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Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris in Phoenix, Arizona

October 08, 2020

As prepared for delivery.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN

Hello, Arizona! It's great to be back with you.

Thank you, Kamala, thank you, Vanessa – for that introduction and for being with us today.

And I want to give a special thanks to Congressman Ruben Gallego, President and COO of Southwest Regional Council "Pete" Rodriguez, and Fabien Sandez, President Local 1912

You all have been with me my entire career. President Doug McCarren has been a long time friend.

520,000 carpenters. It's incredible to have you behind me.

You know, there was an old expression when I was growing up in Scranton: You go home with them that brung you to the dance.

And the folks who brought me to the dance were union workers, including the carpenters: the people who shape the skyline, who build the foundation of everything we rely on.

Labor brought me to the dance. You're the only reason I'm standing here today. And I've never forgotten everything you've done, not just for me, but for our country.

You are the backbone of America. You're the spine. You're the ones who actually built this country, not the Wall Street robber barons or CEOs.

And you're the ones who are going to rebuild it and build back better.

Kamala and I cannot thank you enough.

Folks, I don't know if you caught it, but the Senator had a heck of a night last night, and I couldn't be prouder to be running alongside a leader of such remarkable character and vision who is always, always, always looking out for the people.

Kamala and I are about to kick off a tour visiting with the business community that is responsible for more jobs than any other community—local small business owners and entrepreneurs who are busting their necks to do right by their community and make it through these challenging times.

People like Silvana Salcido Esparza. Silvana owns two restaurants here in Phoenix, but when COVID struck she had to close one of them down.

She's working hard to keep the other one afloat, the Barrio Cafe, which we'll be visiting this afternoon. But it isn't easy.

The loan Silvana was able to secure back in the spring, it helped for a little while, but it wasn't nearly enough.

She's scraping by week to week, trying to look out for her ten employees, some of whom have been with her for decades.

And on top of that, she's facing down a terminal disease.

Silvana had to cancel her own health insurance after finishing a round of treatment recently just to make ends meet.

It's devastating. It's heartbreaking.

Every American should be upset about what Silvana is going through. I certainly am.

Because I know, we know it didn't have to happen.

But Silvana's story is an increasingly common story for Arizona workers and small business owners. So many Arizonans are facing hard times right now.

You're trying your best, but it never feels like it's enough.

You're not looking a hand out. You just want a fair chance.

That's how my dad felt when he couldn't find work in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I moved in with my grandparents until he found work again.

We ended up in Claymont, Delaware, then Wilmington, where he managed a car dealership.

He worked hard to build a decent middle-class life. It wasn't easy for him.

But he had an expression: "Joey, I don't expect the government to solve my problems.

But I expect it to understand my problems."

Americans deserve a President who understands what they're going through, who sees where you are and where you want to be, who cares about your health, your prosperity, your American dream.

You're facing real challenges right now. The last thing you need is a President who exacerbates them, who ignores you or looks down at you, who thinks that if you put your life on the line for our nation, you're a "loser" or a "sucker."

I'll tell you right now—my son Beau wasn't a loser.

The veterans we met with this afternoon—alongside Cindy McCain—they aren't losers.

Cindy's husband, Senator John McCain—he wasn't a loser.

They're all heroes.

And they deserve better than a President who will say anything to deflect responsibility for his mistakes.

We've paid too high a price already for Donald Trump's chaotic, divisive leadership.

More than 210,000 Americans have lost their lives to this virus. We lose more every day.

Nearly 6,000 Arizonans have been lost. More than 220,000 have been infected. 122,000 jobs in Arizona still haven't come back.

Nine times more, Arizonans are on unemployment each week than before the crisis hit.

Businesses like Silvana's restaurants are closing and schools aren't back to normal because Donald Trump cannot focus on what matters.

The House passed the HEROES Act some time ago but the President and Mitch McConnell did nothing to move the legislation.

Trump was spending more time in his golf course bunker than bringing the leadership of the Congress together to resolve the issue.

On Tuesday he announced he's walking away from negotiations to provide any additional relief for working people and mom-and-pop businesses.

Today is October 8th—exactly two months since the emergency small business program closed up.

Two months of small businesses owners in Arizona and across the country waiting and hoping for just that little bit of extra help. More than 400,000 small businesses have permanently closed nationwide.

Millions more are struggling to hang on.

How many more will go under? How many more dreams will be extinguished because this President threw in the towel?

Instead of focusing on your needs he's still trying to take your health care away.

He's asking the Supreme Court right now to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, taking away Medicare benefits for seniors, and taking us back to a time when insurers

could deny you coverage for a preexisting condition.

He vowed to "terminate" the funding source for Social Security, an idea that, in just a few years, could put at risk the Social Security benefits more than a million Arizonans rely on for a dignified retirement.

The fact is, President Trump can only see the world from Park Avenue.

He thinks that Wall Street built this country.

It's why he let big corporations jump to the front of line to get recovery aid, while small businesses struggle to stay open.

He's forgotten the working people he said he'd fight for.

But I will never forget because I see the world from where I grew up, in Scranton.

I know that middle class, working people built this country, and I measure our economic success

by what families are talking about around their kitchen table.

Having a good job with good benefits. Keeping your small business dream alive and thriving.

Being able to look your kids in the eye and say, "honey, everything will be okay"—

and meaning it.

That's what Kamala and I are focused on. And that's what we'll be talking —getting the virus under control, reopening safely and strongly, creating good-paying jobs, and working to end this era of rancor and division.

Because if we're going to get anything done, we've got to come together.

As I said earlier this week in Gettysburg, I'm running as a proud Democrat, but I'll be an American president.

I'll work as hard for those who don't support me, as for those who do.

That's the job of a president. It's a duty to care for everyone.

And after all we've been through, all America has accomplished, all the years we've stood as a beacon to the world, we cannot allow ourselves to go on divided.

We have the ultimate power in our hands: the power to vote.

You can still register here in Arizona and early voting has already begun.

The vast majority of Arizonans vote by mail and those mail-in ballots will start arriving over the next couple of days.

The best thing you can do is return your ballot quickly. Don't risk any delays.

Return that mail-in ballot as soon as you can, and make sure your voice is heard.

Because if you vote, we can overcome every one of these challenges.

We can be better than what we've seen.

We can be what we are at our best: the United States of America.

Thank you, Arizona!

God bless you and may God protect our troops.

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS

Thank you so much, Vanessa. And thank you for all you do for the community here in Phoenix.

Earlier today, Joe and I had a chance to visit The American Indian Veterans National Memorial, and pay tribute to the Native Americans who have served this country in uniform.

We were joined by Cindy McCain, a longtime friend of Joe's, and someone who I greatly admire.

I was fortunate to serve with John McCain in the Senate. He was a patriot of the highest order.

And Cindy is supporting our campaign, because she knows that Joe and I will always do what she and John did—and that's put our country first.

So we thank Cindy and we are excited to be in Arizona today.

Later today, we'll stop and talk with workers and small business owners who are working hard and doing everything right, but still struggling to get by.

They are who I was thinking about at last night's debate.

This election, more than any other in our lifetime, will affect every part of our lives—with consequences that may last generations.

And there is so much at stake. Our nation is at a crossroads.

Just think, all at the same time, we're experiencing:

The pandemic.

The recession.

A reckoning on racial injustice.

A changing climate that's battering our coastlines and setting the West on fire.

And the future of health care hangs on top of it all, because President Trump is in the Supreme Court right now, trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.

And along with Senate Republicans, he's trying to jam through a Supreme Court Justice who will do exactly that.

Who will rip away protections from as many as 2.8 million Arizonans with preexisting conditions.

And while this president didn't bring this virus to our shores, his reckless disregard for the well-being of the American people has allowed it to spread wildly.

And make no mistake: his refusal to contain this virus is what has wreaked havoc on our economy.

So, I know people are hurting.

But I also know this: We can overcome these challenges if we elect Joe Biden as our next President.

Joe has had a plan for COVID since March. And under his leadership, we'll contain this virus, save lives, and build our economy back better than before.

Joe will be a President who restores the soul of our nation.

He'll be a President who creates good-paying jobs and eases the burden on working families.

And above all, Joe will be a President who unites the American people: Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, old and young, from all backgrounds and races to meet the great challenges of our time.

And I'll be right by his side. And we'll be ready on Day One.

But here's the thing, Arizona. We need your help.

We've got only 26 days left. Let's not wake up on November 4th wishing we'd done more.

So, let's organize and vote in numbers no one has ever seen before.

Let's send Mark Kelly to the Senate, and flip the State House and State Senate.

Vote like your life depends on it. Because right now, it really does.

Yesterday, vote-by-mail ballots were shipped to homes across this state, and in-person early voting began - including at the new McDowell Square voting center, just about a mile from here.

So, be a First Week Voter.

There are four ways to vote in Arizona:

You can vote-by-mail.

You can drop off your ballot at a drop-box.

You can vote early in-person.

Or, you can vote in-person on Election Day.

To learn more, go to iwillvote.com/AZ.

And make a plan: write down when, where, and how you will vote.

And tell everyone you know to do the same.

Because Arizona's future—America's future is in your hands.

So, let's elect Joe Biden as the next President of the United States.

Ladies and gentlemen, Joe Biden.

Joseph Biden, Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris in Phoenix, Arizona Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/345127

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