Mar 2, 2020
Joe Biden Houston Rally Speech Transcript Before Super Tuesday
Joe Biden held a rally in Houston, Texas today to campaign for the Super Tuesday primaries. Read the full transcript of his Houston rally right here on Rev.com.
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Joe Biden: (00:07)
Well, thank you, thank you, thank you. Let me start off by thanking Sheila Jackson Lee for the passport into town. Thank you very, very much. Look, it’s great to be back at Texas Southern University. Don’t jump, I need you. Don’t jump. As my mother would say, “God love you all.” Thank you for coming out today. I had such a great time meeting with some of you outstanding students back in September. I warned you I was coming back and I’m back. I’m back. One of the finest America’s historic black universities and colleges.
Joe Biden: (01:05)
Now, I got to tell you, I’m from Delaware. Delaware State University. I have to tell you, I always tell the truth, you’re the second best. Delaware State University’s the best [inaudible 00:01:17]. Because they’re the ones that always [inaudible 00:01:23] brought me to the dance, reverend. They’re the ones. That’s where I got started. That’s where I got … Look, I’m very proud to support our HBCUs and minority serving institutions. Now as president, everybody kind of forgets now because you become so significant.
Joe Biden: (01:41)
Everybody kind of forgets why HBCUs came along in the first place because you weren’t allowed to go to any … Endowments other universities had. So I promise you as president of United States of America, I’m going to fund HBCUs by $70 billion over the next 10 years. Swear to God.
Joe Biden: (02:11)
Because you lack the endowments, you’re not able to compete for some of the significant multimillion dollar and several case billion dollar contracts the federal government puts out that in fact affects everything from geo positioning to lightweight metals and a whole range of things. And this will put you in a position to be able to compete because one thing you know, everybody now knows you can do anything anybody else in the nation can do and you can do it as well or better. You just have to have the wherewithal to compete.
Joe Biden: (02:43)
So folks, as I said, I want to thank Sheila Jackson Lee again. One thing you learn when you go to the United States Senate, as I did, I got there a little, I’m about 800 years older than Sheila Jackson Lee. But when you there a little bit earlier, she came and I’ll tell you what, she not only took the place by storm, she filled up a vacuum. And I learned a long time ago. Don’t argue with her. Just say yes. Just say yes. Yes, yes, yes. You are something else. I love you. Thank you. She not only fights for Texas, but she fights for, I mean this sincerely, everything that’s right.
Joe Biden: (03:22)
She doesn’t back down. She knows why she’s in it. When I got elected United States Senator as a 29-year-old kid, I wasn’t old enough to be sworn in. And after I won in a year when the Democratic candidates for president only won 33% of the vote and I won by a rousing 3,000 votes statewide, everybody had come to me, new candidates run and they say, what’s your secret? Because if I won, there had to be some special secret. And I say, I tell you what the secret is. Have you figured out what’s worth losing over?
Joe Biden: (03:57)
Have you figured out what’s worth losing over? Sheila Jackson Lee has never wondered about what’s worth losing over. She knows why she got involved. Just like Sylvia Garcia is not the only … She’s not only a history maker, she’s the first Latina to represent Houston in Congress.
Joe Biden: (04:20)
And she knows why she’s involved. She’s been one the side of working families here in Houston, is standing up for the vulnerable from her very first day as a legal aid lawyer. I understand that. I used to be a public defender when I was a kid when I got out of school. Houston is in good hands with such leadership and visionary leaders as you have fighting for you and the combination of the one who’s been there and has great power in the Congress. The one who’s a massive power for the same reason, they know why they’re involved.
Joe Biden: (04:52)
They know why they’re involved. Just a few days ago, the pundits just declared my campaign dead. But then along came South Carolina and South Carolina had something to say about it. As I stand here today, because of the minority communities, I am very much alive because of you.
Joe Biden: (05:19)
We not only won in South Carolina, we won every single solitary election district. And because the African American community primarily in South Carolina, we ended up increasing the turnout 150,000 more people than even voted in 2008 when Barack came out. Now, tomorrow, Texas is going to speak. As my grandpa would say …
We love Joe.
Joe Biden: (06:03)
Well thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And I think we’re going to do well here in Texas with the help of all of you. And when we do, we’ll be on our way to defeating Donald Trump.
Joe Biden: (06:19)
I want you to know I’m here heart and soul with everything I got to earn each and every vote here. I take nothing for granted. Nothing at all. But I’m asking you, I’m asking you for your vote. I’m asking you for your support because I’ve got to earn it. My message to everyone who’s been knocked down, counted out, left behind, this is your campaign. We need you. We want you and there’s a place for you in our campaign. So join us. Go to joebiden.com, sign up, volunteer, contribute if you can, but we need you very badly.
Joe Biden: (07:08)
Every vote matters tomorrow. Most important vote to make sure there’s not going to be any problem is that you send back Sheila Jackson Lee as the nominee without any question. Look, tomorrow is Super Tuesday and I want to thank you all. I’ll tell you what I’m rushing ahead, aren’t I? I want to speak directly to the Democrats here in Texas and all across the country. The moment to choose a path forward has arrived for our party maybe sooner than what people might’ve anticipated, maybe sooner than people guessed would occur or wanted to occur.
Joe Biden: (07:46)
But it’s here and the decision Democrats make tomorrow and the next few weeks, we’re going to determine what we stand for, what we believe and where we’re going to go and how we’ll get there. If Democrats want a nominee to beat Donald Trump, keep a majority in the House of Representatives and elect a US Senate and the State Legislature here in Texas and around the country, then join us. If Democrats want a nominee who will build on Obamacare, not scrap it, then join us.
Joe Biden: (08:25)
By the way, I was asked a question today on one of the national news programs, people are now worried about the coronavirus. I’m happy to talk about that later, but here’s the deal. They gave me an example that in fact one man got tested, went in to get tested because he was doing the right thing because he had a cold and he had been in another country and then he got a bill for $3,000. Under Obamacare, which they’re trying to wipe out, all tests are free. Free. Free. Free. All vaccines will be free to deal with these crises.
Joe Biden: (09:02)
And if you want someone who’s going to take on the NRA and the gun manufacturers, I’m your guy.
Joe Biden: (09:07)
You want someone who’s going to stand up for the middle class and the working poor. Look, we’re going to be the ones to do it because here’s the deal, we’re not going to raise taxes on anybody in terms of working folks. And I make this promise and I can keep it that we are going to provide all that is needed and we’re not going to have to do what others are proposing to get things done, have to raise significant taxes on middle class folks and working class folks. If the Democrats want a nominee who’s a Democrat, a lifelong Democrat, a proud Democrat, an Obama-Biden Democrat.
Joe Biden: (09:42)
Look, we can win big or lose big. That’s the choice that’s upon us now. We need to build on a coalition and a legacy of the most successful president in any of our lifetimes, Barack Obama. And we’ll do this by bringing Americans together, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, or economic station, Democrats, Republicans, independents of every stripe. Look, we did it. We won in South Carolina, like God willing, we’ll win in Texas tomorrow. And like we do all across America because the country is hungry, hungry, hungry to be United.
Joe Biden: (10:44)
Look, win big or lose big, that’s the choice. Most Americans don’t want a promise of a revolution. They want a guarantee of results on the things that affect them. They want to get access to real opportunity. Affordable, available healthcare for everyone, an environment with clean air, clean water and educational system that funds schools, pays for our teachers, makes community college free, deals for the overwhelming debt. The average person graduating from an HBCU this year will graduate $29,000 in debt. We can deal with that.
Joe Biden: (11:22)
I’m going to speak to that in a second. We’re a nation where we have to stand up to beat the NRA, reform our criminal justice system like you’ve been working on a long time, mobilize the world against climate change. A nation where we live by the values that embraces immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, does not slam the door on those fleeing persecution, violence, and oppression, does not make people seeking asylum have to stay in another country to do it. We’ve never ever done, get children out of cages. Reunites families.
Joe Biden: (11:58)
I mean it. A nation that provides a pathway to citizen for 11 million people who are enriching our communities every day. We are better for it, not worse off for it. Look, we need an economy that rewards work, not just wealth like it is today. My dad used to have an expression. Joe, a job’s about a lot more than a paycheck. A job’s about your dignity, respect, your place in the community. And I really mean this. After he lost his job in Scranton and died in Scranton, coal died and everything died, took him three years to get to the point we were able to move to Delaware and get a three bedroom house with four kids and a grand pop lived with us.
Joe Biden: (12:41)
My Lord, I wonder how my parents dealt with those tin walls looking back on it, but anyway. But look, it’s about all our families. It’s about all our communities. The way I look at everything, and I mean this, I’m criticized for it occasionally. I look at everything through the prism of how it affects you, but your family and the community, all our communities. That’s why I’m a Democrat. That’s what got me involved in the first place. Folks, talk is cheap. False promises are deceptive and talk and revolution isn’t changing anyone’s life.
Joe Biden: (13:21)
We need real results and we need them now. I’ve done that in my whole career and I’ll do it as president. So this isn’t an election. This isn’t an election to spend all our time in the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party. We’re in the battle for the soul of this country and we really are. That’s what got me involved in this election in the first place. From the time I was a kid I got involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Coming home and by the way, my state, most of you don’t know, my state is the eighth largest black population in America.
Joe Biden: (13:55)
We have an awful lot in common. We to our great shame were a slave state. We are just like a lot of states in the South except we were one of those border states. Delaware, Maryland, [inaudible 00:00:14:05], they were all could not figure out how to get the other side. Thank God. So when I was a kid, I worked what they call the East side. And as a kid, I got deeply involved. I spent my time in the black church on Sunday. I must admit to you, after going to mass earlier in the morning. Mom, I really did, not a joke.
Joe Biden: (14:29)
But we’d sit there and we’d organize and we’d draw some hope from what was going on. But when I came home, I went away to law school because we had no law school Delaware at the time. When I came home, Dr. King, I only had two political heroes, Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy and folks, both were assassinated the last semester I was in school, in law school. When I came home and I had a job with a fancy law firm, good law firm, decent people, but my city, Wilmington, Delaware, is the only city in American history since the Civil War occupied by the military for 10 months, standing in each corner of drawing bayonets.
Joe Biden: (15:14)
As my wife, the professor, would say, you can Google it, no exaggeration. And what happened? I found myself in a position where I talked about all this time about being involved in the community. And after I got admitted to the bar in January, I realized I couldn’t stay in that law firm and I quit and became a public defender. Because, and I used to interview my clients down what they call the Northeast Carter, Amtrak Carter, that goes from all the way up the coast, particularly the high speed rail that goes from Washington to New York.
Joe Biden: (15:50)
And I used to interview my clients down there and I thought things would never get better, never get better. I thought blacks and whites would never be talking together again because the city was over 60% African American. Well, here I was literally 40 years to the month standing in that same platform at that same strange station, all of a sudden it hit me. I was waiting for a black man to come 26 miles from Philadelphia on a train to pick me up and take me a total of 147 miles south to Washington, DC to be sworn in as president and vice president United States of America.
Joe Biden: (16:30)
I call my three children, grown children. I called them up where I was standing and my son Beau, who is a war hero and the attorney general of the state of Delaware then. I said, and I called my son Hunter up, my heart. Beau is my soul. Hunter is my heart. He ran the World Food Program, excuse me, USA. And my daughter is a social worker and ran the largest criminal justice reform system in the state. And I called them up and I said, look, I said, look at the East side over here. It’s rebuilt. Look over at Third Street Bridge, it’s rebuilt.
Joe Biden: (17:11)
And I said, don’t tell me things can’t change. I’m about to be picked up by this man and we all celebrated. I thought I knew an awful lot about how to deal with hate in this. I thought you could defeat him, but I was wrong. What happened was in 2017 in Charlottesville, close your eyes and picture those folks coming out of the field with their veins bulging, carrying torches, carrying Nazi banners, David Duke saying, this is why we elected him, accompanied by white supremacists and a young woman was killed.
Joe Biden: (17:46)
And the president was asked to comment. He said something no American president ever said. He said, “there were very fine people on both sides.” By the way, it’s more than a boo. It’s a reality. No president has said that and that’s why they decided that I was going to run. That’s why I got in this race. I wrote an article in Atlantic magazine saying, we’re in the battle for the soul of the country and I meant it. By the way, it’s only gotten worse for him since then. The way he mocks people with disabilities.
Joe Biden: (18:29)
The way he talks down to people. The way treats minorities like we’re subhuman. The way he deals with and separates us. The way he even braces dictators around the world and pokes his finger in the eye of our allies.
View of women.
Joe Biden: (18:45)
Look, his view of women is not even a view. No, I really mean it. I shouldn’t get going. But folks, we’re at a very perilous moment because we can God willing with the right nominee turn your children’s view of history into, well, four years after Barack Obama having this guy as president was an aberration, a historical aberration. But if we give him eight years, he will fundamentally alter the nature of who we are and that’s a fact. He’d change the nature of who we are and winning means uniting America.
Joe Biden: (19:34)
I know a lot of my colleagues think we have to look at the other side as the enemy. If we do that, we can never get anything done. Not showing more division and anger. The words of presidents matter. Not only means fighting, but healing, healing this country. We have to beat Donald Trump and the Republican Party, but we can’t become like them. We can’t become like them. We have to heal our divisions. Restore democracy. And above all, it’s time for America to get back up on its feet and once again fight for the proposition that we hold these truths to be self evident.
Joe Biden: (20:27)
Sounds corny, not a joke. Think about it. We hold these truths to be self evident, all men and women created by … You know the thing. You know how we talk about it. We the people, folks endowed by our creator certain unalienable rights. We’ve never lived up to that. We’ve never lived up to that. Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the words, never lived up to it, but we’ve never ever before walked away from it. Never. And I believe with every fiber in my being, that’s who we still are. We have always moved forward.
Joe Biden: (21:03)
We’ve always increased the aperture of inclusion more and more, and we have a chance now. A few days ago, I did a town meeting in Charleston, South Carolina. You might’ve seen it on CNN. I spoke to the Reverend Anthony Thompson whose wife Maya was studying the words of The Bible with eight of her parishioners at Mother Emanuel Church when a white supremacist entered their church four and a half years ago and gunned them all down. There was a weekly routine reading scripture, finding purpose and faith in God and in each other and in an instant hate’s vengeance pierced their faith lost forever.
Joe Biden: (21:51)
But what’s remarkable about Reverend Thompson and the families of the Emanuel nine is that through their pain and grief, he did something totally remarkable. They forgave the killer. They forgave the killer. I was there. They forgave the killer. And in their forgiveness, change that had been fought for over a hundred years in South Carolina began to occur. The Confederate Flag came down. Real change began to take place because they talked about healing. That Sunday, I came back to Mother Emanuel quietly, no press, no anybody, just to see to it because we, I just lost our son six weeks earlier and my family needed to be healed.
Joe Biden: (22:54)
So we came back and we worshiped with them because what it’s all about? It’s about healing. It’s about being reminded. Many of you have been through similar things that I’ve been through. Some of you worse than I’ve been through, but what do you need? You need purpose in your life. Purpose in reminding that those you lost are still part of you. Beau was my soul. Just like when I lost my wife and daughter, my two kids were not likely to live. With every day of every season that’s past, Reverend Thompson and other members of their congregation have gotten up and fought for purpose.
Joe Biden: (23:38)
Purpose of their lives, a purpose worthy of their loved ones, worthy of the blessings to live in this remarkable country of ours, and they’re the reason I’m in this race. You are the reason I’m in this race. People like you that have fought here today all around the country to deal with a crisis you’ve faced in your lives. The days of Donald Trump’s [de visitas 00:24:05], I promise you, will soon be over.
Joe Biden: (24:14)
We can and we must build a more perfect union. Because the American people have seen the alternative, so let’s get back up. We’re decent, we’re brave, we’re a resilient people. We can believe again. We’re better than this moment and we’re better than this president. So get up and let’s take back this country. We’re the United States of America. There’s nothing we cannot do if we do it together. God bless you all and may God protect our troops. Let’s take it back now. Now. Now. Now. Thank you.