Joe Biden

Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Detroit, Michigan

October 16, 2020

[As prepared for delivery]

Hello Detroit!

There's no better or more appropriate place to hold a drive-in rally than Motor City, USA.

Thank you so much, Everett, for sharing your story with us — and for the unfailing dedication that you, and so many proud union educators are giving to our students and their families during these difficult times.

I'm married to an educator, so I know that teaching isn't just what you do — it's who you are.

Thank you Everett.

And I also want to thank all the incredible leaders who are here today.

My good friend Mayor Duggan.

Mayor Duggan and I worked side by side when I was Vice President fighting to support this city and invest in revitalizing the future of Detroit.

Because I've always believed in Detroit — just like I've always believed in Michigan!

Thank you to Chairwoman Barnes and Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist.

And Governor Whitmer: you've been an incredible leader — tested and proven under crisis conditions and extraordinary circumstances.

Your leadership through this pandemic has saved the lives of countless Michiganders, and you've shown this whole nation just how tough you are. Michigan tough. I'm proud to call you a friend.

And Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters — thank you for fighting for people in Michigan who need help now, but aren't getting it because Mitch McConnell cares more about jamming through a Supreme Court confirmation than helping working people who are hurting.

We can't forget that winning in November doesn't just mean defeating Donald Trump.

It means winning back the Senate and expanding our majority in the House of Representatives.

So we need to send Gary Peters back to Washington, DC to keep fighting alongside Senator Stabenow for the people of Michigan!

Folks, it's Go-Time.

This is the most important election of our lifetimes. And you can make all the difference here in Michigan.

The choice is as clear as ever, and the stakes are as high as ever.

The stakes in this election remind me of something my dad used to say — "Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about dignity. It's about your place in the community. It's about being able to look your kid in the eye and say that everything will be ok — and mean it."

That's a lesson I've never forgotten.

It's what I grew up with surrounded by hard-working families in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Claymont, Delaware.

How many people can look their kids in the eye and mean it today?

Times are hard. Unemployment is way up due to the pandemic. The economic outlook for next year remains uncertain.

Across Michigan and the country, folks are worried about making their next rent or mortgage payment, worried whether or not they can purchase their prescription or put food on the table, worried about sending their kids to school, worried about not sending their kids to school.

They see the people at the top doing better than ever, while they're left to wonder: "who's looking out for me?"

That's Donald Trump's presidency.

More than 215,000 dead because of COVID-19. Experts say we'll lose nearly 200,000 more lives in the next few months.

All because all this President cares about from his Park Avenue perspective is the stock market. Because he refuses to follow science.

It's estimated that if we just wore masks nationally, we'd save almost 100,000 lives over the next few months.

And you know what's really sad about all this? The President knew. He knew how dangerous this virus was and he hid it from the country.He told Bob Woodward in a taped interview that this disease was deadly — far worse than the flu.

His administration gave Wall Street investors a heads up, but to the American people, he said nothing.

He told Bob Woodward that he didn't want to panic the American public.

We don't panic — but he did.

His reckless personal conduct since his diagnosis is unconscionable, and the longer Donald Trump is president, the more reckless he gets.

Dr. Fauci referred to the President's announcement on the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden as a super-spreader event. And how is he responding?

He's running a national ad, quoting Dr. Fauci out of context.

He had said way back in March, referring to public health officials, "I can't imagine that...anybody could be doing more."

Yet, Trump and his campaign deliberately lied, making it sound like Fauci was talking about him.

And even after Fauci asked them to take the ad down, Trump and the campaign said they would continue to use the ad, knowing it was a lie.

That behavior is no surprise. After all, this is the same man who looks at Americans who put their lives on the line for our nation and calls them "losers" and "suckers."

And now, as a consequence of this overwhelming lying, misleading, and irresponsible action on the part of Donald Trump, how many empty chairs are there around the dinner table because of his negligence?

Folks, we are better than this.

Despite the crises we face, we have an enormous opportunity to build back better, to replace Donald Trump's incentives for companies to ship jobs overseas with real policies and tax credits to revitalize American manufacturing, to make it in America, make it in Michigan, and buy American.

We're going to give everyone a fair return on their work, and an equal chance to get ahead.

For example, for communities of color here in Detroit and across the country, the question is: how do we break the cycle where in good times you lag behind, in bad times you get hit first and hardest, and in recovery, it's toughest to bounce back?

The answer is about justice — criminal justice and policing reforms.

I know this nation is strong enough to both honestly face systemic racism, and strong enough to provide safe streets for our families and small businesses that too often bear the brunt of this looting and burning.

We have no need for armed militias roaming America's streets and we should have no tolerance for extremist white supremacist groups menacing our communities, hatching violent and deranged schemes like the one against Governor Whitmer that the FBI and local law enforcement uncovered and stopped last week.

Make no mistake — that was a planned act of terrorism, a plot by Americans to blow up a bridge on American soil, to threaten the lives of police officers, and to kidnap an American leader.

It's the sort of behavior we might expect from ISIS.

And it should shock the conscience of every American to see that sort of twisted thinking take root here at home.

But all President Trump does is fan the flames of hatred and division in our country, telling the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by," attacking Governor Whitmer on the same day this plot was exposed.

It's despicable.

By the same measure, if you say we have no need to face racial injustice in this country, you haven't opened your eyes to the truth in America.

There have been powerful voices for justice in recent weeks and months.

George Floyd's 6-year old daughter Gianna, who I met with, was one such voice when she said, "Daddy changed the world."

Jacob Blake's mother was another when she said violence didn't reflect her son and that this nation needed healing.

And Doc Rivers, the basketball coach, choking back tears when he said, "We're the ones getting killed. We're the ones getting shot ... We've been hung. It's amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back."

Think about that. Think about what it takes for a Black person to love America. That is a deep love for this country that for far too long we have never fully recognized.

What we need in America is leadership that seeks to de-escalate tensions, to open lines of communication, and to bring us together.

To heal and to hope.

As President, that is precisely what I will do.

But true justice is also about jobs, good-paying jobs. Financial stability. Families of color building wealth and passing it down: that's how we deliver equality and equity.

Another example, more and more women are dropping out of the workforce in this recession — whether in a city or out in the suburbs.

I have a plan to deal with this pandemic responsibly. Testing, tracing, masking. Not politicizing the race for the vaccine. Planning for its safe and equitable distribution.

Provide the funding for PPE and other resources for schools to reopen safely.

Ease the caregiving crises so many families experience — that squeeze of raising your kids while caring for your aging loved one.

And protect your health care.

In the middle of this pandemic, why do the Republicans have the time to hold a hearing on the Supreme Court instead of addressing the significant economic needs of local communities?

I'll tell you why. It's all about wiping Obamacare off the books.

Because their nominee has said in the past that the law should be struck down.

That will take away health care coverage for 20 million Americans.

That will take away protections for preexisting conditions for more than 100 million people.

Complications from COVID-19, like lung scarring and heart damage, could well become the next pre-existing condition.

That will toss out the rule that allows children to be covered on their parents' health care until the age of 26.

That will take us backward to when insurance companies could charge a woman more for her health care than a man — just because she's a woman.

Folks, we can do better.

Together, we'll build on the Affordable Care Act. You can choose to keep your private plan – and we'll offer a Medicare-like public option — which will give private insurers a real competitor.

We'll increase subsidies so your premiums are lower and you can afford plans with lower deductibles and lower out-of-pocket spending.

But we can only do this if we come together as a country.

Abraham Lincoln told us that a house divided cannot stand.

Today, trust is ebbing. Hope seems elusive. Instead of healing, we're being ripped apart.

I refuse to let that happen.

We need to revive a spirit of bipartisanship in this country — a spirit of being able to work with one another.

When I say that, I'm told maybe that's the way things used to work — but they can't any more.

Well, I'm here to say they can. And they must if we're going to get anything done.

I'm running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president.

I will work with Democrats and Republicans and I will 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 of care for everyone.

And you, too, have a sacred duty to vote.

It matters.

Michigan matters.

You elected me and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 — you bet on us, then we bet on you. We bet on American workers. We bet on the UAW.

Now I'm asking for your trust and support in 2020 with Kamala Harris.

We will always have your back.

So please, vote and help get out the vote.

Go to, slash MI.

In Detroit, more than 20 early vote centers are now open all across the city, open 7-days-a-week until Election Day.

It's a one-stop shop where you can get registered and vote, right then and there.

So don't wait — vote today.

Tell everyone you know and everyone you meet — vote, vote, vote!

And no matter what, don't let anyone discourage you or tell you your voice won't count.

It does.

You, the American people, will decide our future.


It's time to restore America's soul...

It's time to rebuild the backbone of America — the middle class. And this time bring everybody along — no matter your race, age, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

It's time to unite America.

I'll never forget what President Kennedy said when he promised to send us to the moon.

He said he "refused to postpone".

I refuse to postpone the work America must do. There's nothing beyond our capacity. There's no limit to America's future. The only thing that can tear America apart is America itself.

Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Let's show them who we are. We choose hope over fear. Unity over division. Science over fiction. And yes, truth over lies.

So it's time to stand up and take back our democracy.

God Bless you.

May God Bless our troops.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Detroit, Michigan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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