Oct 8, 2020
Joe Biden & Kamala Harris Campaign Event Phoenix, AZ Transcript October 8
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris held a campaign event in Phoenix, Arizona on October 8. It was the first stop of the “Soul of the Nation” bus tour. Read the transcript of their remarks here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Please welcome to the stage, Vanessa Montes-Cazarez.
Vanessa Montes-Cazarez: (00:30)
Thank you all so much. It is an honor to be here today. My name is Vanessa Montes-Cazarez. I am the daughter of two hardworking Mexican immigrants who came here in search of the American dream. My mother is no longer with us, but very present in my heart. She taught me the value of hard work and sacrifice. She taught me to be a woman of faith and love above all. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, where due to the immense sacrifice of my parents’ hard work, I was able to attend board Bourgade Catholic High School, and I am a proud graduate of Arizona State University. I am a business owner. I own several small businesses, including Legends Event Center, one of the most popular venues in Phoenix, Arizona. If you told me earlier this year, just a few months ago, that I would be standing before you introducing you to the future president and vice president of the United States, I would have never believed it. This has been a hard year for many of us. In my industry, the events business, we have felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic especially hard. My business was shut down for six months. We have only started hosting smaller events in recent weeks. Afraid for my family’s livelihood, it was a sacrifice we made to keep our friends, families, and communities safe from this virus, but it wasn’t easy. And while big businesses and corporations benefited from the government assistance and loans, many small business in our communities, especially the Latino community, was left to fend ourselves. Our restaurants, our clothing stores, our tech companies. We are the backbone of this community and this city. We’re proud to be places where our family and friends celebrate major milestones and spend their hard-earned money. We’re proud to be a place where hard work along with talent and innovation can come together to create jobs and help us build better lives. We know that President Biden and Senator Harris understand the value of hard work. They understand that my business is more than just where I work. It’s a part of who I am. They understand that we measure how good our economy is doing by how well our workers are doing, whether their wages are going up, and whether their families are able to save a bit to get ahead, and whether their kids have a better life ahead of them.
Vanessa Montes-Cazarez: (04:15)
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a plan to help us build back better. We know what we’re getting under Donald Trump. No plan for COVID-19 and no plan to help us safely reopen our businesses. As small business owners, we now know the stakes in this election, which is why I’m so excited early voting started yesterday in Arizona. I saw people lined up before the polls opened to be the first among to cast their ballots. This choice has never been easier. I am going to be a first week voter to make sure my vote is counted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I am voting not just for me. I am voting for my whole family, for my six beautiful children, and for their future, for my fellow Latinos. There is so much on the line, but I have faith that we will elect the leaders that will restore the soul of our nation. As Mr. Biden says, ” [foreign language 00:05:50]. Together, we will build back better.” Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great privilege and honor to introduce to you two strong and outstanding leaders, Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Joe Biden.
Kamala Harris: (06:05)
Hey everybody. Hi. Where’s Vanessa? Where are you? Thank you, Vanessa. Thank you so very much for that introduction and for your leadership and all you do for the community here in Phoenix. Thank you. It’s good to see everybody. It’s good to be in the House of Labor. Earlier today, Joe and I had a chance to visit the American Indian Veterans National Memorial and pay tribute to the native Americans who have served our country in uniform. We were joined by the great Cindy McCain, a longtime friend of Joe’s and someone I greatly admire. And I was fortunate to serve with John McCain in the United States Senate and what an incredible, incredible American. He was a patriot of the highest order. And Cindy is supporting our campaign, isn’t that great? And she’s doing it because she knows that Joe and I will always do what she and John did, and that’s put our country first. So we thank Cindy.
Kamala Harris: (07:56)
We’re so excited to be here in Arizona today. And later today, we’ll stop and talk with workers and small business owners who are working so hard and doing everything right, but still struggling to get by. They are who I was thinking about last night at the debate. This election, more than any other in our lifetime, will affect every part of our lives, with consequences that may last generations. And there is so much at stake. Our nation is at a crossroads. Just think, all at the same time, we are experiencing the pandemic, the recession, a reckoning on racial justice, a changing climate that’s battering our coastlines and setting the West on fire, and the future of health care hangs on top of it all, because you see President Trump is in the Supreme Court right now, trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.
Kamala Harris: (09:05)
And along with Senate Republicans, he’s trying to jam through a Supreme Court Justice who will do exactly that, who will rip away protections from as many as 2.8 million Arizonans with preexisting conditions, 2.8 Arizonans with preexisting conditions. And while this president, of course, didn’t bring the virus to our shores, his reckless disregard for human life and for the wellbeing of the American people has allowed it to spread the way we have seen, and the casualties have been enormous. And so let’s not make any mistake. His refusal to contain this virus is what has wreaked havoc on our economy. And I know folks are hurting, but I also know this. We can overcome these challenges if we elect Joe Biden as our next president.
Kamala Harris: (10:18)
And here’s the thing. Joe has had a plan for COVID at least since March. He’s been talking about this. He knows what this means and the kind of leadership that is required to get on top of it and get in control. Joe knows these things. Even, and you guys may have seen the debate last night, even when Joe didn’t have the briefing that Donald Trump and Mike Pence had on January 28th, Joe knew, because of experience, that this could be serious. And under his leadership, we will contain this virus and save lives and build our economy back better than before. Joe will-
Kamala Harris: (11:03)
Back better than before. Joe will be a president who restores the soul of our nation. He’ll be a president who creates good paying jobs and eases the burden on working families. And above all, Joe will be a precedent who unites the American people, Democrats, and Republicans, and independents, old and young, from all backgrounds and races, to meet the greatest challenges of our time. And I plan on being right by his side, and we’ll be ready on day one. We’ll be ready on day one. But here’s the thing, Arizona. We need your help. We’ve got only 26 days left. So let’s not wake up the day after the election on November 4th, wishing we’d done more. Let’s organize and vote in numbers no one has ever seen before. Let’s send Mark Kelly to the Senate.
Kamala Harris: (12:14)
Vote like your life depends on it, because right now, it really does. And yesterday, Arizona, vote by mail ballots were shipped to homes across this state. And in-person early voting has started, including at the new McDowell Square voting center, just about a mile from here. So be a first week voter. A first week voter. And there are four ways to vote in Arizona. You can vote by mail. You can drop off your ballot at a dropbox. You can vote early in person, or you can vote in person on election day. And to learn more, go to, iwillvote.com/az and make a plan. Write down when, where, and how you will vote. And tell everyone you know to do the same, because Arizona’s future, America’s future, is in your hands. So let’s elect Joe Biden as the next president of the United States of America. And ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the great Joe Biden.
Joe Biden: (13:36)
Hello, Arizona. It’s great to be back. It really is. It’s great to be back. Thank you, Kamala. Thank you, [Vanessa 00:03:08]. Appreciate it very, very much. And we met backstage, and the first instinct we all had was to hug each other. And we went, “No, no. We got to stay 12 feet apart.” But folks, I want to give a special thanks to Ruben Gallego for being here. And you’re a big deal, man. I’m serious. And I notice he did something that… This is what we call, in our business, a busman’s holiday, coming to hear another politician speak, and having to put a tie on when he shows up without a tie. But thank you very much. I appreciate it, pal. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And the president and COO of the Southwest Regional Council, Pete Rodriguez. Where are you, Pete? Is he in here, or is he back in his office? Wherever he is, I want to thank him-
Speaker 2: (14:57)
Not in here.
Joe Biden: (14:58)
Not here now? Well, also so Fabian Sandez, president of the local 1912. And you’ve all been with me. We were talking, Kamala and I, coming down the hall, and we said… Not a joke. It was just purely coincidental. She said, “I love the carpenters.” She said, “The first outfit that endorsed me when I ran for attorney general for-”
Kamala Harris: (15:21)
Joe Biden: (15:21)
“… the DA in San Francisco, were the carpenters.” And I said, “I remember mine well, a guy named Cal [McCullough 00:00:15:29], president of the Carpenter’s Union from New Castle, Delaware, one of the 350 year old city on the Delaware River was the first one to endorse me as well.” And so, you’ve been with me my whole career, and president Doug McCarron has been a long time friend. We’ve worked together a long time. 520,000 carpenters. That’s an incredible army to have behind you. And you are, I’m telling you. You have, my whole career, and I hope you know I’ve had years as well. There’s an old expression when I was growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It said, “You go home with them that brung you to the dance.” Well, the carpenters brought me to the dance, and you’re going home together. You’re going to have a seat at the table.
Joe Biden: (16:13)
Folks, people who shaped the skyline, who build the foundations, everything rely on, the carpenters. Labor brought me to the dance. And the only reason I’m able to run for president is because, standing here today, because of labor. I’ve never forgotten everything you’ve done for me and you’ve done for the country. I really mean it. I get in trouble for saying this, but it’s true. You’re the backbone of America. You’re the spine of America. You’re the ones who actually built the country, not Wall Street, bankers, and CEOs. You’re the ones who are going to rebuild it again. You’re going to build it back better, for real. Kamala and can’t thank you enough. And folks, I don’t know if you caught it, but the senator had a heck of a night last night. I tell you what, you got to give me a great credit for knowing how to pick them. Right? I couldn’t be prouder. She’s like a younger sister.
Joe Biden: (17:21)
I couldn’t be prouder to be running alongside such a leader with remarkable character and vision. And who always, always, always is looking out for the people, always somebody else, not her. Always. And I want to tell you something, Kamala and I are about to kick off a tour, visiting businesses in this community. Small businesses in this community and all communities are more responsible for more jobs than… In the community, local small business owners… They’re busting their necks, than the major corporations. You add it all up, for real. Small businesses create more jobs in America than the major corporate entities. And this community has found itself having to go through some really challenging times, and I need not tell the congressman that. He’s forgotten more about it than most people know.
Joe Biden: (18:16)
And like Chef Silvana. Chef Silvana owns two restaurants here in Phoenix. She had both. When they were struck by COVID, she had to close one of them down. And she’s working hard to keep the other one afloat, Barrio cafe, which we’re going to be visiting later this afternoon. But it isn’t easy. The loan Silvana was able to secure back in the spring because of the legislation passed by the Democrats in the House, helped her for a little while, but it wasn’t nearly enough. She’s scraping by week to week, trying to look out for her 10 employees, some of whom have been with her for decades. And on top of that, she’s facing, and I have permission to say this, she’s facing a terminal disease. Silvana had to cancel her own health insurance after finishing a round of treatment recently just to make ends meet. It’s devastating, and it’s heartbreaking, and it’s wrong.
Joe Biden: (19:16)
Every American should be upset about what Savannah is going through. I think you all are. I know I am. Because I know, we know, it didn’t have to happen. If they had just done what you passed, just move forward. And then, I’ll talk about it in a minute. But Silvana’s story is increasingly common story for Arizona workers and small business owners. Too many Arizonans are facing hard times right now. They’re trying their best, but it never feels like it’s enough. You’re not looking out for a handout. They’re just looking for a fair shot. Just want an even shot. That’s all they’re looking for. And that’s how my dad felt when he couldn’t find work in Scranton when coal died, he had to move on. I remember him taking us, what I call the longest walk any parent has to make up a short flight of stairs to tell their kid, “Honey, I’m sorry, but you can’t go back to St. Paul’s. You can’t go play in that little league anymore. Dad’s lost his job. There’s no job here. I’m going to have to move.”
Joe Biden: (20:17)
I remember him taking us to our grandpop’s house. Me, and my brother, and my sister, and my mom was certainly going to have another child. And we all went home. I thought about how hard it must’ve been for my dad. So many people in this town have done the same thing. Have to go to his father-in-law, the father of four boys and a girl, and say, “I have to ask you a favor.” I know how much pride it cost him. “Can you take care of them for a year? I’ll be back. I promise. I’ll come home every weekend.” It was only 159 miles, but it seemed like the end of the world. But he went down, and by the time he was able to get a good job, a job enough to get us an apartment in a place called Claymont, Delaware. Because he had been raised in Wilmington, Delaware. He ended up, then, getting a good job, a decent job, managing a car dealership. He worked hard to build a decent middle-class life. And it wasn’t easy for him. He had an expression. He’d always say, and really, I mean this sincerely… He said, “I don’t expect the government to solve my problems, but I sure in hell expect them to at least understand my problems. Just to understand them.” And America, I think, deserves a president who understands what the American people are going through, who sees who you are, what you want to be, who cares about your health, your prosperity, your dream, your American dream. You’re facing real challenges right now. And the last thing you need is a president who exacerbates them, who ignores you. And I’m going to say it. I’ve been saying for a while. It’s my perspective from Scranton. A president who looks down at us, who thinks that if you put your life on the line for the nation, you’re a loser, a sucker.
Joe Biden: (22:03)
… line for the nation, you’re a loser, a sucker. As we were talking about with Cindy, my Beau, my son Beau who just passed, not just, passed away, now it’s going on five years, it seems like yesterday, won the Bronze Star and [inaudible 00:22:16] Service Medal. He was a volunteer. [inaudible 00:22:20] but he volunteered. He had to get an exception to be able to go to Iraq for a year. And I promise you, he wasn’t a loser. He wasn’t a sucker. He, like all the veterans we met with this afternoon alongside Cindy McCain, they’re Patriots. They’re people understand that being an American is about recognizing there’s some things bigger than yourself.
Joe Biden: (22:45)
Cindy’s husband, John McCain, who I had the great privilege of him asking me to do his eulogy, we used to argue like hell. We were like two brothers. We’d fight like hell, but we always, always, always ended up together. And that’s how it used to be. It used to be that way across the board. He wasn’t a loser. They’re all heroes. And you know what? They deserve better than a president who will say anything to deflect responsibility for any mistake he makes. I don’t know whether you noticed, he recently said that, they asked him where he got the COVID, he said, “I probably got it from Blue Star parents.” They’re people who lost a child in battle. He said, “Because they like to get close to me and hug me. I don’t know how to say no.”
Joe Biden: (23:36)
Look, we’ve paid too high a price already for Donald Trump’s chaotic, divisive leadership. More than 210,000 Americans have lost their lives to this virus. We lose more every single day. Now, these 6,000 Arizonans have been lost. I mean, 6,000 gone, gone. More than 220, 000 Arizonans have been infected with COVID. 122,000 jobs in Arizona still haven’t come back. Nine times more Arizonans are on unemployment each week than before this crisis hit. But businesses like Silvanna’s restaurant are closing, schools aren’t back to normal, because Donald Trump can’t focus on what matters. When the House passed the so-called Heroes Act, that’s that second big package they passed to get people on their feet again some time ago, but the President and Mitch McConnell did nothing to move the legislation.
Joe Biden: (24:42)
A lot of cities and states are going bankrupt because they have to balance their budgets. Our founders are pretty smart. The reason they wrote the Constitution the way they did is the Congress, the Senate, the House, the government could deficit spend in order to compensate for being able to make sure we got out of the hole. Trump is spending more time, I’ve been calling on this, as you probably know for the last four months, he should get out of his bunker and out of the sand trap from his golf courses. Not a joke. I mean, think about it. He never once, I’ve been around a while, he never one single time tried to bring Democrats and Republicans together in the White House to try to get a settlement. Not once. You can’t name me a President in the lifetime of any of you that refused to deal that way in the middle of a crisis. But the leadership of Congress together to resolve the issue is something that wasn’t on his watch.
Joe Biden: (25:45)
And on Tuesday, Congressman, I’m sure you were probably not surprised by it, but on Tuesday he announced he’s walking away from negotiations to provide additional relief for working people, mom and pop businesses, schools. Just go down the line. On October 8th, exactly two months since the Emergency Small Business Program was closed, two months of small business owners in Arizona and across the country waiting and hoping for just a little bit of help to be able to stay open, more than 400,000 small businesses are permanently closed nationwide, 400,000, millions are struggling to hang on. The legislation has already been passed. It’s there. I handled what they called the Recovery Act when we inherited a great recession. I had the ability to deal with $800 billion spent in 18 months. All the outside groups pointed out less than two-tenths of 1% waste or fraud. But do you know what we did? We provided $ 148 billion to the cities and states so you didn’t have to lay off cops, firefighters, sanitation workers.
Joe Biden: (27:10)
You didn’t have to lay off nurses, close down county hospitals. You kept it open. And America got through it and began to generate the longest period of recovery in modern history. How many more have to go under? How many more dreams have to be extinguished because this President threw in the towel? Instead of focusing on your needs, he’s still trying to take away your health care. I mean, think about that. Just think about it. I’m not, but if I were a playwright, I’m writing a play, you’re in the single solitary outfit on Broadway that would take it, because it sounds like ridiculous fiction, in the middle of a pandemic, when already 10 million Americans have lost her employer based insurance because the employer went under, he’s trying to take away insurance from another 22 million people who got it for the first time in the pre-existing conditions that the Senator talked about.
Joe Biden: (28:19)
He’s in the Supreme Court right now asking you to strike down the Affordable Care Act, the entirety of it, take away Medicare benefits for seniors. People don’t realize how deep this goes, and taking us back to a time when insurers could deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition. I want you to understand this. Women’s rights, I’m not talking about the right to choose now. Women’s rights, do you realize, before we passed, Barack and I passed the law, pregnancy was considered a pre-existing condition. Not a joke. Insurance companies were allowed to charge more for a woman for the same exact medical procedure than a man would have. Same one. And look what’s happened. Minority communities were devastated. But he’s done beyond that. He’s vowed, and this isn’t even get much attention because so much chaos is going on, he vowed to “terminate the funding source for social security.” That’s the holding tax you pay for social security, six and a half percent. He wants to terminate it so it makes it look like you got more in your paycheck.
Joe Biden: (29:39)
But the actuary at the Social Security Department said, “If he does that, social security will be bankrupt by the middle of 2023. Benefits for more than a million Arizonans rely on the whole idea of a dignified retirement.” The fact is President Trump can only see the world from Park Avenue. He thinks that Wall Street built America. That’s why he let big corporations jump in on the front lines and get the recovery money that the Congress helped pass while small businesses struggled to stay open. But people don’t know because it’s so complicated, so much is happening. The Congressman can tell you. There was an Inspector General that they appointed, meaning somebody who had independent capacity to look into anything that was being done on the money being spent. I had an Inspector General overlooking the $800 billion I was responsible for. Twice every two weeks, I met with him in detail so we knew exactly where the money was going.
Joe Biden: (30:52)
What’s the first thing the President did? He fired the Inspector General. Think about that. 40% of all the money that was supposed to go to small businesses in the first time around went to the Mar-a-Lago crowd. The wealthy. I mean, if this wasn’t so true, I’d be reluctant to say it because it sounds so bizarre. This President has forgotten the people he said he’d fight for it. I’ll never forget because I see the world from where I grew up in Scranton and Claymont, a little steel town. I know that the middle class, working class built this country, and unions built the middle class. And I measure economic success on what families are talking about sitting around their kitchen tables, about having a decent job and benefits, about keeping their small business dream alive, about the conversations that took place this morning. But we need four new tires. The tires are bald on the car. We’ve got to wait. We can’t afford to get them. Can’t do it. Who’s going to tell her she can’t go back to the community college because we just can’t borrow any money anymore?
Joe Biden: (32:17)
Or you have 20 million people today, 20 million people including here in Arizona, who are worried about whether they can pay this month’s mortgage payment. 20 million. And look at all the people who are worried they’re going to be thrown out in the street because they can’t pay their rent. These guys provided for all that. But nothing. Being able to look your kids in the eye. My dad would just said, “Joey, a job’s about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about your place in the community. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, ‘Honey, it’s going to be okay,’ and mean it. And mean it.”
Joe Biden: (33:03)
It would be okay. And mean it, and mean it. Well, that’s what Kamala and I are focused on, to say to our kids, “Honey is going to be okay.” That’s what we’re talking about. We’re going to get this virus under control. We’re going to reopen safely and strongly creating good paying jobs and working to end this era of rancor and division. Because if we’re going to get anything done, we have to do it together. I’ve been saying this since I announced and people thought I was being naive. They said, “Oh, you got a lot of things done, Joe, before, but that was the past.” Well, guess what? If we can’t bring the country together, we’re dead. This is a democracy. It depends on a consensus. You’ve got to bring people together.
Joe Biden: (33:51)
It’s somewhat maybe presumptuous of me, but I made a major speech. I worked really, really hard on for a long time in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. And I did it two days ago. And I talked about, in Lincoln terms, that we have to bring America together. We can’t hold grudges. I’m running as a proud Democrat with a capital D, but I will be an American President, not a Democratic president. I’ll work as hard for those who didn’t support me… I promise you and look at my record… As those who did support me. Because the fact is that’s the job of a President. It’s a duty to care for everybody, not just who voted for you. After all we’ve been through, all America’s accomplished, all the years we’ve stood as a beacon to the world, we cannot allow ourselves to remain divided.
Joe Biden: (34:55)
We have the ultimate power in our hands. You know what that power is? That little sticker you have on, the power to vote. Really, you can still register here in Arizona to vote. Early voting has already begun. And the vast majority of Arizonan’s vote by mail. And those mail-in ballots will start arriving in the next couple of days. So Kamala and I are saying to you, the best thing you can do is return your ballot quickly. Don’t risk delays. Return that mail in ballot as soon as you can and make sure your voice is heard, because if your voice can overcome and go out and vote, your voice through your vote can overcome every one of the challenges we face.
Joe Biden: (35:46)
And by the way, you know what they’re setting up. They’re setting up the argument that these votes aren’t going to matter. You saw what happened today. The FBI arrested a group of militiamen who had a plan to go in and to kidnap the governor of Michigan. You’ll see it in the news tonight, the governor of Michigan. Remember those guys with the assault rifles standing in her driveway? And the President is saying things in my debate with him, like “To the proud boys and all white supremacists group, stand down, but stand ready.” This is serious stuff. We can’t just win by a vote.
Joe Biden: (36:38)
We’ve got to all turn out. We can be better than we’ve seen. We can be what we are at our best. If we all get out and vote. And on our best we’re the United States of America and all can decide. It’s not some prosaic thing. The fact is America’s never, never, never, never, ever failed. We’ve stood up together. We’re the only nation in the world that’s come out of every single crisis… war or economic crisis… stronger than when we went into the crisis. So folks, I’m more optimistic today about America’s chances at home and in the world than I’ve ever been.
Joe Biden: (37:27)
I’ve been around a long time. I’ve worked with a lot of Presidents. I really mean it. We have a chance. A chance not only to improve our country, but to change the world. We have the most powerful military in the history of the world, but that’s not why the rest of the world repairs to us. It’s not the example of our power. It’s been the power of our example that has the rest of the world follow us. And that example is being trashed around the world. As the Senator said last night in the debate, it’s true. 17 major countries of the world are asked what leaders did they admire the most and trust the most? The Pugh Foundation, I think. You know what they said? More people trusted Xi Jinping of China and Putin of Russia than the President of the United States. That was profound security as well as economic impact.
Joe Biden: (38:41)
So folks let’s not quit. There’s no quit in America. We have never, ever, ever, ever, ever quit. And if we need you to stand up at any time in our history, we need you now. Thank you for being here. God bless you and may God protect our troops. Thank you.
Speaker 3: (39:04)
They parked the bus inside.
Speaker 3: (39:04)
Thank you everybody.