Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware
[As prepared for delivery]
Good afternoon everyone.
I've just completed another public health briefing with my team of public health experts.
We looked at the latest reported data and how it indicates that we are on the upward slope of a bigger wave of confirmed infections than anything we've experienced to date.
We talked about what actions would be needed to turn this around and how it will be made worse by this Administration's declaration of surrender to the virus.
And we discussed again the vital importance of wearing masks — to protect yourself, to protect your neighbor, and to save around 100,000 American lives in the months ahead.
It's not political.
Wear a mask. Period.
We focused on the way this virus is hitting communities of color much harder, particularly Black, Latino, and Native American communities.
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 they are infected, and tragically, higher mortality rates.
One in 1,000 Black Americans have died from COVID-19.
That's a staggering statistic.
And 57 percent of Black adults and 46 percent of Latino adults know someone who has died or been hospitalized from this disease.
We have lost more than 225,000 lives to this virus, but this administration has just given up.
Over the weekend, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows went on television and just admitted they've waved the white flag and declared surrender. He said, "We're not going to control the pandemic."
The American people deserve so much better.
They deserve so much better than what we saw last night from the Trump campaign and how they treated their supporters in Omaha, leaving hundreds of people, including older Americans and children, out in sub-freezing temperatures for hours.
Several folks ended up in the hospital.
It's an image that captures President Trump's whole approach to this crisis: He makes a lot of big pronouncements that don't hold up.
He gets his photo op. Then he gets out.
He leaves everyone else to suffer the consequences of his failure to make a responsible plan.
And he just doesn't care.
He doesn't care about his own supporters.
He doesn't care about you.
He failed to protect those people in Omaha last night just like he's failed to protect this country all year.
And the longer he's in charge, the more reckless he gets.
Enough. It's time for a change.
Meanwhile, yesterday, the White House science office put out a statement listing ending the COVID-19 pandemic as the top accomplishment of President Trump's first term.
Ending the pandemic?
At the very moment when infection rates are going up in almost every state of our union?
The refusal of the Trump Administration to recognize the reality we're living through at a time when almost 1,000 Americans are dying every single day is an insult to every single person suffering from COVID-19, and to every family who has lost a loved one.
There's nothing more personal to American families than their health care, and the health care of their loved ones.
I know all too well what it feels like to have your heart ripped out, losing a loved one too soon, to sit by their hospital bedside and feel like there's a black hole in the middle of your chest.
I know what it feels like to watch a beloved son battle cancer and worry about how to pay for the medical bills. Or what would happen if, God forbid, the insurance wouldn't cover the treatment.
And yet, today, President Trump is on a single-minded crusade to strip Americans of their health care.
And that would only create another enormous crisis in public health.
In two short weeks, exactly one week after the election, President Trump's Administration will make its case, asking the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.
Let me say that again — they are arguing that the entire law must fall — which would strip 20 million Americans of their health insurance overnight and rip away protections for pre-existing conditions from more than 100 million people in the middle of another upswing of a pandemic.
And just this week on 60 Minutes, we heard Trump tell Lesley Stahl, "I hope that they end it. It'll be so good if they end it."
There is no question: That's why President Trump nominated Justice Barrett to the court, and that is why the Republicans jammed through her confirmation.
Republicans tried and tried and tried to overturn the Affordable Care Act in Congress — and they failed every single time.
President Trump has tried everything he can on his own to sabotage the law.
So now, through their craven abuse of political power, they have added to the court a Justice who criticized Chief Justice Roberts' previous decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act in the hopes that they can destroy the Affordable Care Act once and for all through the courts, no matter how many Americans they hurt in the process.
So let's remember exactly what is at stake in this election.
If you have diabetes, or asthma, or cancer, or even complications from COVID-19, you will lose the protections this law provides.
Insurers will once more be able to jack up your premiums or deny you coverage.
Women could again be charged more for their health care just because they're women.
Children will no longer be able to stay on their parents' health insurance until age 26.
And on top of all that, overturning the ACA could mean that people have to pay to get a COVID-19 vaccine once it is available.
That's right. The law that says insurers are required to cover recommended vaccines for free — that's the Affordable Care Act, too.
Unlike Donald Trump, I believe that health care isn't a privilege.
Health care is a right.
This country can't afford four more years of a president who thinks he is only responsible for the well-being of the people who vote for him.
We can't afford four more years of a President who, instead of fighting this virus, attacks doctors, claiming they are over-reporting COVID-19 cases because they want to make more money.
Our doctors, nurses, and front-line health care workers are putting themselves at enormous risk every day. More than 1,000 of them have died to beat back this pandemic.
They deserve to be treated with respect by their president.
We can't afford four more years of a President who would rather spend his time desperately trying to strip people of their health care than even once bother to put forward a health care plan of his own.
We can't afford four more years of Donald Trump.
And the good news is, we have the chance to turn this around — by voting.
We have six more days left in this election, and the American people have it in their hands to put our country on a vastly different path.
This is my commitment to you.
We will protect and build on the Affordable Care Act by adding a public option that will compete with private plans to expand coverage and lower health care costs.
We will bring down drug prices by almost two-thirds, by taking steps such as allowing Medicare to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies and making that lower price available to all.
We will make sure every American has access to a free COVID-19 vaccine.
This isn't beyond our capacity. Not if we come together.
Not if we stand as one United States: Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
We can transcend old divisions and show what's possible.
There's nothing beyond our capacity.
There's no limit to America's future.
And if I am elected President, as I said yesterday in Warm Springs, I will be a president who's in it not for himself, but for others.
A president who doesn't divide us — but unites us.
A president who appeals not to the worst in us — but to the best.
A president who looks not to settle scores — but to find solutions.
A president guided not by wishful thinking — but by science, reason, and fact.
Even if I win, it is going to take hard work to end this pandemic.
I'm not running on a false promise of being able to end this with the flip of switch, but what I can promise is that we will start doing the right things from Day One.
We will let science drive our decisions.
We will deal honestly with the American people, and we will never, ever quit.
That's how we will shut down this virus. So we can get back to our lives. And a lot more quickly
than the pace we're going at now.
And I will fight to protect your health care, just like I would fight for my own family.
Thank you, and may God protect our troops.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347057