Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in St. Paul, Minnesota
[As prepared for delivery]
Jessica, thank you for being here and for sharing your story.
So many Americans have stories like yours — faced with a health problem, the fight of their lives, and forced to think not only about facing that battle, but about whether they can afford treatment.
Will the insurance company come in at your most vulnerable moment, for you or a family member and say, ‘you're on your own?'
It's a question no one should have to face in America.
It's why we fought so hard, and why Obamacare was such a big deal.
It's unconscionable that Donald Trump is fighting in court to rip that peace of mind away from tens of millions.
But we're not going to let him. We are never going back to those days.
We are going to vote and we are going to win for you, Jessica, and for every family.
And I want to thank all of the speakers you heard earlier, including your Governor, Tim Walz, who is leading Minnesota with decency and integrity.
One of the most outstanding members of the Congress, Betty McCollum. Let's send her back to the House of Representatives!
Your incredible Junior Senator, Tina Smith, let's send her back to the U.S. Senate!
And let's win back the Minnesota State Senate while we're at it!
And one of our nation's finest leaders and a dear friend whom I've been honored to stand alongside as we fight together for the soul of our nation, your Senior Senator, Amy Klobuchar!
Yesterday in Florida, I had the chance to spend a little time with another Minnesota icon — Karl-Anthony Towns.
You all know him as the heart and soul of the Timberwolves.
But he's also a son, who, like far too many Americans — lost his mom to COVID-19.
All those sons and daughters, those parents, siblings, husbands and wives facing empty chairs at the dining room table — empty holes in their hearts — they all deserve better.
We need to come together to fight for them.
And we have four days left to get it done.
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.
Right here in Minnesota — with all of you.
In these final days, keep that sense of empowerment with you. And that sense of optimism of what we can overcome.
I know it's hard.
More than 225,000 dead Americans because of COVID-19. Nearly 2,500 here in Minnesota — gone.
We've hit 9 million cases nationwide.
Millions of people are out of work, on the edge and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
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 because they "get more money".
Doctors and nurses go to work everyday 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!
President Trump is spreading division and discord.
He thinks that if he can divide us, we won't notice his failures.
That's why he shamelessly equates Somali refugees — folks seeking a better life in America, contributing to this state and to our country — with terrorists, as he did last night.
We need a president who will bring us together, not pull us apart.
I'll 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.
In his own words, this President knew back in January that this was an extremely dangerous and communicable disease.
He went on a taped interview with Bob Woodward, telling him he knew how dangerous this disease was.
But he did nothing.
Ask yourselves, why didn't he tell the country? He said nothing.He told Bob Woodward that he didn't want to panic the American public.
The American people don't panic — but he panicked.
Donald Trump still 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 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 squandered everything else he inherited.
But we can build back better with an economy that rewards work, not wealth.
We can do it without raising taxes on middle class working families.
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?
He exploited every loophole in our tax code — and ran a shell game to avoid paying taxes.
According to President Trump, that makes him "smart."
Well, what does that make the rest of us who pay our fair share, Mr. President?
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.
They'll try to destroy the Affordable Care Act — again.
If they get their way, 100 million Americans will lose protections for preexisting conditions.
Complications from COVID-19 will become the next preexisting conditions — allowing insurers to jack up your premiums or deny you coverage.
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 keep the protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
And we will protect Social Security and Medicare.
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!
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.
No wonder six generals who worked in his administration left — and said he does not deserve to be Commander-in-Chief of the United States.
No president has ever had that happen.
And that is why Special operations commander General Stan McCrystal and Navy Seals commander Admiral McRaven, along with 20 other 4 Stars have endorsed me — saying that they support me as their next Commander in Chief.
That's why the Military Times reports that "more 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 deliver racial justice.
A season of protest has broken out across the nation.
Because the life and dignity of George Floyd, senselessly killed just seven miles from here, and so many others — they matter.
Protesting is not burning and looting — and violence must never be tolerated. And it won't be.
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.
But true justice is also about economic justice. Schools. Housing. Access to capital. Good-paying jobs. Financial stability.
Giving families of color a real shot to own a home, start a small business, send a child to college debt-free — so they can build wealth and pass opportunity down through the generations.
We have to vote to ensure the full promise of this country for everyone.
Finally, we have to vote to meet the challenge of the climate crisis.
The West is on fire — losing forests larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. The Midwest is flooding.
Here in Minnesota, extreme weather incurs big costs to your infrastructure — increased flooding in the Mississippi watershed has shut down port facilities here in St. Paul.
Donald Trump thinks it's all a hoax. He's the stable genius who says that wind power causes cancer.
I say it creates jobs — Minnesota jobs.
We can combat climate change with American ingenuity and manufacturing — building a more resilient nation and creating millions of new, high-paying union jobs.
We can change the path we're on. There's nothing beyond our capacity!
So honk if you want America to lead again!
Honk if you want Americans to trust each other again!
Honk if you want America to be united again!
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 of care for everyone.
And you too have a sacred duty — the duty to vote.
It matters. Minnesota matters.
So in these final days — stay empowered, stay optimistic, stay united.
Make a plan. Vote. Help get out the vote.
Yesterday, the federal appeals court forced a last-minute change to the rules — absentee ballots have to be received by Tuesday.
So if you want your voice to be heard — drop off your ballot — don't put it in the mail.
Or vote safely in person any day up through Election Day.
But you've got to get it done and make sure everyone you know votes, too.
They will not be able to stop us, despite Trump's efforts. 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 repress the vote as Trump".
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 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.
That's exactly what Donald Trump has been doing from the beginning.
Divide 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 St. Paul, Minnesota Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347050