Joe Biden

Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Monaca, Pennsylvania

November 02, 2020

[As prepared for delivery]

Hello, Pittsburgh!

First off, let's honk for the outstanding band, the Funky Fly Project.

Special thanks to all the local and state elected officials.

And Franco, great seeing you again. We were just together in Latrobe last month.

Franco, his teammates, and the Rooney's will always have a special place in my heart.

Just a month after I was first elected to the U.S. Senate, my wife and infant daughter were killed and my two sons were badly injured when a tractor trailer broadsided their car while they were out Christmas shopping.

I was in Washington and rushed home to Wilmington, Delaware.

I basically lived in the hospital until they got better. To keep their spirits up, I went out to get them a Christmas tree for their hospital room.

I came back and for the first time since the accident my boys were smiling. They each had signed footballs.

The Rooney family had flown out with a few players: Rocky Bleier and Franco Harris with the footballs and no publicity.

They spent 45 minutes with my boys. Then they got on the plane and went home.

That's who we are as a country. We look out for each other.

Pittsburgh — one more day to show who we are again.

Tomorrow, we can put an end to a presidency that has divided this nation.

Tomorrow, we can put an end to a presidency that has failed to protect this nation.

Tomorrow, we can put an end to a presidency that has fanned the flames of hate across this nation.

Millions of Americans have already voted. Millions more will vote tomorrow.

And my message to you is simple: The power to change this country is in your hands.

I don't care how hard Donald Trump tries.

There is nothing — NOTHING — that is going to stop the people of this nation from voting.

A press article from the other day speaking of Trump's efforts: "Never before in modern presidential politics has a candidate been so reliant on wide scale efforts to repress the vote as Trump."

And when America votes, America will be heard.

And when America is heard, the message is going to be loud and clear.

It's time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home.

We're done with the chaos.

The tweets. The anger. The hate. The failure. The irresponsibility.

We've got a lot of work to do.

And if I'm elected your president, we're going to act.

We're going to act to get COVID under control.

On Day One of my presidency, we will put into action the plan I have been talking about for months:

Masking. Social distancing. Testing. Tracing.

A plan for the full and fair and free distribution of therapeutics, and the vaccine when we get one.

A plan to address the disproportionate way this virus is hitting the Black community.

We're seeing race-based disparities across every aspect of this virus: higher infection rates, but lower access to testing, and a harder time quarantining safely. Lower access to quality treatment when you become infected, and tragically, higher mortality rates.

1 in 1,000 Black Americans have died from COVID-19.

By the end of the pandemic it could be more than 1 in 500. COVID is a mass casualty event for Black Americans.

And this president knew in January this virus was deadly. But he hid it from the American people.

He knew it was worse than the flu. But he lied to the American people.

He knew it wasn't going to disappear. But he kept telling us a miracle was coming.

And just Friday, he had the gall to suggest that America's doctors — the people who have been on the front lines of this crisis for nine months — along with the nurses and so many others — he suggested these doctors are falsely inflating the deaths due to COVID — because they want to make more money.

The people of this nation have suffered and sacrificed for nine months, none more so than our doctors and frontline health care workers and this president is questioning their character, their integrity, their commitment to their fellow Americans?

It's a disgrace.

And then last night, Trump says he's going to fire Dr. Fauci.

I've got a better idea.

Let's keep Dr. Fauci on the job and fire Donald Trump!

Donald Trump has waved the white flag of surrender to the virus.

I will never raise the white flag of surrender.

We are going to beat this virus. We are going to get it under control.

And the first step to beating this virus is to beat Donald Trump!

Donald Trump keeps telling us what a great "JOBS" president he is.

Well, I was just with President Obama in Detroit and Flint.

It was great to be with a president with character.

A president respected around the world. A president our kids could look up to.

Did you know President Obama and I helped create more jobs in the last three years of our Administration than Trump did in the first three years of his— BEFORE the pandemic?

Did you know Donald Trump is going to be the first president in 90 years who is going to finish his four years in office with FEWER jobs under his leadership than he started with?

And Black unemployment remains too high and too many Black businesses shuttered for good?

Black owned businesses are shutting down twice as fast.

Businesses in communities of color have been shuttered because they did not get the help the Congress passed to keep them open.

The money went to Trump's rich friends instead.

It's no surprise.

He sees the world from Park Ave. looking down to Wall Street.

I see it from Scranton, where I grew up. I see it from here in Pittsburgh.

Wall Street didn't build this country.

Working people built this country.

The middle class built this country.

And unions built this country.

I believe we should be rewarding work, NOT wealth in this country.

Under my plan, if you make less than $400,000 a year, you won't pay a penny more in taxes.

But the wealthiest people and the biggest corporations — the 91 of the Fortune 500 companies that paid zero in federal income taxes — they're going to pay their fair share.

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?

Remember? He paid $750 in federal income taxes.

How about you?

We will act to protect health care.

Trump and the Republicans just jammed through a Supreme Court nomination, and we know why.

To try and destroy the Affordable Care Act again.

If they get their way, 100 million Americans will lose protections for preexisting conditions, including more than 5 million here in Pennsylvania.

Millions of Black Americans could be left uninsured or denied health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

Donald Trump thinks health care is a privilege.

I think health care is a right!

I'll not only restore ObamaCare, we'll build on it to 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 finally, vote to deliver racial justice in America.

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, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, and Walter Wallace Jr. will not soon be forgotten.

Not by me.

Not by us.

Not by this country.

They will inspire a new wave of justice in America, but not with Donald Trump as President.

Now, he wants you to believe that he's done more for Black Americans than any president since Abraham Lincoln.

Pittsburgh — honk if you think that's a bunch of malarkey.

The truth is, Donald Trump has done more harm to Black Americans than any president in modern history.

This is the same man who started the Birther Movement against Barack Obama, calling the first black woman to be nominated for Vice President a monster.

He refused to denounce white supremacy. Doesn't believe systemic racism is a problem.

He won't even say "Black Lives Matter."

But we know Black lives matter.

We will work together to deliver real police and criminal justice reform.

And we know that true justice is also about jobs and building wealth for your families.

So honk for a $15 an hour minimum wage!

Honk for $15,000 tax credit for first time homebuyers!

Honk for new capital to start a small business because black entrepreneurs are every bit as innovative and successful if they get an even shot!

Honk to send a child to college debt-free!

Honk to triple funding for Title I schools so every child can go to a great public school no matter their zip code.

And honk to invest $70 billion in our HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions so future generations of Black students continue to get the very best education.

Pennsylvania — in 2008 and 2012, you placed your trust in Barack and me.

Now, in 2020, I'm asking for your trust again — in me and Kamala.

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

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

And you, too, have a duty. Vote.

Tomorrow is Election Day.

Make a plan.

Get out the vote.


And ask yourself, if Donald Trump is so proud of his record — especially for Black Americans — why does he make it so hard for you to vote?

And then remember the final words of our late friend, an American hero, John Lewis: "The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it."

Use it.

Here's the amazing thing about this moment in history.

On the one hand, we are facing the biggest threat to who we are — and what we believe — that we've seen in our lifetimes.

But on the other hand, our future has never been more promising.

I've said it many times: I'm more optimistic about America's future today than I was when I got elected to the United States Senate as a 29-year-old.

And here's why: We are better positioned than any nation in the world to lead the 21st century.

Our workers are three times as productive. We have the biggest economy in the world. We have the strongest military in the history of the world. We have the most innovative entrepreneurs. We are virtually energy independent. We have more great research universities than the rest of the world combined. No other nation in the world can match us.

We lead by the power of our example — not the example of our power.

The only thing that can tear America apart is America itself.

And that's exactly what Donald Trump has been doing from the beginning of his campaign. 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 Monaca, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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