Jul 28, 2020
Joe Biden Racial Equity Plan Speech Transcript July 28
Joe Biden gave a speech on July 28 outlining his economic plan focused on racial equity. He said: “So when the chairman of the Federal Reserve provides report on the health of our economy, we’ll know if the economy is helping everybody. That’s when racial equity is not just an aspiration, but a theory of change, how to build our economic future to include everyone, include all those remarkable people out there doing extraordinary things given just half a chance”. Read the full transcript of his speech here.
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Joe Biden: (01:14)
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to Kingswood Community Center. Actually, that’s the one down I used to work as a joke. I didn’t know where you were. Anyway, it’s great to be here and back at a place where, I want to thank Wayne Jefferson for having us here at the Hicks Anderson Center. [inaudible 00:01:42] from Delaware, everybody knew who Hicks was. He was deeply involved in social justice issues and politics in the state for a long time and was really very much engaged back in the days when, after Dr. King Was assassinated and this city was in flames. And he was a good friend, a good friend. And I want to thank him for us. I used to work over the East side and I got to know Hicks very well because he did a lot of work over there as well.
Joe Biden: (02:19)
And you know, folks here at this center, as Wayne will tell you, doing God’s work. This community center gives people hope and a place to belong. I saw hope as a Senator, when, as I said, I watched my son, the Attorney General of Delaware, Beau Biden. He would attend mass at Sacred Heart, just up the street here. And then he’d walk here with his notebook in hand, pocket, sit around for the better part of the day and see if he could find ways to help and see what they may need or not need. And it was on the, as I said, the East side where I was a teenage lifeguard and my career as a public defender started. That’s why I got so involved with the community.
Joe Biden: (03:03)
And this center, as I said, is named after my buddy Hicks Anderson, he was everybody’s friend. Hicks and I went way, way back. Just walk around Wilmington and everyone, everyone has a story about Hicks. How he cared, how he always was there for you and how he built a wonderful family, including twin sons who gave back so much to this community and continue to do. They served in the United States army, and now they’re serving jointly as the Poet Laureates of the State of Delaware and Nnamdi is a state representative.
Joe Biden: (03:45)
And Hicks and his family, and everyone else at the center embodied the defining story of America. For generations, Americans who were Black, Brown, Native American, immigrant, have always been found, they pushed out, not fully included from our democracy and our economy. And it’s by pure courage, heart, and grit, they never gave up as they pursued the full promise of America. That’s the story of the people of this community and of this country. That’s why I couldn’t think of a more meaningful place to talk about my Build Back Better economic agenda. A bold, practical plan that’s going to help build a stronger and a more just and sustainable economy for everybody. Everybody, this time included.
Joe Biden: (04:40)
And it’s the story of two civil rights heroes we lost last week. One who showed us the way forward. Each of them, their separate ways. Reverend C. T. Vivian, who faced down drownings, beatings, and his comment was, “You can’t turn your back upon the idea of justice.” Enormous courage, and my friend, an American hero, Congressman John Lewis, who crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge one last time on Sunday, once said, “Freedom is not a state. It’s an act.” I went over the bridge twice, once with him and I thought I knew a lot about it. Until you walk that bridge, and some of you have done it, and you get to the crest of the bridge. The first time you can see down the other side. And I walked over with him a couple of years ago. I thought to myself, “What in God’s name did it take in terms of internal fortitude, courage to walk down there, seeing those folks with clubs and on horses, waiting at the bottom of the bridge with no way back.”
Joe Biden: (05:54)
I spoke to John just before he died. He was on his death bed and they said he could talk, he wanted to talk. Instead of answering my concerns for him, he asked about me. He asked about us. He asked that we stay focused on the work left undone to heal this nation. To remain undaunted by the public health crisis and the economic crisis, taking the blinders off in this crisis and showed the systemic racism for what it is, that plagues this nation. People have seen now, most people allowed them to shelter in place. All those folks risking their lives, stacking the shelves in the supermarkets, farming the food, getting it to our tables. All those folks, most of whom are Black and Brown.
Joe Biden: (06:49)
One thing the Senate and the President can do right away is pass the bill to restore the Voting Rights Act. Just yesterday, it was renamed in the Congress in memory of John Lewis. Back the effusive praise we heard since he passed, especially from many of our Republican friends. Back it with some action, protect that sacred right to vote that he was willing to die for. If they don’t, I’ve been saying all along, it’s one of the first things I’ll do as president if elected. We can’t let the fundamental right to vote be denied, especially in the middle, as this pandemic rages on. Nearly 150,000 dead from COVID-19 and counting. More than 4 million Americans have tested positive and counting. Black and Latinos are three times as likely to be infected and twice as likely to die from the virus as white people. More than 30 million and counting are collecting unemployment checks. Black unemployment is at 15%, Latino, 14.5. 40% of black owned businesses, 440,000 in total, have reported they had to shut down and everything is worsened by this crisis of presidential leadership.
Joe Biden: (08:24)
To change the tone over the last few days, as Trump has, doesn’t change the facts of the last four years. Donald Trump faces a real test, and he’s failed it. The basic threshold of being president, the duty to care for the entire country, not just as re-election prospects. He’s shown that he can’t beat the pandemic and keep you safe. He can’t turn the economy around and get America back to work. And he is horrifyingly and not surprisingly, intentionally stoking the flames of division and racism in this country. I said from the outset of the recent protests, that there’s no place for violence or destruction of property. Peaceful protesters should be protected and arsonists and anarchists should be prosecuted. And local law enforcement can do that. When President Obama and I were in office, we protected federal property. We were able to do it without the Department of Homeland Security turning into a private militia, and it can be done today, but that wouldn’t help trump’s political interest. He’s determined to stoke division and chaos. It’s not good for the country.
Joe Biden: (09:48)
Donald Trump doesn’t care. His campaign is failing and he’s looking for a political lifeline. This isn’t about law and order. It’s about a political strategy to revive a failing campaign. Every instinct Trump has is to add fuel to the fire. It’s the last thing, the last thing we need. We need leadership. We’ll calm the waters and lower the temperature. That’s how we restore peace in the streets. But this election is not just about voting against Donald Trump. It’s about rising through this moment of crisis. Understanding people’s struggles, and building future worthy of their courage and their ambition to overcome.
Joe Biden: (10:44)
Last month, I stopped at Bethel AME Church here in Wilmington, not far from here. I talked to a group of faith and local leaders. They shared their pain, their anger and the frustration at the state of affairs. State of affairs in our justice system, our healthcare system, our politics our economy. There’s just a sense, and it’s real, that the deck is stacked, stacked against the community. The common theme was, how do we break the cycle? In good times, communities of color still lag. In bad times, they get hit first and the hardest, and in recovery, they take the longest to bounce back. This is about justice. I proposed the criminal justice reform and policing reform agenda, and I’m committed to working with the Congress to see it through as president.
Joe Biden: (11:48)
It’s also about jobs, good paying jobs. Financial stability, building wealth for families of color and passing it down to their kids. It’s about economic growth for our country and out performing the rest of the world to stay ahead. It’s also about dignity, for working people in the middle class. Many of you heard me say it before, my dad had an expression. He 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.” He’d end by saying, “It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, honey, it’s going to be okay, and mean it.” Over 50% of the people in America don’t think it’s going to be okay for their kids, that they’ll never meet the standard of living they had.
Joe Biden: (12:49)
Over the last few weeks, I’ve laid out my Build Back Better plan based on necessities, and on the idea, we can’t just build back to what it was before, we have to build back better. This time, bring everybody along. We need to make bold, practical investments to recover from the economic mess we’re in and to rebuild the economic future our country deserves. I’ve explained how these investments would be paid for. I’ve laid it out.
Joe Biden: (13:21)
Today, I’m here to explain how the Build Back Better plan will deal with systemic racism and advance racial equity in our economy. So far, the Build Back Better plan has had three parts I’ve spoken to. First, investing in American manufacturing and technology. So the future is made in America and it includes all Americans, not just the seven cities the vast majority of venture capital has gone to. Under my plan, we will mobilize the biggest investment in rebuilding our country since World War II, creating millions of good paying union jobs. It includes a historic investment in federal procurement, which is the way government purchases goods and services. Under my proposal, we’d make sure those goods and services are American made in American supply chains, like American steel for building, and energy efficient vehicles, and battery technology and so on.
Joe Biden: (14:32)
But for too long, federal contracting for this work has been inaccessible to too many Black and Brown entrepreneurs and businesses. They too often never get a fair shot to apply. My plan makes sure the contractors and subcontractors of color get a fair shot. We’re going to triple the existing federal goal for contracting small disadvantaged businesses from 5% to a minimum of 15% by 2025. We’ll create jobs and growth along the way. We can do that.
Joe Biden: (15:10)
The second plank in Build Back Better advances racial equity by mobilizing our infrastructure and taking on climate change with jobs. Take infrastructure for example. In too many underserved communities of color, the roads are falling apart. Street lights are out. Sidewalks are cracked. School buildings outdated and unsafe. Parks aren’t safe for the kids to play in or adults to exercise in. There’s nowhere you can go to buy fresh food for miles away. Air pollution causes childhood asthma that follows them through their adult life and affects their overall health condition. Abandoned homes crush property values, and diminish the quality of life in the neighborhood.
Joe Biden: (16:03)
… property values, and diminish the quality of life in the neighborhoods, they exist.
Joe Biden: (16:06)
But not withstanding these systematic barriers, look at the energy, pride and achievement of communities of color. Just imagine if we could truly unleash their full potential. My Build Back Better plan would make sure families and these communities are the ones who benefit from the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal investment, tax payer dollars that have already have to be invested by the administration in purchasing things.
Joe Biden: (16:38)
To rebuild roads, fill those cracks in the sidewalks, instill broadband, close the digital divide, create spaces to live and work and play safely where you can drink clean water, breathe clean air, and shop at a nearby grocery store with a fresh stock of healthy food. We can’t rebuild our economy and meet this climate crisis unless we create opportunities for people to build their own communities. This is about jobs. It’s also about dignity. It’s about pride. I’m confident we can do this.
Joe Biden: (17:20)
The third plank of my Build Back Better investment is in caregivers who take care of our loved ones and our kids. We truly want to reward the work in this country. We have to ease the financial burdens of care that families are carrying. We have to elevate the compassion, benefits and dignity of caregiver workers and early childhood educators.
Joe Biden: (17:49)
Families are squeezed emotionally and financially trying to raise their kids, care for their parents and loved ones, live with a disability. My guess is that some of you have been through that; the parent who’s ill and can’t take care of themself, you have to make the choice of going to work or staying home and take care of them because the cost is so incredible. Or young child under the age of five, figuring how you pay for it.
Joe Biden: (18:18)
I was a single parent for five years with a lot of help. And I had a good salary. I was making $42,000 a year… without my family I couldn’t have done it. They need help, but often they can’t afford it. And the professional caregivers out there, the home health workers, childcare workers, who are often women, women of color and immigrants, are too often underpaid, under seen, and undervalued.
Joe Biden: (18:46)
But these are the things we can do right now to ease the burden. My plan would clear the waiting list that exists now of 800,000 people who are eligible for home and community care for a loved one through Medicaid who signed up, but are waiting; 800,000.
Joe Biden: (19:12)
My plan would make sure every three and four year old child gets access to free high quality preschool like students have at this center, while I do with title one schools. And low and middle income families won’t spend more than 7% of their income on childcare for children under the age of five.
Joe Biden: (19:35)
The most hard-pressed working families won’t have to spend a dime because it will be free. My plan would pay and support our caregivers who overwhelmingly, as I said, are women of color. This plan to help workers, especially those without college degrees, gain new skills in good paying industries like healthcare, and provides a pathway to advance their careers.
Joe Biden: (20:00)
For example, a home healthcare worker under this plan will have access to training you need to become an EMT, or a nurse, or physician’s assistant. We won’t just putting millions of Americans to work in new care and early childhood education jobs, we’ll also free up millions more to rejoin the paid workforce. Studies indicate at least 2 million additional jobs will be created; more economic growth for our nation. And the economy as a whole will grow.
Joe Biden: (20:35)
We can do this. Today I’m laying out a fourth part of my Build Back Better plan advancing racial equity across the American economy, not just part of the other pillar of Build Back Better, but this is in its own right.
Joe Biden: (20:55)
To start we create a new small business opportunity fund. It dramatically expands on the successful Obama-Biden initiative that generated more than 5 billion and $5 in private equity for every $1 in public investment in a small business, particularly in hard-pressed areas. We’re going to take $30 billion of our Made in American Investment, I announced earlier this year, and put it into this fund. We’ll allow the expanded federal support for the most effective state, local, and nonprofit programs to provide venture capital and financing for minority business owners and communities in need.
Joe Biden: (21:35)
It will also allow us to support community development banks that have a proven record of investing in minority small businesses. That 30 billion is estimated to leverage 150 billion in new financing and equity for more black and brown small businesses. So our Small Business Opportunity Fund supports and investment in a small manufacturer of color seeking to commercialize a new technology for example. That helps the manufacturer get started. Then private investors, we know, notice the promise of that business and invest their private dollars as well. That helps manufacturers scale and grow. That’s how we’ll make sure that those are the best ideas are not denied the venture capital or financing they need because of race or zip code.
Joe Biden: (22:32)
And here’s why it matters. Right now we’re in the midst of one of the greatest threats to small businesses our country has ever seen. What Donald Trump doing about it? Well, he’s given big banks the green light to loan millions of dollars that they’re covered for by the federal government, and make millions of dollars in fees by favoring their most well-off and well-connected clients while shutting the door on smaller, black and brown business without these connections.
Joe Biden: (23:02)
You all remember, some of you covered when I first laid out what I thought needed to be done in the first recovery plan put forward by the Congress, I said, we should use, the president should use the authority he has under the Defense Production Act to force big banks to have to lend to small businesses. They’re guaranteed the loan. We bailed them out before, forced them to lend, but what did they do?
Joe Biden: (23:32)
“Do you have a credit card with us? Have you established credit with us? Do you have a bank account with us? Do you…” and the list goes on. And they’re denied. The result? Billions of dollars in COVID relief programs for small businesses benefit ones who had lawyers and accountants to help them better connect to businesses, jumped to the head of the line, and the big banks accommodated.
Joe Biden: (23:55)
Black and brown small businesses that needed the help most got shut out. In fact, just 12%, 12% of black and brown businesses surveyed seeking help, got the aid they asked for. Now half of them say they’re going to have to close up shop. And they’re a major source of employment in America. Our economy can’t afford for them to close; their families can’t afford for them to close. Under my plan 50% of emergency small business relief would be reserved for the smallest businesses of 50 or fewer employers.
Joe Biden: (24:35)
Right now we’re talking 500. They are small business compared to the Fortune 500, but do you think most people think the neighborhood stores have 500 employees are small business? Right down the main streets, so many small towns around America and big towns, and see them shuttered.
Joe Biden: (24:55)
This would help minority-owned business get lifesaving loans before the well-connected businesses jumped to the head of the line. And removing the barriers for black and brown entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses is only one of many things we have to do to close the racial wealth gap in this nation.
Joe Biden: (25:14)
Expanding black and brown home ownership is another. Today american cities, there are a number, where about 75% of white Americans own their homes, only 25% are black and brown citizens, or black citizens own their homes. Even in the middle class communities of color, the same homes that exist in the white community are often valued significantly less.
Joe Biden: (25:47)
Those black residents then see their wealth accumulate much more slowly. Many of you are from families like mine, middle class families. Where do we accumulate, where did my parents accumulate any ability to borrow and generate any wealth? In their home. That’s how it got built. That’s a lot of us were about to send our kids to school, borrow against that.
Joe Biden: (26:11)
When a house is an asset that helps build equity and wealth, the home ownership disparity denies equal opportunity. My housing plan is going to be a major contributor. From a $15,000 first time home buyer tax credit, which means they know once the deal is through they will get paid the down payment, expanding affordable housing… it’s reversing Trump’s efforts to gut fair housing enforcement. He’s now trying to scare the hell out of suburbs saying these rules that Biden and the president put through are going to be, they’re causing you to end up by implication of having those black neighbors next to you. That’s supposed to scare people.
Joe Biden: (27:04)
We’ll remove the barriers to home ownership that hold back too many Americans of color from a pathway to middle class. We’re also going to have to remove another piece of systemic barrier for too many black and brown Americans. What’s holding back too many people of color from finding a good job and starting a business is a criminal record and follows them every step of the way.
Joe Biden: (27:32)
Getting caught for smoking marijuana when you’re young, surely shouldn’t deny you the rest of your life being able to have a good paying job, or a career, or a loan, or the ability to rent an apartment. But right now that criminal record is the weight that holds back too many people of color, and many whites as well. The process to seal or expunge those records can be complicated and costly in the states where the records are kept; and life of a second chance passes by.
Joe Biden: (28:09)
Now some safeguards are necessary, but some do more harm than good. And the more and more states that recognize the significant costs to their economy when people with certain non-violent criminal records can’t fully contribute to their full talents and capacity. But even when the states want to give that person a second chance and seal or expunge a certain non-violent criminal record, the record keeping systems are so outdated they don’t know how to do it. It’s paper spread across different courthouses.
Joe Biden: (28:42)
Under my plan, if a state decides it wants to implement an automated system for the sealing and expungement of certain non-violent criminal records, if the state chooses to do that, the federal government will help put together the process and allow them the money to be able to know how to organize to do that; organize their system. That’s what racial equity in our economy looks like.
Joe Biden: (29:08)
Here’s another step we’re going to take under my Build Back Better plan to fully include more people into the deal. We’re going to strengthen the Federal Reserves’ focus on racial economic equity. The Fed has a profound impact on our economy. Most people wouldn’t even think the Fed has anything to do with this. It’s existing mandate promotes maximum employment, and stable prices. Under my plan, I believe the Fed should add to that responsibility, and aggressively target persistent racial gaps in jobs, wages, and wealth, revise its hiring and employment practices and achieve greater diversity at all levels of that institution, including diverse nominees for the board of governors, and the regional federal banks.
Joe Biden: (29:59)
So when the chairman of the Federal Reserve provides report on the health of our economy, we’ll know if the economy is helping everybody. That’s when racial equity is not just an aspiration, but a theory of change, how to build our economic future to include everyone, include all those remarkable people out there doing extraordinary things given just half a chance.
Joe Biden: (30:27)
I met a couple, they’re in here somewhere. [ Markivas 00:14:32], where are you? See that young man right there? I hope I’m not embarrassing you, and his lovely wife. Markivas, who I just met backstage, his mom and dad never went to college, and he was 12 when someone handed him an old laptop computer. He took it apart, put it back together. It changed his life. At 17, he got certified to become an IT system specialist.
Joe Biden: (31:03)
He went to college, studied abroad, came back home, seeing the digital divide in his community, and he started a business getting computers to folks. He’s now 22, married with a little baby, and expecting another. And he has seven employees. His goal is to teach people how to repair and recycle computers and create a workforce development program to get them trained for good paying IT jobs.
Joe Biden: (31:33)
Pretty incredible. He’s incredible. Some of the people he helped only had eighth grade educations, never used a computer before… five weeks later they know how. Some are now earning $15 an hour for their first job, and for the first time. They’re incredible. He wants to scale up this business, and continue the reinvesting in his community. That’s pure courage-
Joe Biden: (32:03)
… in his community. That’s pure courage, heart and gut. He never gives up the pursuit of the full promise of America. That’s who we are. That’s what this election is all about. We are America. We don’t settle. We aspire and we succeed. I’ll be happy to take your questions. Let me get my list here. Okay. Jessica.
Mr. Vice President, I want to talk a little bit about your VP pick. We’re narrowing in on the timeframe that you had identified as when you would make your announcement. Are you still targeting early August? And how many of these people, how many finalists do you have? And are you going to be able to meet with them in person because of COVID?
Joe Biden: (33:00)
I’m going to try to figure out how to trick you all so I can meet with them in person. You got crews outside my house. I don’t think it mattered. What I said was that I’m going to have a choice in the first week in August, and I promise I’ll let you know when I do.
[inaudible 00:33:24] person do you think?
Joe Biden: (33:24)
What was that?
Will you be able to meet with them face to face?
Joe Biden: (33:27)
You’re going to have to wear masks.
Joe Biden: (33:31)
We would have to wear a masks.
Will you get tested do you think if you have to do that, for COVID?
Joe Biden: (33:38)
I’m not prepared to say much more.
Joe Biden: (33:41)
Thank you. All right. I’m supposed to call and people, right? Okay. Mary Bruce, ABC.
Mary Bruce: (33:49)
Vice President, this pandemic is taking a terrible toll on American lives and also the economy, but are there specific states right now that you think should hold their reopenings and roll things back? And if so, which states?
Joe Biden: (34:08)
Well, I’m not going to comment at every state, but any state where the rate is more than one to one here should be in fact rolling back. Look, from the beginning of my view, the President has given us a false choice. He said that we have to get back to work and also deal with COVID. You can’t get this country going again unless you get COVID under control. And so he has been really late in the game to getting around himself wearing a mask, for example. We waited for he, as you’ve heard it a hundred times, the Columbia Studies showing that if he’d acted just one week earlier, it would be, I think it was 37,000, wasn’t it? 31,000 more people alive. Two weeks earlier, 57,000 or whatever.
Joe Biden: (35:05)
The point is that there’s no clear message. There’s a federal responsibility to lay out really clear guidelines. It’s like opening up our schools. What’s happening now is there’s a national … We need the CDC. They had very strict guidelines they were going to do at first. They’ve watered those down in my view, what I’ve seen. Was talking to the docs that I deal with about three times a week and give me an hour and a half an hour and 50 minute brief. And so I think that what’s happening now is even in the States where it’s about freedom, freedom versus physical safety of your neighbor and communication of the virus, even in those states, they’re now locking down. And they’re locking down counties which have high returns on testing.
Joe Biden: (35:55)
The president says his answer was we’ll stop testing so we’re not going to know. Okay? We don’t know who has the virus. I think it’s really important. And here it takes me into what the next stage of this is. As you know, I know you’ve covered this a lot, I called a long time ago, meaning several months, that we should be putting together right now, and we should be providing about $25 billion to do it, to make sure that we have a detailed plan once a vaccine is in fact found, God willing sooner than later, to be able to be distributed to all America and anything beyond that. And it’s really a difficult logistical thing to do. Where is the planning to do that? We said the same thing about testing and tracing. We still don’t have enough tests. We still don’t have the capacity to trace.
Joe Biden: (36:49)
And so really, really I pray the president in fact takes advantage of a prospect of getting a vaccine just before, just after the first of the year, so we’re able to distribute it and do it in a way that deals with every part of America. But there’s been no planning that I can see.
Mary Bruce: (37:12)
And to be clear, have you been tested yet?
Joe Biden: (37:14)
No, I have not.
Mary Bruce: (37:16)
Joe Biden: (37:17)
Thank you. All right. Greg Anderson, Delaware State News.
Greg Anderson: (37:37)
You’ve had these meetings in Delaware the last three weeks. I’m just curious why Delaware, to be here, making these announcements.
Joe Biden: (37:46)
I’m home. This is my home and making this announcement in terms of whether I did this announcement in Seattle, Washington, or in New Mexico wouldn’t matter. It gets the same coverage, no matter where it is. And it was just a lot easier to be able to communicate with staff, work with staff that’s in Philadelphia and the like to get this all lined up. And what I found is operating out of home, all this stuff about hiding in the basement, well, over 340 million people have watched what we’ve done like this on television. That’s as big as the American population. So I’m learning that the way people are viewing the news and absorbing the news these days is totally different than it was before. So I find it really doesn’t make a whole lot of difference where you do it from as long as we can do it safely.
Joe Biden: (38:46)
And secondly, the reason I wanted to do this is because of Hicks Anderson. I can think of no more … If I were in Washington at the time, I’d come here for dealing with this issue because of my buddy, Hicks, and what has been done and what he was all about. It’s a Delaware thing, as you probably know.
Greg Anderson: (39:06)
Joe Biden: (39:12)
Thank you. Okay, Mike.
Thank you, sir. You just said that you believe that the president is intentionally provoking some of these violent clashes we’re seeing, particularly in Portland. But as you might know-
Joe Biden: (39:30)
Can you turn your mic down a little bit so I can hear you better?
I’m sorry. Helps to be a little taller, I suppose.
Joe Biden: (39:34)
No, no, I didn’t mean that.
You just said that you believe the president is intentionally provoking some of the violence we’ve seen in these clashes in Portland specifically. But as you might know, the president in his tweets and his campaign and the television ads they’re running is warning that if you’re president, we would see similar scenes throughout the country. I wonder how you would respond to that. And if you were president right now, what specifically would you be doing to strike the balance between the right to peaceably assemble, but mitigating the kinds of violence and the damage to public property that we’re seeing?
Joe Biden: (40:05)
I’d be using local police as we did when we were in office. When there were riots and there were federal property at stake, we were able to take care of that. We were able to take care of it by the use of, wasn’t as wide as this obviously, the use of local police. And the fact is that arsonists should be held accountable. People carrying guns shooting should be held accountable. People who engage in criminal activity should and must be held accountable and taken to trial.
Joe Biden: (40:34)
But what’s happened here is this has just caused such enormous political division. And it’s all about being able to … You say some of the ads. You see cities burning, call 911 and they have my picture in the background. If it’s a rape, dial one, if it’s anything else, it’s going to take seven days. I mean, come on. That is all about trying to come up with a bizarre law and order 2020 campaign thing, just try to scare the devil out of the American people. And what’s happened is it has …
Joe Biden: (41:10)
Look, Mike, when the president decided he had to walk across from the White House through a group of peaceful demonstrators to an Episcopal church to hold a Bible upside down, which I don’t know how often he reads, and he used the military to do that, did you ever think you’d see a chairman of the joint chiefs of staff apologizing to the nation for participating in that? Did you ever think you’d see four former chiefs of staff talk about how everything’s about dividing the country? That wasn’t about being able to walk across and hold up the Bible. That wasn’t about the church burning or being burned. It was about, as his own people said, his own commander, it was about dividing the country. [inaudible 00:10:10].
Joe Biden: (42:08)
When you have a president who, in almost the same day the state of Mississippi takes the Confederate flag off of their flag and he’s defending the Confederate flag, “It’s just a matter of heritage. And why isn’t it still being flown” or something to that effect at NASCAR and why things are down, this is about division. This is about trying to split the country. And so far, thank God, the American people aren’t having any of it. Over 70% of the people in the country thinking the protesters that … Did you ever think you’d see 77% of the people saying Black Lives Matter? Because they see what happens and they’re not buying onto this racial division. That’s what he’s done from the very beginning. As you’ve heard me say, coming down an escalator the day announcing, says “We’re going to get rid of those Mexican rapists and judges.” I mean, this is … So Mike, I don’t think you needed that, but I think we do need to hold those who violate the law accountable. You should never let what’s done in a march for equal rights overcome what the reason for the march is. And that’s what these folks are doing. And they should be arrested, found, arrested, and tried.
Sir, if I can. You finished the rollout of your economic plan. During the course of the primaries, you were critical of some of your Democratic opponents for putting forward plans that you felt were too expensive and not realistic in terms of getting past. You’re now proposing nearly $3 trillion as part of this and spending as part of this economic plan. Can you describe your evolution in terms of what you view as achievable if you’re elected and sworn in as president?
Joe Biden: (44:07)
I think there’s a big difference between saying, figuratively speaking, no one can be a millionaire, that’s a bad thing, saying that we are going to provide a medical plan that costs $30 trillion or $32 trillion, and being able to think you can get it passed and being able to pass, in this environment, legislation that the circumstances have demonstrated is needed to solve real problems. For example, the idea that we can continue to be in a circumstance where we reward companies for government contractors who are going overseas to make their products, that we can continue to provide tax breaks for that effort. When we find we come up short with everything from reagents or nasal swabs to not being able to provide for the kinds of steel we need to do certain things in American ships and the like is totally different than that.
Joe Biden: (45:18)
What we’re talking about is using federal dollars that have already been appropriated to focus them on building things that make us and increase our independence so we don’t have to rely on anyone else for whether it’s cyber security and cyber information or whether or not it is steel to make the banisters on our destroyers. We in fact should be able to do that, those things that are necessary and we have the capacity to do at home, do them at home. It’s not industrial planning. It’s the things that only the United States government can do.
Joe Biden: (46:04)
For example, the same thing with regards to my whole plan relative to the environment. We in fact can, are the only outfit … Companies aren’t going to come along and go spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure, rebuild highways, bridges that are causing people to die when they collapse and they’re still unsafe, making sure ports are accessible and ships can get in and out and unload their cargo. The government does that.
Joe Biden: (46:32)
And when the government does that, the government should be in fact insisting that, using that taxpayer dollars, we are buying the product from an American manufacturer made in America. Employing American workers, getting a decent wage. And that’s not industrial policy, it’s the things the government does anyway. It’s like you’ve heard me say before, the President of the United States, when I’m president, I’m going to inherit the largest auto and truck fleet in the world owned by the taxpayers. Well, what do you think we should do? What I think we should be doing is making sure we end up owning the electrical vehicle market. So what I’m going to do is move to make sure all those vehicles become carbon neutral, building 550,000 charging stations up and down federally built highways and controlled highways, generating the kind of growth, union wages that can provide good jobs for people and bring everybody along.
Joe Biden: (47:37)
So it is very different than saying we’re going to go out and find another $38 trillion and get that passed in a Congress where you didn’t have the support to get it. I predict you’ll find that I get significant support, particularly if I think is going to happen. I think we’re going to take back the United States Senate. And again, we’re just spending the dollars that are already appropriated-
Joe Biden: (48:03)
And again, we’re just spending the dollars that are already appropriated in many cases and how we spend them.
Speaker 1: (48:06)
Thank you, sir.
Joe Biden: (48:11)
Okay. Ed O’Keeffe, CBS.
Ed O’Keefe: (48:20)
Thank you, sir. I’ll take this off. You alluded to this in your remarks and I bring it up because polling is bearing this out a little bit, but are you running against president Trump or for president and for Joe Biden? In other words, you alluded to this, but a lot of voters seem to think or are saying that their support hinges on the fact that you’re not the president. So why perhaps should they be voting for you and not just against the president?
Joe Biden: (48:51)
That’s why I’m laying out these detailed plans. Look, I’m running because Trump is the president. And I think our democracy is at stake for real. And what seems to be the case is many Americans, those who don’t like me and those who do, view me as the antithesis of Trump. And I believe that I am. And when I announced, I said I was running because I thought it was essential to restore basic decency, the soul of America. But I really meant it.
Joe Biden: (49:37)
Remember I got criticized early on for saying that. Now everybody’s talking about the soul of America, decency, honor, respect. The second reason I said I was running is because even back when people were talking about how well the economy was moving, I thought the middle class was still getting crushed and working class folks were hurting badly. All this talk about how happy they were. I didn’t see any numbers showing they were so happy because people were getting paid badly. Corporate america was overreaching in terms of who they felt they had an obligation to deal with at all.
Joe Biden: (50:16)
And thirdly, the thing I got most criticized for and understandably, was I said, “We have to unite America.” And they said, “Well, that’s just a pipe dream. You used to be able to do that, Joe, but everything’s changed.” Well, if we can’t unite America, we’re gone. We’re dead. Democracy is dead. It requires consensus. That’s not hyperbole. It requires consensus. And that’s why I used to be sometimes critical when people [inaudible 00:50:44] they say, “I’m going to by executive order due to the following.” Well, that’s Trump. He doesn’t have the authority to do half of what he’s doing by executive order. That is not democracy.
Joe Biden: (50:56)
And so what I hope the good news, I think is the bad news based on all the million polls have been done by your network and everybody else, is the good news is the bad news. People know me, they know me warts and all. And the reason why I’m running is because I think I have two qualities at this moment, that aren’t always the most relevant qualities needed in the president. It changes, every election is different.
Joe Biden: (51:29)
One is that I know a fair amount about American foreign policy. And I have relations all over the world and those who don’t like me, respect me. And those that do like me, respect me. I know how to get things done internationally. It doesn’t mean I can solve the problem, but I understand the national security and intelligence issues. That’s what I’ve done my whole life.
Joe Biden: (51:53)
Trump has no notion of it. None. Thank of how he talks about Putin. My God. And he talks to him privately and says he’s not going to tell you whether he raised the fact that Putin’s paying the Taliban, number one. Number two, I have been relatively good at bringing people together in the United States Congress and politically. It’s going to be a lot harder. Things have changed, a lot harder. But depending on the outcome of the election, in terms of the Senate, how its race is, it could become very much within reach because I’ll say it again, I’ve never crushed any other’s motive. I’ve never lied to a political opponent, misled them. Even when I was in the Senate and I’d say, “I need your vote in this, but I got to tell you, you vote for it, this party or constituent is going to be mad at you.
Joe Biden: (52:49)
I’ve never misled anybody. I don’t expect anybody to voluntarily agree to be in the second edition of Profiles of Courage. I try to recognize the limits of where they can go and still find a principle compromise. And so they are the two things that I think we very bad badly need now. And lastly, I think that not withstanding the fact, I think I have laid out the most detailed plans on the economy and on issues related to healthcare and the rest of any president in modern history. I mean, it’s awful detailed.
Joe Biden: (53:28)
If I’m elected and this passes, I’m going to be good to go down as the most progressive presidents in America industry. But none of the things I’m talking about are inconsistent with a free market, not inconsistent with capitalism, but they require certain safeguards. Just like that whole thing, it took a capitalist to save capitalism. Well, I think there’s a lot that we can get done and will get done.
Joe Biden: (54:00)
And that’s why last thing I’ll say, remember I was criticized by saying, I’m going to campaign in states for senators and house members where states that I’m not likely to be able to win because what everything shows and you know this inside out and backwards, all of you do, that when the national party doesn’t invest in areas where there is a tight race, it hurts the local officials up and down the list. And so this is, we got to build a bench here and that’s what this is about as well. So I’m hoping that people will take a look at what I’ve done, what I’m proposing, why it’s in their interest, that they move in the direction I’m suggesting. And I think that is what we’re seeing some response to.
Ed O’Keefe: (54:51)
I have a quick COVID question in this regard, the Florida Marlins today announced they had to suspend their season. You curious, because I know you get briefings on how COVID should be dealt with and how society should be comporting itself in the midst of all this, what do you make of how sports leagues are starting to play again? And frankly, for that matter, what do you make of how schools are considering all this? The President is considering or has said he would withhold federal funding from states or school districts that don’t reopen. I mean, you must have thoughts on all this.
Joe Biden: (55:27)
I do. In the interest of time, I’ve laid out, we’ll get you a copy of my school reopening plan, what I think is required in order to do that. There’s some circumstances you can do that, but you have to make significant investments to do that, in order to provide for protective gear, in order to provide for social distancing, in order to have testing and tracing and all those things. It’s possible, but it’s a significant investment. And it requires the certainty that teachers, as well as students, are going to be protected. And where you’re in a high intensity area, where there’s a lot of COVID, it is not a good idea. Evidence, the fact that, rhetorical question, I’m not expecting you to answer it. Do you think the president all of a sudden decided not to go to Tallahassee because he no longer, he thought it was the interest of the public? I mean Jacksonville, Florida. I’m thinking of the capitol. If you go to Florida, it’s in Jacksonville.
Joe Biden: (56:27)
Well, because even the Republicans down there said, “We don’t want you doing this. We don’t want you to doing this.” It’s a mistake. And so I think that there are guidelines that have to be made much more specific by the CDC. They should let the scientists speak. Let the scientists speak. I’m happy the president is back holding his conferences on COVID every day. I don’t know what the hell he’s adding to it, except it’s good he’s wearing a mask and saying the right things, mostly.
Joe Biden: (57:08)
But this is about science. This is about science. This is about expertise. This is about transparency. And we’ve got to make it available to the American people because what everybody is finding out, and I’ll end with this Ed, is that the circumstance is such that even when the businesses opened, people aren’t showing up because they don’t think it’s safe in [inaudible 00:57:41]
Joe Biden: (57:40)
And so there ought to be a system whereby and which I proposed, is that you can lay out the details of what you’re doing in your business and be able to put a sign out that says it’s safe, I’ve met all the standards. But the idea that we’re just going to say open up and people are going to show up. They’re not. They’re not.
Ed O’Keefe: (58:05)
Should there be sports right now though? Should major league baseball go on, the NFL too?
Joe Biden: (58:09)
Well, it seem to me, that it’s probably not going to be what happened based on what the leagues themselves are saying. I mean, you have the Marlins saying, “We can’t do it,” so many people. So I think they should just follow the science. The one thing that seems to work a little bit, I don’t know, is basketball, where no one’s traveling. They’re all sequestered in one place. It’s like, look, all of you have families, moms, dads, et cetera. If they come from another state, you go from wherever you are to their state, well you should be quarantining before you go see them, up to 12 days. Think about it.
Joe Biden: (58:56)
The United States of America, you can’t travel to a whole hell of a lot of European countries. You can’t get in a plane and go there. Don’t come. You’re a danger to us. It’s because we’re not following the science. And there’s very little transparency on what’s going on. But I have confidence at the end of the day … When you have a lot of football players turning down eight, 10 million bucks a year and say, “I’m not going to take the risk of playing,” You got to listen, you got to listen. So I’m not going to apply it on every sport. But it seems to me that when you have to travel, when you have to be in hotel rooms or places that are different than you’ve been the day before, when you are in a position where you’re going into an area where there is a high concentration of the spread of COVID, all those things add up to a real problem. And we’re not going to really overcome that until we follow science and get a vaccine.
Joe Biden: (01:00:04)
But I want to say it again, I’m going to keep saying it. The president, as we speak, should be starting and should have started three months ago to put someone in charge of how specifically, like waging a war. How are you going to distribute the vaccine when it arrives, when it arrives, when it’s there? And the question of whether it’s real, when it’s there, that requires enormous transparency. You got to make all of it available to other experts across the nation, so they can look and see. So there’s consensus, this is a safe vaccine. Because already you have, what percent is American people saying if the vaccine were there tomorrow, they wouldn’t take it? And it’s not the usual anti-vaccine crowd it’s beyond that because people are losing faith in what the president says. Think about it.
Joe Biden: (01:01:05)
The words of a president matter significantly. They can, as I said before, take us to war. They can bring peace. They can rise up and cause the market to rise, they can do good things, but people listen to what a president says. And if a president repeatedly says things to you that are not true and then comes the time when they say I have something that I think can cure you, but it could really hurt you. You’re not going to listen to the guy who’s been lying you along the way. Anyway, thank you so much. Appreciate the time and I’m getting out of your hair. Thank you.