Photo of Joe Biden

Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Southfield, Michigan

October 16, 2020

[As prepared for delivery]

Hello, Michigan!

Thank you, Alexia, for sharing your story with us.

It's great to be back, and it's great to be here with your outstanding Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and your outstanding Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow.

Folks — we need to send Gary Peters back for another term, standing up for Michigan families and small businesses. He was our main congressional partner back in 2010 when we passed critical legislation to support small businesses, and he always shows up for Michigan.

Like all of you, Jill and I are so grateful that the Governor and her family are safe.

Governor — it's not easy to lead in moments of crisis, but you've done it and you're doing it. And you're doing it pretty much better than anyone in America.

You've shown this whole nation just how tough you are. Tough — just like Michigan.

I've got to believe this state is proud of you. I know I am. I'm proud to call you a friend.

We're grateful to the FBI and local law enforcement who discovered these domestic terrorists and stopped them. And make no mistake — that's who they are. Terrorists. Domestic terrorists.

Planning to blow up a bridge on American soil to threaten the lives of police officers and to kidnap an elected leader.

It's the sort of behavior we might expect from ISIS, and it should shock the conscience of every American.

It's a reminder that words matter, that the words of a President matter.

When the President tweeted "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!," that call was heard.

Just like when he said there were, quote, "very fine people" on both sides after Charlottesville, those words were heard.

Just like when he stood on the debate stage and not only refused to denounce white supremacists, but told a right wing extremist group to "stand back and stand by," those words were heard.

You know, the reason I decided to run for president was because of what I saw at Charlottesville, and the President's response to it.

It's why I spoke at Gettysburg last week: because we need to stand up to hate in America and come together as a nation.

Hate never goes away. It only hides. And if you give it oxygen, it grows.

So we need to be clear: from the President on down in this country, there is no place for hate in America.

President Trump revels in division and chaos. He will do anything to distract us from focusing on his failures to deal with this virus and protect this nation.

He's still living in a dream world. He keeps telling us the virus is going to disappear like a miracle. But it's not disappearing.

In fact, it's on the rise again. It's getting worse.

And we all know the terrible price this nation has paid. Lives are being lost. Unemployment is way up.

Across Michigan and the country, folks are worried about making their next rent or mortgage payment, whether their health care will be ripped away in the middle of a pandemic, worried about school and their kids.

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

Because he refuses to follow science. Because he refuses to embrace wearing a mask. Because he refuses to practice social distancing.

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.

But that's not what he told the public.

And the reason he lied to the American people?

He said he didn't want us to panic. Look. The American people don't panic. Donald Trump panicked.

As a consequence of his overwhelming lying, negligence, and irresponsible action, how many empty chairs are there around the dinner table?

But mishandling the pandemic isn't enough for Trump.

On top of that, he's still trying to take away your health care.

Trump is still determined to destroy the Affordable Care Act.

This isn't hyperbole — this is real. As real as it gets.

On November 10th, the United States Supreme Court will hear the Trump Administration make the case that the Affordable Care Act should be struck down in its entirety.

If Trump gets his way, 20 million Americans will lose their health care. 10 million have already lost their health care in this God-awful economic crisis.

100 million Americans will lose their protections for preexisting conditions, including more than 4 million people in Michigan.

Lifetime limits on benefits will be back. Insurers will no longer have to allow you to keep your kids on your plan up to age 26. Women will again be charged more for their health care just because they're women. Older folks will be charged more.

Long-term complications from COVID will become the next preexisting conditions, joining asthma, diabetes, and even pregnancy, that could allow insurers to jack up your premiums or deny you coverage altogether.

Getting rid of Obamacare is why they're racing to get their nominee on the U.S. Supreme Court.

And make no mistake about it: Trump has made it clear he wants to get rid of Obamacare in its entirety, and this nominee has made it clear, too.

Michigan deserves better.

You deserve leaders like Senator Gary Peters and Senator Debbie Stabenow — public servants who lead with decency and honor, who always looks out for your needs, who think about how to ease the burden on your family.

That's the sort of leader you've got in Governor Whitmer, too.

When she was in the state Senate, she led the charge to secure Obamacare's Medicaid expansion for more than 800,000 Michiganders.

After we passed Obamacare with help from Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, we were able to reduce the uninsured rate by nearly 55 percent here in Michigan.

If I have the honor of becoming President, we'll build on the Affordable Care Act. You can choose to keep your private plan but we'll also offer a Medicare-like public health insurance option.

It will force private insurers to keep premiums low and offer better coverage, because, for the first time, they'll have to compete for your business against a public insurer that doesn't have a profit motive.

If you choose this public option or a private plan, we'll increase subsidies so your premiums are lower, and you can afford plans with lower deductibles and lower out-of-pocket spending.

And an independent analysis found that my plan will slash the cost of prescription drugs by 60 percent.

Here's the bottom line: my plan lowers health care costs and gets us to universal coverage quickly, at a time when Michigan families desperately need that relief.

Families are reeling right now. They need a lifeline now.

This is my promise to you: when I am President, I will take care of your health coverage the same way I would for my own family.

Donald Trump doesn't see things that way because he can only see the world from his Park Avenue perspective. And all he can see from Park Avenue is Wall Street.

I see the world from where I grew up — in Scranton.

My Mom taught me what you were probably taught, too — she'd say, "Joey, no one is better than you. And everyone is your equal."

You and I measure people by the strength of their character: honesty, recognizing some things are bigger than their own self interest.

For us, it's about family. Respect. Decency. Honor. Opportunity.

Our families weren't asking for anything — just a shot.

And you know, given a shot, the American people have never, ever let their country down.

That's what Michigan needs right now, a shot to come back strong.

That's what you needed ten years ago, when the auto industry, the heart and soul of Michigan, was on the brink.

You remember it like it was yesterday.

Barack and I bet on you. We bet on Michigan. We bet on American workers, the UAW. And it paid off.

Over the objection of many, we stepped in and rescued the automobile industry, General Motors and Chrysler, saving over one million jobs.

By contrast, on Donald Trump's watch, we were in a nationwide manufacturing recession even before COVID struck.

And now, we're down nearly 650,000 manufacturing jobs across the country.

In fact, Donald Trump will be the first president in modern American history to leave office with fewer jobs than when he began. Folks — we can bring our economy back, and I have a plan to do it.

An independent analysis put out by Moody's, a well-respected Wall Street firm, projects that my plan will create 18.6 million jobs — over 7 million more jobs than the President's economic plan, and $1 trillion more in economic growth than the President's plan.

I'm not going to raise taxes on anyone who makes less than $400,000 a year. You won't pay a penny more. But I'll ask big corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share for a change.

Of Trumps' more than $2 trillion dollar tax cut, I'm going to roll back $1.5 trillion of his giveaways to the biggest companies and top one percent.

The money we raise will allow us to invest in working people and growing the middle class, and make sure everyone is included in the deal.

My plan will create millions of good-paying union jobs in manufacturing.

We'll invest in building more resilient infrastructure – creating millions of good paying jobs: roads, bridges, ports. 1.5 Million new affordable housing units. High-speed broadband for every household. $100 billion to rebuild crumbling public schools. Retrofit 4 million buildings, weatherize 2 million homes. All done by certified union labor.

We're going to end the Trump incentives for companies to send jobs overseas.

And one more thing: the United States government owns and maintains an enormous fleet of vehicles. We're going to convert those government fleets to clean vehicles — made and sourced right here in America.

It'll expand capacity so that the United States, not China leads the world in clean vehicle production. And we're going to make it easier for American consumers to switch to fuel efficient vehicles by building a network of 500,000 charging stations across the country and offering consumer rebates to swap older, fuel inefficient vehicles for new, clean, American-made models.

Together, this will mean one million good new jobs in the American auto industry.

Folks — we can do this. We just have to come together.

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

We can be better than what we've seen. We can be what we are at our best — the United States of America.

But you have to vote.

Visit IWillVote.com/MI.

Early voting is happening now at every city and township clerk's office in the state.

You can register and vote in one quick stop.

If you have your ballot already, mail it or drop it in a dropbox today.

Don't wait — vote.

And don't just vote for me and Senator Harris — vote for Gary Peters, too.

We're going to need him back in the Senate looking out for Michigan families.

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.

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. We have to let them know who we are.

We choose hope over fear. Unity over division. Science over fiction. And yes, truth over lies.

Thank you!

God Bless you—and may God protect our troops.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Southfield, Michigan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347049

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