Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
[As prepared for delivery]
Thank you, Terrence, for sharing your story and for exercising your power as a young voter — a first-time voter.
You're an inspiration, man — I really mean that.
You're making your family proud.
Thank you, Joanne, for all you do to lift up this community — bringing pride, and dignity, and jobs to Milwaukee.
And my friend, Gwen Moore — let's send her back to the House of Representatives!
Thank you all for welcoming me today — Mayor Barrett, Sheriff Lucas, Sheriff Mahoney, and former Ambassador Joan Prince.
It's great to be back with you all.
Folks, there are only four days left.
Millions of Americans are already voting. Millions more will vote by the end of this.
And, I believe when you use your power —the power of the vote — we will change the course of this country.
It can start right here in Wisconsin.
In these final days, keep that sense of empowerment and that sense of optimism of what we can do together.
But I know it's hard.
More than 225,000 dead Americans because of COVID-19. 2,000 here in Wisconsin — gone. 600 here in Milwaukee County — each one memorialized by an empty chair in MacArthur Square.
And now folks are getting hit by a new big wave of infections.
This week, Wisconsin set a new record for daily cases.
Hospitals are running short on beds. You've just had to open a field hospital — this is what we're facing.
We've hit 9 million cases nationwide. Another tragic milestone.
Millions of people are out of work, on the edge and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Wisconsin is down 20,000 manufacturing jobs since this pandemic began.
And Donald Trump has given up!
Over the weekend, the White House Chief of Staff said, "We're not going to control the pandemic."
At the debate last week, Donald Trump said, "We're rounding the corner...it's going away...we're learning to live with it."
But — as I told him — we're not learning to live with it. We're learning to die with it.
And did you hear what he said again today? He said that our doctors, who are putting their lives on the line, busting their necks, are making up deaths from COVID-19 because they "get more money".
Doctors and nurses go to work every day to save lives — they do their jobs.
Donald Trump should stop attacking them and do his job.
This is the same man who, when told we were losing 1,000 lives a day said "It is what it is."
Well it is what it is because he is who he is.
Donald Trump has waved the white flag and surrendered to this virus.
But, the American people don't give up. They surely don't cower. And neither will I.
Unlike Donald Trump, we will not surrender to this virus!
I'll put in place a plan to deal with this pandemic responsibly — bringing the country together around testing, tracing, and masking.
It's estimated by the leading doctors in America that if we just wore masks over the next few months we'd save around 100,000 lives.
Dr. Fauci called for a mask mandate last week.
It's not a political statement. It's a patriotic duty for God's sake.
But still Donald Trump refuses to listen to science.
He politicizes the race for a vaccine, instead of planning for its safe, equitable, and free distribution.
He refuses to bring leaders in both parties together to provide schools and small businesses the resources and national standards to reopen safely.
But I will bring together Republicans and Democrats to deliver economic relief to working families, schools, and businesses.
As I've said before — I'm not going to shut down the economy. I'm going to shut down the virus!
Donald Trump inherited a strong economy from Barack and me, but he's squandered that economy — just like he's squandered everything else he's inherited.
Frankly, I've dealt with guys like Trump my whole life.
Guys who think they're better than you, who look down at you.
But we know who really built this country. Working people did! Unions did! The middle class did!
And we know that we can build back better with an economy that rewards work not wealth.
And we can do it without raising taxes on the middle class.
If you make less than $400,000 a year, you won't pay a penny more in taxes.
But we'll ask the wealthiest people and the biggest corporations — the 91 of the Fortune 500 companies that paid zero in federal income taxes — to pay their fair share for a change.
Why should a firefighter, an educator, or a nurse pay a higher tax rate than the super-wealthy?
Why should you pay more in taxes than Donald Trump?
We're going to deliver tax relief for working families and the middle class — to help you buy your first home, pay for health care premiums, or for child care, or care for an aging loved one.
Trump got his Supreme Court Justice to try and destroy the Affordable Care Act — again.
If they get their way, 100 million Americans will lose protections for preexisting conditions — including around 2.5 million Wisconsinites.
And women will again be charged more for their health care — just because they're women.
Donald Trump thinks health care is a privilege. I think it is your right.
And if we all get out and vote, we'll not only restore Obamacare — we will strengthen and build on it.
So you can keep your private insurance or choose a Medicare-like public option.
We'll increase subsidies to lower your premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket spending — and reduce prescription drug costs by 60 percent.
We'll make sure we keep the protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Meanwhile the Social Security Actuary says a plan like Donald Trump's will bankrupt Social Security by 2023.
Tell that to your parents or grandparents. I will protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid!
And let's not forget how Donald Trump is weak and chaotic with China on trade.
Trump's trade policies devastated Wisconsin's dairy farmers.
From 2017 to 2019, Wisconsin lost 15 percent of its dairy farms.
And last year, Wisconsin lost more dairy farms than any other state.
Since the start of Trump's trade war, Wisconsin has seen mass layoffs surge by 25 percent.
And even before COVID-19 hit, Wisconsin saw big declines in manufacturing jobs.
And after Trump rolled out his irresponsible corporate tax giveaways, Harley-Davidson slashed 800 manufacturing jobs, repurchased almost $700 million worth of its own stock, and shifted some of its production overseas.
My policies will hold China accountable.
I'll end the Trump tax loopholes that incentivize companies to ship jobs overseas and I'll add a 10 percent surtax to companies that do.
But for companies that invest in strengthening American manufacturing, or bring jobs back home, I'll offer a 10 percent tax credit.
No government contracts will be given to companies that don't make their products here in America. We're going to make sure that our future is made right here in America!
But folks, nothing is worse than the way he has spoken about those who've served in uniform.
"Losers" and "suckers."
My son Beau served for a year in Iraq. He wasn't a "loser" or a "sucker." He was a patriot.
Just like all of your sons and daughters. Your parents and grandparents who served.
Six generals and admirals who worked in his administration who have since left and said he does not deserve to be Commander-in-Chief of the United States.
And that is why Joint Special Operations Commander General Stan McChrystal and the Commander of Special Operations Command who oversaw the Bin Laden raid — Admiral Bill McRaven — along with 22 other 4 Stars have endorsed me, saying that they support me as the next Commander in Chief.
That's why the Military Times reports that more active duty troops will vote for Biden.
That's why we must support our military. Let's vote for them.
And while Donald Trump fails to condemn white supremacy — we can vote to deliver racial justice.
A season of protest has broken out all across the nation.
Protesting is not burning and looting — and violence must never be tolerated. And it won't.
But these protests are a cry for justice. The names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake will not soon be forgotten.
Not by me. Not by us. Not by this country.
And we have to vote to meet the challenge of the climate crisis and more frequent extreme weather.
The West is on fire. The Midwest is flooding.
Here in Wisconsin where extreme weather incurs big costs to your infrastructure, Lake Michigan set a record high this past January.
And in the South and the East — hurricanes are more severe. Oceans are rising.
Donald Trump thinks it's all a hoax. He's the stable genius who says wind power causes cancer.
I say it creates jobs — Wisconsin jobs, jobs across America.
Folks, combating climate change means saving the planet, protecting our health, and creating millions of good-paying jobs — union jobs — including right here in Milwaukee.
We can change the path we're on. But we've got to act now.
Because we can't afford four more years of Donald Trump!
In 2008 and 2012 you placed your trust in me and Barack Obama, and each day we were in office we worked for you and the entire country.
I'll do it again. In 2020 my campaign is a broad coalition that welcomes Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
And I'm running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president.
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 to care for everyone.
And you, too, have a sacred duty — the duty to vote.
It matters. Wisconsin matters.
So make a plan. Vote. Help get out the vote.
You've got to get it done — and make sure everyone you know votes, too.
A press article yesterday speaking of Trump's efforts, Never before "in modern presidential politics has a candidate been so reliant on wide-scale efforts to depress the vote as Trump".
Well guess what? They will not be able to stop us at all!
We will not be silenced. Over 75 million people have already voted. They've had enough.
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 incredible opportunities available to the American people.
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.
That's exactly what Donald Trump has been doing from the beginning. Dividing America.
Pitting Americans against one another based on race, gender, ethnicity, national origin. That's wrong. That's not who we are.
Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Let's keep showing 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.
We can do this. We can be better than what we've been. We can be who we are at our best. The United States of America.
May God bless you. May God protect our troops.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347043