coalition that we will need to win in November with strong support from the African American community; the Latino community; high school educated people, like the ones I grew up with in my old neighborhood; labor; teachers, suburban women, veterans, fire fighters, and so many more.

And we're doing it with a common vision.

Senator Sanders and I may disagree on tactics, but we share a common vision — for the need to provide affordable health care for all Americans to reducing income inequality to taking on climate change.

Senator Sanders and his supporters have brought remarkable passion and tenacity to these issues, and together, they have shifted the fundamental conversation in the country.

And let me say, especially to the young voters who have been inspired by Senator Sanders: I hear you. I know what is at stake. And I know what we have to do.

Our goal as a campaign, and my goal as a candidate for president, is to unify our party – and to unify our nation.

It's at moments like these that we realize we need to put politics aside and work together as Americans.

The coronavirus doesn't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican.

It will not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender, or zip code.

It will touch people in positions of power and the most vulnerable in our society.

We are all in this together.

This is a moment for each of us to see and believe in the best in every one of us.

To look out for our neighbor.

To understand the fear and stress so many are feeling.

To care for the elderly couple down the street.

To thank the health workers and the doctors and the nurses and the pharmacists and the grocery store cashiers and the people re-stocking the shelves.

To believe in one another.

Because I assure you — when we do that, when we see the best in each of us, we'll lift this nation up, and we'll get through this together.

May God bless you all — and we say a special prayer for those on the front lines of this crisis — the doctors, the nurses, the health care workers caring for virus victims and their families.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks Following the Arizona, Florida, and Illinois Primary Elections in Wilmington, Delaware Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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