Feb 17, 2020
Joe Biden Reno, Nevada Town Hall Campaign Transcript – February 17, 2020
Joe Biden held a town hall in Reno, Nevada to prepare for the 2020 Nevada Democratic Caucuses. Read the full transcript of his campaign event right here on Rev.com.
Joe Biden: (00:00)
… that’s a higher rate than these guys pay for their capital gains.
Joe Biden: (00:10)
Now, look, going on too much. Let me conclude and go to questions because here’s the deal, and we can do questions. By the way, I will not be offended when I stop if you all leave. I don’t mean you have to stay, but I really appreciate you coming.
Joe Biden: (00:22)
Let me end my formal remarks or informal formal remarks. On the following note: Folks, when I got elected to the United States Senate, I was 29-years old. Thank you, man. I was 29-years old. I wasn’t old enough to be sworn in as a U.S. Senator. For real. I had to wait 17 days to be constitutionally-eligible to be sworn in. I’m the first United States Senator I ever knew, Lieutenant Governor, the first one I ever knew. You think I’m joking. I’m not. I mean, I didn’t know anybody by their first name before that.
Joe Biden: (00:55)
I come from, like a lot of you do, fairly modest means. We weren’t poor, but when my dad lost work in Scranton, there was nothing there. We moved down to a little steel town called Claymont, Delaware. It took three years, but my dad finally got us a house and we lived in what is now Section Eight housing, was Section Eight housing. There wasn’t any Section Eight then. My dad was able, he got us a lovely home in a suburban neighborhood. It was three bedrooms, split-level house, four kids with a grandpop living with us. It wasn’t like I came from money, but I came from principal.
Joe Biden: (01:28)
I came from moms and dads who believed that the only important thing was that you just go out there and do your best. The quote they’d always used was, “Joey, measure of success is not whether you get knocked down, how many times you get knocked down. It’s how quickly you get up.” Just get up, get up. Well, folks …
Joe Biden: (01:54)
I really mean this. It’s time for America to get up. We are so much better. I am more optimistic about America’s chances in the 21st century than I’ve ever been in my entire life. My word. We have the most productive workers in the world. Our workers are three times as productive as workers in Asia. Fact. We’re the wealthiest nation in the history of the world and will remain that if in fact we invest in our people and not in a few and send the money overseas.
Joe Biden: (02:19)
We also are in a position where, I’ve met every major world leader, not a joke, not because I’m important because the nature of my job. I was Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee so I had that responsibility internationally and the reason why Barack picked me to be vice president was because of my background in international affairs and my ability to know how to work the United States Congress. They’re the two reasons I got picked. I’ve met every major one. I’ve never met one single leader in the world, not a joke, who wouldn’t trade places in a heartbeat with the President of United States or the problems the president has. They pale by comparison. I got criticized by some, including in this among the 800 people running for the nomination, for saying I wasn’t worried about China. I’m not worried about China if we do our job, if we invest in our people.
Joe Biden: (03:15)
China, I spent more time with Xi Jinping, the leader of China, than any world leader has, at least up to the time we left office because Barack wanted me to get to know him. I traveled 17,000 miles with him. I had 25 hours of private meals with him, with an interpreter. By the way, my interpreter handled all his notes in after the meetings.
Joe Biden: (03:36)
Yeah, kind of strange thing, huh? Transparency’s turned out to be a really rare deal. But anyway,
Joe Biden: (03:52)
He’d ask profound questions. He doesn’t have a democratic, meaning small D, democratic bone in his body, but he’s a smart guy. He’d asked me questions like, “Do you really control your military?” Not a joke, because no president of the country has ever controlled the military in China. It was controlled by the party, not the president. “What do governors do?” Because governors have no authority to move on their own in China and so on. One night we’re in a place called Chung Du, a town of almost 20 million people on the Tibetan plateau, and I have an interpreter whispering in my ear and in his. He looks at me, he says, “Can you define America for me?” “Xi, I can one word,” and I meant it, “possibilities.” We have always believed in America anything is possible. Anything. Anything. Anything. Anything. Anything is possible.
Joe Biden: (04:54)
Folks, in China, just to give one example, in China, and I don’t say this with any satisfaction, in China more people are going to die of cancer in the ’20s, from 2020 to 2030, than all the rest of the world combined. Fact. Any of you oncologist in here or docs, you can verify that, or you can Google it if you want to. The fact is that’s a fact.
Joe Biden: (05:16)
Number two, they don’t have enough water. W-A-T-E-R. Potable water, which Nevada has to be a little concerned about as well, I might add, long term. But they’re talking about spending hundreds of billions of dollars to try to change the direction of their rivers so they can get water. Whose estimate, if you take between 35 and 42% of the land, the arable land, in China is blue with cadmium. They can’t grow things. They have a million Uyghurs Muslims in concentration camps in the West. You see what’s happening, going on in Hong Kong.
Joe Biden: (05:55)
Folks, there’s not a country in the world that can compete with us. If we focus on who we are, so it’s time to get up and take back this country and move it in the direction we have to go. Thank you all very much.
Joe Biden: (06:18)
How much time do I have to take questions, I wonder?
Joe Biden: (06:22)
Okay. If you ask me easy questions, I’ll give you quick answers. No, but by the way, if they’re essays, then I’m going to give you shorter answers to get it about, we got about, they tell me the commitment with the school here, we have about another 10 to 15 minutes. But let me begin. Sir, go ahead.
Speaker 2: (07:07)
You’re smart. You’re well-educated. You’re experienced, got class and you’ve got character. None of your opponents for the Democratic nomination have all of those characteristics, all together. Okay, maybe they’ve got one or two or three. Okay, if you get the nomination in November, it’ll be Mr. Rogers versus Darth Vader. What the heck is going on with your campaign?
Joe Biden: (07:22)
Well, that’s a good question. He complimented me very highly and then said, “What the hell’s the matter with your campaign?” That’s a good question. No, it’s a legitimate question. Thank you.
Joe Biden: (07:28)
Number one, when they did all the cross-tab stuff, one of the foremost difficult states for me to win was going to be in Iowa because … and they’re good people … it’s all white, and it’s all the Midwestern Islam, and it’s a lot of farming. But we did okay, if you take a look at what happened there. I mean, it was kind of a unusual thing that I hope doesn’t happen here. No, I mean in terms of the actual running of the caucus, how it worked out.
Joe Biden: (08:10)
But number two, look, my support in the Democratic Party, and all the data’s still shows it, we’ll see, is that I am a candidate who has the broadest support from all sectors of the economy. For example, I have had historically overwhelming support from the African-American community. I mean 75% favorable ratings, support because I come out of the Civil Rights movement. If you take a look, the only presidents who’ve ever beaten an incumbent president in this century are, the Democrats, were Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. They had overwhelming support from African-American community. You can’t win, in my view, without that happening. I’m heading to South Carolina from here.
Joe Biden: (09:04)
Secondly, we’re in a situation where there is, I’ve had overwhelming support from, at the same time, working class, high school educated whites because, out of Pennsylvania. The reason I was picked to be on Barack’s ticket was the data showed that how much, how popular I was in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the states we’ve lost including Michigan and so on. I have more support in that group than anybody does.
Joe Biden: (09:34)
Thirdly, I have significant support across the board, particularly including with the burgeoning Latino community of the United States of America. In my state of Delaware, for example, [inaudible 00:09:46] don’t think about it, in the 2000 census my state of Delaware had the highest increase in Latinos of any state in the nation. We had the Spanish speaking community in my state, whereas people that the president does not even understand are Americans, Puerto Ricans. No, he really didn’t. It was just bizarre. I get significant support from minority communities, the Jewish community and other minority communities, the Muslim community.
Joe Biden: (10:20)
I think that we’re now just getting into the deal. We’re now getting into the thick of it. For example, Bill Clinton lost 12 primary before he won one and became the nominee for president. I’m not counting on waiting that long. But all kidding aside, I think that we’re just getting there. We’ve had less than 2% of the vote taken so far. Now we’re here in Nevada, and it’s going to be up to you to decide how many of us move on, here and in South Carolina.
Speaker 3: (10:49)
How many of the sociopath monster’s executive orders are you going to overturn in the first day?
Joe Biden: (11:12)
I taught constitutional law for 22 years and I am very supportive of the constitutional notion of separation of powers. A lot of people will run and stand up and say, “On the first time I’m going to do this,” and they’re going to do things that they can’t do because they constitutionally can’t do them. But I can constitutionally eliminate every executive order he’s put forward.
Joe Biden: (11:37)
No, I mean it. There is not one I can think of. Healthcare. The environment. We didn’t even talk about the environment. Look what it means up here for you all.
Joe Biden: (11:50)
By the way, I was speaking with some of the firefighters, it doesn’t matter whether you rake your leaves, You’re still going to have fires. You know what I mean?
Joe Biden: (11:57)
By the way, windmills don’t cause cancer. No, but I’m not joking.
Speaker 4: (12:02)
Joe Biden: (12:04)
Yeah, that’s exactly right. But all kidding aside, all of them, I mean, I can’t think of one that has been well intended even. Look at all of the executive orders he issues relative to the idea of an EPA, the Environment Protection Agency.
Joe Biden: (12:21)
Now what I will do, and what Barack and I did do, we significantly reduce the impediments for regulations to get moving on building things. That we can do, like we did the Tappan Zee Bridge, all of these things. You could do it without eviscerating any of the environmental laws or any of the laws relating to labor.
Speaker 5: (12:41)
I was wondering, Vice President, what you would plan to do to help the little children that are in the cages down on the [inaudible 00:12:57]
Joe Biden: (12:47)
God love you.
Speaker 5: (12:47)
I just pray for them.
Joe Biden: (13:01)
That’s not who we are. Did you hear the question? What will you do for the little kids who are on the border in the cages?
Joe Biden: (13:07)
Number one, no child, period, will be held in a cage. Period. Period. Period.
Joe Biden: (13:15)
For me, immigration is all about family. All about family reunification. Nobody will be deported who is here in fact, unless they are in a position of having committed a felony while here or they engaged in a major felony, we find out about it. We’re not going to be standing outside of mass, we’re not be standing outside of the doctor’s office, we’re not going to stand outside and arresting people. The anxiety-causing.
Joe Biden: (13:49)
Look, here’s the deal. Think about this. One of the things I’m going to do when I put together an entire plan and I’m going to do it literally the first … and they’re going to announce it in detail, if and when elected, and begin to implement it between now and the time that I get sworn in. We have now 24 out of every 100 students in school today is a Latino. 24 out of every 100. 24. We’re in a situation as well where we find that we have a population of people who have been here, over 11 million people and they’re not all Latino, there’s Asian, there are African across the board. That, in fact, I’m going to lay down a detail … already have it written … a pathway to citizenship, it’s earned, and make sure that everybody is able to get into that pathway.
Joe Biden: (14:37)
I’m going to, once again, legalize all the DACA students. These DACA students are more American than most Americans are. No, I’m serious. Think about it. You come along and you’re eight-years old and Mom says, “We’re crossing the road.” “No, Mom, leave me here. I don’t want to go. I don’t want to.” They don’t know where they’re from. They’ve never been there. They’ve been good, decent citizens and they’re great additions.
Joe Biden: (15:04)
By the way, we didn’t talk about it and I won’t go into unless you want me to later, but here’s the deal. Think about this. You know why are social security system is still solvent? Because of immigration. They didn’t cost us anything. They’re paying for it. You got it mom. That’s the reason why it’s moving.
Joe Biden: (15:23)
Look, we should look at this like we have in the past. We always have had xenophobic people in this country like Trump. It last anywhere from 2 years to 10 to 12 years, but then we overcome it quickly. We overcome it and we open it up.
Joe Biden: (15:38)
My Irish ancestors, when they’d got on a coffin ship out in the Irish Sea in 1849 in the middle of a famine, they didn’t know whether they were going to make it. They didn’t know where they were going to live. They didn’t know what was going to happen, but they got in and did it. All of you, unless you’re an African-American and your ancestors were taken over here in the bottom of a ship in changes, every one of you came because you had some reason to have to come.
Joe Biden: (16:04)
Guess what? The idea someone is sitting down in Guadalajara or somewhere in South America or in the West, I mean, excuse me, in Africa and saying, “I got a great idea, let’s sell everything we have. Let’s give it to a coyote, take it across the border, drop us in the desert by ourself, a place that doesn’t want us. Won’t that be fun? Let’s go.”
Joe Biden: (16:28)
I’m serious. That’s how we think about it, for God’s sake. We have a right to protect our borders. Every country has and must. But the bad guys, the criminals, the drug dealers, the drugs, the terrorism is coming through the legitimate ports of entry. That’s where they’re coming through. Here’s the deal, we are unwilling yet to spend the money, which is 1/20th what it costs for a wall, to put in the modern technology. For example, we have the ability, for lack of a better way of phrasing without boring you, to have X-Ray machines that sit on top of tractor trailers and can tell you everything that’s inside that tractor trailer, where the people are hiding in there, whether there’s arms arm hiding in there, whether there’s contraband, drugs or whatever. And using drones and a whole range. But we’re not doing it, because I don’t think that’s why he’s doing what he’s doing.
Joe Biden: (17:21)
He’s doing what he’s doing because he wants to scare people. He wants to turn the other into the enemy. He wants to say, “You’re being invaded, they’re going to rape your children, your daughter.” I mean, that’s what it’s all about.
Joe Biden: (17:35)
You hear what he just did on the sanctuary cities? But here’s what he’s done. He’s taken the military arm, the heavily-armed folks who are the teams you see getting out of the back of vehicles with the vests on and the guns and the rest. He’s sending them into sanctuary cities. It’s all about trying to scare you.
Joe Biden: (18:07)
How many times did you hear in the 2018 election that their coming? You see a picture of this caravan coming up. You’re about to be invaded. They’re going to take over, they’re going to, you’re going to come in and they’re going to do this, that, and the other thing. We’ve always said xenophobes like that and racists like this. We have a right to protect our border. We have a right to determine who comes through that border, but to do what we’re doing.
Joe Biden: (18:32)
The last thing I’ll say, I’m going to surge. This is the first time in American history someone seeking asylum is not allowed to seek it on American soil. My wife went across the border in Brownsville on Christmas to sign … I mean, excuse me, Thanksgiving to provide meals. It’s squalor they’re living in on the other side of Brownsville. It’s squalor. It’s unhealthy. It’s terrible. So I’m going to surge to the border. I’m going to double the number of immigration officers going, immigration judges, as well as those folks who are focusing on making the initial judgment of whether or not someone seeking asylum has a legitimate basis. If they don’t, you put them back on the plane, you taken them back to an area that’s safe when in their country.
Joe Biden: (19:22)
That’s why I did one other thing, and I’ll stop, I won’t go into it, but I’m the guy, which can’t get things done. Well, as vice president, I was able to put together a group of Republicans and Democrats to provide $750 billion to the three states in question, which were sending unaccompanied minors and say, “We’re going to change the circumstance on the grounds so they don’t want to leave in the first place.” And it started to work. I’d go into small towns and cities in El Salvador, I wouldn’t give them money, make sure the State Department would not give the money to the leaders who were corrupt. We’d say, “Well, we’ll do the lighting for you in the city. We’ll erect essentially Boys and Girls Clubs. We’ll increase the number of hospitals, will pay for nurses, et cetera.” The reason why people leave. Guess what? Immigration slowed down significantly until Trump came along and said, “I’m not going to fund that anymore.”
Joe Biden: (20:13)
Anyway, it’s a long story but it was too much [inaudible 00:20:20] Thank you all.
Speaker 6: (20:20)
Mr. Vice President? Mr. Vice President?
Joe Biden: (20:20)
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Speaker 6: (20:20)
This will be the last question.
Joe Biden: (20:29)
I appreciate it very, very much.
Speaker 6: (20:43)
Mr. Vice President?
Joe Biden: (20:43)
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Joe Biden: (20:43)
I need your help.