Nov 2, 2020
Joe Biden Campaign Event Speech Transcript Pittsburgh, PA November 2
Joe Biden held a campaign event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November 2. Read the transcript of his speech remarks here.
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Speaker 1: (01:45)
Please welcome Pittsburgh Steelers legend, Franco Harris.
Franco Harris: (02:17)
Hello. I’m Franco Harris, Penn State Nittany Lion, former Pittsburgh Steelers and now Pittsburgh is my home. I’m thrilled and honored to have Vice President Joe Biden here today in Homewood, and Pittsburgh and Washington, Pennsylvania. People always say this is the most important election of our lifetime. Well, this one is the most important election of our lifetime. The last four years have been ugly. The division, the corrosive politics, the meanness and the bullying.
Franco Harris: (03:03)
All we get from the current administrations are words, no action, no game plan. Over 200,000 Americans have lost their lives because of President Trump’s gross mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. And 18 months into the crisis, he still has no plan. He has said we are rounding the corner. No, we are not rounding the corner, Mr. President. We need a leader who is going to bring our country together and help us build back better.
Franco Harris: (03:50)
We need Joe Biden. Joe Biden shows respect to every single American. And as Mrs. Rogers says, he’s kind. And remember what Art Rooney, the chief, always said, don’t mistake kindness for weakness. Joe Biden is a man who has already faced a pandemic, a man who has turned an economic crisis around. He worked with world leaders and our allies. Experience does matter. Being on the job and being up to the job matters.
Franco Harris: (04:48)
Together, we can elect Joe Biden and finally get this pandemic under control and move our country forward. Joe Biden says we can do this. I say, yes, we can, together, but first we need to vote. If you haven’t already voted, get out there tomorrow and vote. And now please join me in giving a nice Homewood welcoming to the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden.
Joe Biden: (05:39)
Hello Pittsburgh. It’s good to be back. I’ll tell you what. First off, let’s honk for the outstanding band, The Funky Fly Project. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And special thanks to local and state elected officials who are here. I want to thank them a lot and I want to also thank your police department. I tell you what. They got a one heck of a motorcycle escort.
Joe Biden: (06:45)
You know, it was great seeing Franco again. I live in the other side of the state just below that town called Philadelphia, and I get in trouble because I talk about how much I like Pittsburgh and how much I like the Steelers. Now, let me tell you why. Franco and I were just in Latrobe together last month, and Franco and his teammate, a guy named Rocky Bleier, back in the day when the Rooney’s were really wonderful to me and my family. Because just a month after I was elected the United States Senate, I was 29 years old. It was December 18th. And it was a week before Christmas. I got a phone call, when I was hiring staff in Washington, saying a tractor trailer broadsided my wife and my three children Christmas shopping, and killed my wife and killed my wife and would kill my daughter. My two boys were very badly injured.
Joe Biden: (07:44)
So I hustled home as quick as I could. And I stayed with them in that hospital room because they were really in tough shape. But on the 23rd, I believe it was, I decided that I was going to go out to Kmart and get a plastic Christmas tree. You know, those kinds they have on display, because you weren’t allowed to have any Christmas paraphernalia in the hospital that could catch fire, but I could get one of those. So I went out and I was only gone, it was the only time I was gone. I was gone for about, I guess, an hour, hour and a half.
Joe Biden: (08:17)
And I came back and both my boys for the first time, they were little guys, three and four years old, almost four and five. They had smiles on their face and each of them were holding a football signed by the entire steel curtain, the Pittsburgh team. And I said, “What happened, boys?” And they was the first time they smiled. And they said, “Rocky Bleier and Franco Harris came,” because guess what happened? The Rooneys, really fine, fine people, the Rooneys decided that they were going to send Rocky and Franco to see my boys. No publicity. They didn’t do any press. Didn’t let anybody know.
Joe Biden: (09:03)
… he, they didn’t do any press, didn’t let anybody know, they spent 45 minutes with my boys, they got in the plane and went home.
Joe Biden: (09:08)
That’s who we are as a country. That’s something the President doesn’t understand, looking out for each other. The thousand acts of kindness, the decency that people used to show to one another, and still do, that he just doesn’t get.
Joe Biden: (09:27)
Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh there’s one more day, one more day to show who we are once again. Tomorrow we can end the presidency that has divided this nation. Folks in Homewood know, tomorrow we can put and end to a presidency that has failed to protect the nation. Tomorrow we can put an end to a presidency that has fanned the flames of hate across this nation, pouring gasoline on every racial incident in the country.
Joe Biden: (09:58)
Millions of Americans have already voted, over almost a hundred million now. Millions more will vote tomorrow. My message is simple, the power to change this country is in your hands. And I don’t care how hard Donald Trump tries, there’s nothing, nothing he can do to stop the people of this nation from voting, no matter how he tries.
Joe Biden: (10:24)
There was a press article last week, and it read as follows, “Never before in modern presidential history has a candidate been so reliant on wide-scale efforts to repress the vote as Trump.” Trump doesn’t want y’all voting. He don’t want Americans voting. He thinks only wealthy folks should vote. When America votes though, america will be heard. When America’s heard, the message is going to be out loud and clear: it’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home, go home.
Joe Biden: (11:04)
Look, we’re done with the chaos, we’re done with the racism, we’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility, but we got a lot of work to do folks. If I’m elected president, we’re going to act, on day one we’re going to act to get COVID under control, on day one of my presidency I’ll put in action a plan that I’ve been talking about for months, masking, social distancing, testing, tracing, a plans for full and fair and free distribution of therapeutics and vaccines when we get one.
Joe Biden: (11:38)
And most importantly, but he hasn’t done yet, a plan, a plan that addresses the fact that we can get everybody access to the vaccine when it comes. Folks there’s over 300 million people in America, everyone, everyone is going to get help. A plan to address the disproportionate way the virus is hitting the black community and minority communities. We’re seeing race-based disparities all across every aspect of this virus; higher infection rates, lower access to testing, a harder time, quarantine safely, lower access to quality treatment when you become infected, and tragically higher mortality rates, three times as high as the white population. One in 1000 black Americans have died from COVID so far. And by the end of this pandemic, if things continue as he’s allowing them to do until the next president takes office, there will be another 200,000 deaths projected. And that would mean one in 500 African-Americans will have died because of COVID.
Joe Biden: (12:56)
That is absolutely outrageous. That is an attack, a mass casualty for black Americans. And this President, he knew in January how bad this virus was, in January he knew it. Some of you may remember vaguely if you turned on the television at the time, I wasn’t in office but I was talking about the fact that he got intelligence briefings laying out how dangerous it was coming from China, and where it was happening. And he said, no he didn’t read his intelligence briefing in the morning. Well, that didn’t surprise me, he doesn’t read.
Joe Biden: (13:35)
But turns out he knew exactly how dangerous it was. Remember what he said to Bob Woodward, the famous journalist? He went on tape and he said to Woodward, he knew in January how dangerous it was and how many people could die, and he said nothing. He didn’t say a thing to you, me, or anybody else. He kept it secret. He hid it from the American people. He knew it was worse than the flu. He lied to the American people. He knew it wasn’t going to disappear. He kept telling us, America was coming, or maybe we should inject bleach into our veins. I mean, whatever, God, what a… anyway.
Joe Biden: (14:17)
And just Friday, this past Friday, had the gall to suggest that the American doctors and nurses, who are literally risking their lives to save lives on the front line of this crisis for nine months, that he suggested that these folks, know what he said they’re doing? He said, “Doctors are falsely inflating the deaths due to COVID because they want to make more money.”
Joe Biden: (14:48)
Now think about that, president of the United States of America. But then again, it doesn’t surprise me, he wouldn’t do anything unless he could make more money, not a joke. Everything to him is about how do you help yourself?
Joe Biden: (15:04)
Folks, look the people of this nation have suffered and sacrificed for nine months, none more so than our doctors and our frontline healthcare workers. And it’s the President questioning their character, and their integrity, their commitment to his fellow Americans, the President questioning that? It’s a flat disgrace. And then last night Trump said, he’s going to fire Dr. Fauci. I got a better idea, let’s fire Trump, and I’ll hire Dr. Fauci.
Joe Biden: (15:43)
Look, the President has waved the white flag of surrender in this virus. I’ll never do that. He’s chief of staff said last week, “We’re not going to control this virus.” We’re not going to control the virus, the first step to beating the virus is defeating Donald Trump.
Joe Biden: (16:13)
Look folks, if we didn’t know this was happening, and somebody made a movie about this five years ago you’d think it was all crazy, but it’s real. It’s real what’s happening. Donald Trump, by the way, he keeps telling us what a great jobs president he has been, how many jobs he’s created. Well, I was just with President Obama in Detroit, in Flint, Michigan, my buddy. It was great to be with a president with real character. A President respected around the world, a President our kids could look up to. But did you know President Obama and I helped create more jobs in the last three years of our administration than Trump did the first three years of his, even before the pandemic hit? Did you know Donald Trump is going to be the first president in 90 years who’s going to finish with his four years in office with fewer jobs under his leadership than when he started as president?
Joe Biden: (17:18)
And black unemployment remains too high, too many black businesses are shuttered for good. Black-owned businesses are shutting down twice as fast as other businesses, and business communities of color have shuttered because they didn’t get the help, the money that Congress has passed. Congress passed over $2 trillion. You know the first thing what the President did? He fired the Inspector General, who’s supposed to follow where the money went. And guess what? Minority businesses, small businesses, they didn’t get the help. It went to the Mar-a-Lago crowd. Not a joke, his wealthy friends. He fired the Inspector General.
Joe Biden: (17:59)
You know, he sees the world from Park Avenue-
Joe Biden: (18:02)
He sees the world from Park Avenue. I have seen it from Scranton. I see it from where I grew up. I see it from here in Pittsburgh. Wall Street didn’t build this country, working people built this country. That’s always whose built the country, the middle class, and unions built the middle class.
Joe Biden: (18:21)
Folks, I believe we should be rewarding work not wealth in this country. Do you all realize that just as the pandemic started, the listed billionaires in America made another $300 billion? Not a joke, $300 billion they made in the middle of the pandemic. What’s going on here, folks?
Joe Biden: (18:47)
Well, I’ve got a plan, and under my plan I commit to you no one making less than $400 grand is going to see a penny in taxes raised. But for a change, the wealthiest and the biggest corporations, 91 of the Fortune 500 companies pay zero in taxes after making billions of dollars. Well, guess what? Under a Biden administration, they’re going to start paying their fair share. Why should a firefighter, an educator, a nurse, a steelworker pay a higher tax rate, and this is the God’s truth, a higher tax rate than the super wealthy? And by the way, why should you pay more taxes than Donald Trump?
Joe Biden: (19:38)
I’ve released 23 years of my tax returns. I had the dubious distinction of being listed as “the poorest man in Congress” for 36 years. And then when I got elected vice president it says, “It’s probable no man has ever assumed the office vice president with fewer assets than Joe Biden.” I assumed they weren’t speaking about intellectual assets. It could have been, but who knows?
Joe Biden: (20:01)
Well, look, here’s my point, Trump and the only taxes that we’ve been able to find out through the New York Times in the one year he has, he paid $750 in taxes. Trump keeps talking about corruption. When’s the last time he heard of a president having a secret bank account in China? Which he did, we just found out, where he payed 50 times more tax in China than he did in the United States. Every time he starts talking about corruption, I say, “Release your tax return. What in the hell are you hiding? What are you hiding?” Not one…. Anyway, I won’t get into it.
Joe Biden: (20:51)
Look, we’re going to act to protect healthcare. Trump is going to Trump, like he just jammed through a Supreme Court nomination. You know why they did? To try to destroy the Affordable Care Act. Well, if they get their way, a hundred million Americans will lose the protections for preexisting conditions, including more than 5 million people here in the United States… I mean, excuse me, here in the state of Pennsylvania, over a hundred million in the United States. Millions of black Americans will be left uninsured and denied health coverage because of pre-existing conditions. And there are more preexisting conditions in poor communities than there are in others.
Joe Biden: (21:34)
Donald Trump thinks healthcare is a privilege. I think it’s a right. Look, I’ll not only restore Obamacare, I’ll build on it. You can keep your private insurance. If you like it, you can choose Medicare like public option. I’m going to increase subsidies to lower your premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, out-of-pocket spending, surprise billing. I’m going to lower prescription drugs by 60%, and that’s the truth. But by the way, how are you going to do it, Joe? Because those wealthy people are going to start paying their fair share.
Joe Biden: (22:17)
It’s not about punishing everyone, it’s about being fair. We’ll make sure that protections for people with pre-existing conditions remain. And meanwhile, Trump said, he’s publicly said if he’s reelected, he’s going to defund Social Security payments. The actuary in social security department said if he does that, that will eliminate, eliminate Medicare by 2023, after all the who people rely on Medicare. It’s not going to happen, by the way. We’re not going to let it happen, but that’s his plan. Go home and tell your grandparents and parents, we’ll protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which he won’t do. And finally, we need a vote now to deliver some racial justice in America. Look, a season of protest has broken out all across this nation. Protesting is not burning and looting and violence, that can’t be tolerated, it won’t. But those protests are a cry for justice. In the name of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, Walter Wallace, Jr., they’re not going to soon be forgotten. They’re not going to be forgotten by me, not by us, not by this country. They’ll inspire a whole new wave of justice in America.
Joe Biden: (23:45)
When I met with Floyd’s family, he has a little daughter who survived him, she’s six years old, and I knelt down and I talked to her. I started talking to her. You know what she said? She looked at me, she said, “Mr. Vice President, Daddy is going to change the world. Daddy’s going to change the world.”
Joe Biden: (24:07)
Folks, the country is ready. The country is ready, but not with Donald Trump as president. Now he wants us to believe so much he’s done for black Americans. You might have seen the debate I had with him. I was standing next to “Abraham Lincoln”. He said, “Not since Abraham Lincoln has anyone done as much for the African American community as I have.” I turned to him and asked him, “Abe,” he got offended. He got offended. Look, Pittsburgh, honk if you think his commitment of having done more for the African-American community than Abraham Lincoln is true. Honk your horn. Silence. You got it, man. Pittsburgh, honk if you think it’s a bunch of malarkey, his lying. You got it.
Joe Biden: (25:06)
Look, the truth is, Donald Trump has done more harm black America than any president in modern history. This is the same man who started the Birther Movement against my buddy, Barack Obama. This is the first man, this is the man who when the first black woman running for vice president, he looks at her and he calls her a monster. Oh yeah, man.
Joe Biden: (25:25)
And remember on stage with him When I asked about the Proud Boys, that racist group of white supremacists. I said, “Would you deny them?” He turned and he said, “I’m going to tell them to stand down and stand by.” When in God’s name did you ever expect an American president to say, who refused to denounce white supremacy, doesn’t believe systemic racism is a problem and won’t even say black lives matter. Black lives matter. And we’re going to work to deliver real police and criminal reform, justice reform. We know, we know what true justice is all about. It’s not only about a criminal justice system that’s fair, but it’s about being able to build wealth, jobs, homes, families. Folks, we’re in a situation where, think about it, how many people you know are working two jobs and still being in poverty? We need a national minimum wage of $15 an hour for everybody, period. Honk if you agree with me. Honk if you agree with me and my proposal.
Joe Biden: (26:50)
For first-term homebuyers, first-time home buyers, I promise you are going to get a $15,000 down payment for the first home. Honk.
Joe Biden: (27:01)
Honk for new capital to start businesses, because black entrepreneurs are equally successful as any other entrepreneurs, but they can’t get access. That’s why Barack and I started a program to give $1.5 billion to local small business associations to lend money. That brought 30 billion off the sideline. Well, I’ve changed that to $15 billion, and we’re going to bring 150 off the sideline.
Joe Biden: (27:34)
Look, in addition to that, think about this. Education. Education is the key to movement. Well, guess what? There’s going to be free college education for state universities when I’m your president. I’m going to triple funding. And by the way, we can afford this, I promise you. I’m going to triple funding for Title I schools so a child can get a good public education, no matter what their zip code is. Allowing every three and four and five year olds to go to school, not daycare. That increases by 58% the prospects that child will go all the way through 12 years. And honk if you agree with me. I’m going to invest $70 billion in HBCUs at minority serving institutions. For real. [inaudible 00:28:35] institutions so future generations of black students can continue to get the very best education.
Joe Biden: (28:40)
Folks, Pennsylvania, 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. By the way, she is one smart, bright, tough woman, man. I’m so proud. She said yes. Look, I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president. That’s the job of a president, the duty to represent everyone, everyone. And you too have a duty. If you haven’t already voted, to vote tomorrow. Make a plan, get out to vote. Go to iowavote.com/pa and ask yourself if Donald Trump is so proud of his record, especially for African Americans, why does he make it so hard for us to vote?
Joe Biden: (29:42)
And then remember the final words of my good friend and American hero, John Lewis, who recently died. He said “The vote is the most powerful non-violent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it, because if not, it’s guaranteed you’ll lose it.”
Joe Biden: (30:01)
Folks, please, please. Here’s the amazing thing. Here’s the amazing thing, folks. It’s about this moment in history. On the one hand, we’re facing the biggest threats about 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 said it many times. I’m more optimistic about America’s future today than I was when I got elected as a 29 year old kid. And I mean it. Here’s why. We’re better positioned than any nation in the world to lead the 21st century. Our workers are three times as productive as workers in the biggest economies in the world. We have the strongest military in the history of the world. We have the most innovative entrepreneurs. We’re virtually energy independent.
Joe Biden: (32:12)
(silence) We can do this. We’re better than we’ve been. We can be our best when we’re the United States of America. God bless you all and may God protect our troops. Go vote. We can get this done, I promise you.