Aug 3, 2021
Joe Biden Speech Transcript: COVID-19 Vaccines, Says Cuomo Should Resign Following Harassment Report
President Joe Biden gave an update on the COVID vaccination program on August 3, 2021. He also said Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign following the NY attorney general’s report stating that Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women. Read the transcript of Biden’s speech remarks here.
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Speaker 1: (00:04)
[crosstalk 00:00:04]. I wasn’t sure how long we were going to be in here. [crosstalk 00:00:17]. I’ve got nerves [crosstalk 00:00:36].
Speaker 2: (00:55)
We’ll loosen you up. [crosstalk 00:00:55].
President Joe Biden: (01:11)
Good afternoon. Last week, I laid out what we need to do to beat the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenge posed by the Delta variant. This is a very different variant than what we’ve dealt with previously. It’s highly transmissible, and it’s causing a new wave of cases. It accounts for over 80% of all COVID-19 cases in United States today. Experts tell us that we’re going to see these cases rise in the weeks ahead, a largely preventable tragedy that will get worse before it gets better. What’s different about this surge from previous ones, is we have the tools to prevent this rise in cases, from shutting down our businesses, our schools, our society, as we saw what happened last year. While cases are on the rise, it’s important to note, we’ve not seen a comparable rise in hospitalizations or deaths in most areas of the country.
President Joe Biden: (02:12)
That’s because 165 million Americans are fully vaccinated, including 80% of the most vulnerable Americans, our seniors. And the best line of defense against the Delta virus is the vaccine. It’s as simple as that, period, the vaccine. I want to be crystal clear about what’s happening in the country today. We have a pandemic of the unvaccinated. I know there’s a lot of misinformation out there, so here are the facts. If you’re vaccinated, you are highly unlikely to get COVID-19. And even if you do, the chances are you won’t show any symptoms. And if you do, they’ll most likely be very mild. Vaccinated people almost never are hospitalized with COVID-19. In fact, according to one recent study, 95% of overall COVID-19 hospitalizations are among those not fully vaccinated. The data shows the first rate, all the cases, hospitalizations and death due to COVID-19 are from the unvaccinated population.
President Joe Biden: (03:22)
Last month, a study showed that over 99% of COVID-19 deaths have been among them unvaccinated people. 99%. That means that they’re unvaccinated, you are much more likely to, one, get COVID-19, two, get hospitalized, and three, die if you get it. This is a tragedy. People are dying and will die, who don’t have to die. That is absolutely clear. As I’ve said, we have a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Think of it this way. 191 million Americans have gotten at least one shot, including 70% of adults over the age of 18. 165 million Americans are fully vaccinated. But about 90 million Americans are eligible for vaccines and still haven’t gotten their first shot. I think there’s a clear link between the lowest… I know. I don’t think, actually, the lowest vaccinated states and the states with the highest case rates. This past week, the most vaccinated state in America, Vermont, has seen just five new cases, five, per day of COVID-19 for every 100,000 people who live in that state.
President Joe Biden: (04:43)
That means on any given day, only 30 people in the entire state of Vermont got COVID-19. Nearby Maine, which has vaccinated almost 80% of their adults has seen just six new cases per 100,000. But the state with the lowest vaccination rates are seeing 10 to 20 times as many new cases per 100,000 people. It’s moving like wildfire through the unvaccinated community. And it’s heartbreaking, particularly because it’s preventable. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to get more people vaccinated. And we’re seeing real results. In the past two weeks, we’ve seen a 55% increase in the average number of new people getting vaccinated every day. In the last seven days alone, nearly 3 million Americans have gotten their first shot. That’s the highest seven day total in a month. Importantly, over the past two weeks, the eight states with the highest current case rates, have seen the doubling of the number of people newly vaccinated each day. The message is getting through apparently. Louisiana has seen a 212% increase in the average number of newly vaccinated people in that state per day, going from 3,600 to over 11,000 people vaccinated per day.
President Joe Biden: (06:10)
Arkansas is up 99%. Mississippi is up 125%. Alabama is up 186%, going from 3,200 to 9,150 people vaccinated per day. This will make a big difference. These are encouraging signs. We have to continue our aggressive efforts to vaccinate the unvaccinated. Last week, I announced additional steps to incentivize Americans to get vaccinated, including calling on states to offer $100 for anyone willing to step up and get a vaccination shot. And already Minnesota and New Mexico have done that. North Carolina announced its $100 incentive today. Places that have offered 100,000… $100… That’d be really good. I’d go back and get vaccinated three times. But all kidding aside, offered $100 to get vaccination, have seen an uptick of 25% on daily vaccination rates. We also announced that small and medium sized businesses will be fully reimbursed for offering paid time off for their employees to get vaccinated and for them to take a child or a parent to get vaccinated. And I announced some tough, sometimes unpopular, steps to keep people safe and our economy strong.
President Joe Biden: (07:42)
All federal workers must report their vaccination status or be subject to strict requirements. Any federal worker who does not attest to their vaccination status or is not vaccinated will be required to mask no matter where they work. Test once to twice a week, socially distance, and generally, will not be allowed to travel for work. I directed my administration to take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors. If you want to do business with federal government, get your workers vaccinated. And I also directly the Pentagon to look at adding COVID-19 to the list of vaccinations that are required for our troops, because the others are required. I approved the Department of Veterans Affairs to require doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers who care for our veterans to be vaccinated. And the good news is that, now many are following the federal government’s lead. In the past several days, states and local officials have come out to impose similar vaccination mandates, and the private sector is stepping up as well. Even Fox has vaccination requirements. I want to thank Walmart, Google, Netflix, Disney, Tyson Foods for their recent actions-
President Joe Biden: (09:03)
… Google, Netflix, Disney, Tyson Foods for their recent actions requiring vaccinations for employees. Look, I know this isn’t easy, but I will have their backs and the backs of other private public sector leaders if they take such steps. But others have declined to step up. I find it disappointing. And worst of all, some state officials are passing laws or signing orders that forbid people from doing the right thing. As of now, several states not only banned mask mandates but also banned them in their school districts, even for young children who cannot get vaccinated. Some states have even banned businesses and universities from requiring workers and students to be masked or vaccinated, and the most extreme of those measures is like the one in Texas that say state universities or community colleges could be fined if it allows a teacher to ask her un-vaccinated to wear a mask.
President Joe Biden: (10:08)
What are we doing? COVID-19 is a national challenge. We have to come together, all of us together as a country to solve it. Make no mistake, the escalation of cases is particularly concentrated in states with low vaccination rates. Just two states, Florida and Texas account for one third to all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country. Just two states. Look, we need leadership from everyone. If some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic then they should allow businesses or universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it.
President Joe Biden: (10:55)
I say to these governors please help, but if you aren’t going to help at least get out of the way when people are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives. I’ve made it our first and top priority to have a vaccine available for every single American on the day I got elected. That was my priority, and let me be clear, we have a supply for every single American, and that will never change. At the same time, it’s also in our national interest to share some of our vaccines with the world which gets me to the second thing I want to discuss today.
President Joe Biden: (11:37)
From the beginning of my presidency I’ve been very clear-eyed that we need to attack this virus globally, not just at home, because it’s in America’s self-interest to do so. The virus knows no boundaries. You can’t build a wall high enough to keep it out. There’s no wall high enough or ocean wide enough to keep us safe from the COVID-19 in other countries. In fact, just like the original virus that caused COVID-19, the delta variant came from abroad. As long as the virus continues to raise outside the United States potentially more dangerous variants could arrive at our shores again.
President Joe Biden: (12:23)
We know that COVID-19 in other countries stifles economic growth, disrupts supply chains, risks instability and weakness of governments. As we’ve seen in the United States the key to growing economies is to vaccinate people. So, just as the American economy is recovering it’s in all of our interests to have the global economy begin to recover as well. This is about our values. We value inherent dignity of all people, the inherent dignity of everyone. In times of trouble Americans reach out to offer a helping hand. That’s who we are.
President Joe Biden: (13:06)
And I’ve said before in the fight against COVID-19 the United States is committed to be the arsenal of vaccines just as we were the arsenal of democracy during World War II, and we’re backing up that commitment. We’ve contributed more than any other nation to COVAX, the collective global efforts delivering COVID-19 vaccines across the world. We have supported manufacturing efforts abroad through our partnerships with Japan, India, Australia, known as the quad.
President Joe Biden: (13:40)
During my trip to Europe in June I announced the United States has purchased a groundbreaking 500 million doses of Pfizer and then donated them, those doses, to nearly 100 low and middle income countries who don’t have the vaccine. Those doses will start to ship at the end of this month. We also announced that we’d donate 80 million doses of our own vaccine to supply the world which has already begun, and today I have an important update. We’ve already exceeded 80 million doses, have gone out. As of today, the United States has shipped over 110 million doses of US vaccines to 65 countries that are among the hardest hit in the world.
President Joe Biden: (14:26)
Let me say it again, as of today we have shipped over 110 million doses to 65 nations. According to the United Nations this is more than the donations of all 24 countries that have donated any vaccine to other countries, including China and Russia. All those nations combined. These vaccine donations from America are free, and we’re not selling them. There are no demands, no conditions, no cords that are attached. And there’s no favoritism and no strings attached.
President Joe Biden: (15:00)
And there’s no favoritism and no strings attached. We’re doing this to save lives and to end this pandemic. That’s it. In fact, we’re donating vaccines to countries that we have relations with, and we’ll continue to give tens of millions of the doses away across the summer and work to increase US manufacturing and manufacturing of vaccines around the world as well. And it’s not just vaccines. We’re continuing to provide countries in need with more testing, protective equipment, and personnel, to stem the surge of the virus. We’ve done it in India and elsewhere.
President Joe Biden: (15:41)
Let me close with this. I’ve said before, in the race for the 21st century between democracy and autocracies we need to prove that democracies can deliver. And the democracies of the world are looking to America to lead again in two ways. First, to demonstrate we can control this virus at home, and second to show we can help address it around the world. Vaccinate America and help vaccinate the world. That’s how we’re about to beat this thing. We’re always going to have enough doses for every American who wants one. Our work in donating vaccines to the world is about America following through on our promises and delivering what we say we’ll deliver. It’s showing how American science and technology, American business and academia, and our government can all work together.
President Joe Biden: (16:38)
Above all, it’s proving democracies can deliver, and yet again that America’s back leading the world not by the example of our power but by the power of our example. We still have a lot of work to do, so if you’re un-vaccinated please, please, please get the shot, but just don’t take it from me. Just read the news, listen to the voices of the un-vaccinated patients in the hospital.
President Joe Biden: (17:07)
We’re sending the most powerful message to our families and everyone around the world. A powerful message to everybody. As they’re lying in bed, many dying from COVID-19 and they’re asking, “Doc, can I get the vaccine.” The doctor has to look in the eye and say, “No, sorry. You’re too late.” Right now, too many people are dying, or watching a loved one dying and saying, “If I just got vaccinated. If I just.”
President Joe Biden: (17:39)
Folks, this isn’t about politics. The virus doesn’t care for a Democrat or Republican. This is about life and death, life and death. I can’t say it anymore plainly than this, the vaccine saves lives, and it can save yours [inaudible 00:18:00]. I know we can do this.
President Joe Biden: (18:03)
I know we can do this. We’re the United States of America. We’re prepared like never before. We have the tools and the resources to save lives at home and around the world. This is who we are. This is what we do. This is why there’s no nation like us on earth. God bless you all and make God protect our troops. I’ll take a few questions. [crosstalk 00:18:29]
Speaker 3: (18:28)
I have a question for you on coronavirus, but first I’d like to start with the news of the day. Given back in March, you said that if the investigation confirmed the allegations against Governor Cuomo, then he should resign. So will you now call on him to resign given the investigator said the 11 women were credible?
President Joe Biden: (18:45)
I stand by that statement.
Speaker 3: (18:47)
Are you now calling on him to resign?
President Joe Biden: (18:50)
Speaker 3: (18:51)
And if he doesn’t resign, do you believe he should be impeached and removed from office?
President Joe Biden: (18:55)
Let’s take one thing at a time. I think he should resign. I understand that the state legislature may decide to impeach. I don’t know that for fact, I’ve not read all that data.
Speaker 3: (19:08)
And he’s using a photo of you embracing him in his self-defense to say that these are commonplace kind of embraces that he made in the allegations against him. Do you condone that?
President Joe Biden: (19:21)
Look, I’m not going to fly speck this. I’m sure that some embraces that were totally innocent, but apparently the attorney general decided there were things that weren’t.
Speaker 3: (19:35)
If I could ask you a question about the evictions.
President Joe Biden: (19:41)
Speaker 3: (19:41)
No. Thank you. On the evictions and the moratorium that lapsed on Saturday night, what is your strategy to prevent potentially millions of people from being evicted from their homes given what we are told your administration is considering a targeted moratorium is likely to face legal challenges?
President Joe Biden: (19:58)
Any call for moratorium based on the Supreme Court recent decision is likely to face obstacles. I’ve indicated to the CDC I’d like to look at other alternatives than the one that is in existence with the court is declared they’re not going to allow to continue. And the CDC will have something to announce to you in the next hour to two hours.
Speaker 4: (20:31)
[crosstalk 00:20:31] coronavirus vaccines, should other high income countries follow the lead of the United States and increase donations to low and middle income countries?
President Joe Biden: (20:42)
I think those countries that have been able to cover their population and have the ability to provide either dollars and or vaccine for the hundred or so poor nations that need help should do. So. We had that discussion at the G7, a number of those countries said they were going to do that. Some have followed through. The point I was making is though I’ve kept the commitment, we’ve kept the commitment that we would do what we said, which is more than all the rest of the countries combined thus far.
Speaker 5: (21:17)
Mr. President, do you believe that Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott are personally making decisions that are harming their own citizens?
President Joe Biden: (21:26)
I believe the results of their decisions are not good for their constituents. And it’s clear to me and to most of the medical experts that the decisions being made like not allowing mask mandates in school and the light are bad health policy. Bad health policy. [crosstalk 00:21:45]
Speaker 6: (21:45)
I have a question about something that you just said.
President Joe Biden: (21:50)
I’m sure you do.
Speaker 6: (21:53)
Thank you. You just said there’s no wall high enough and no ocean wide enough to protect us from the virus. So what is the thinking behind letting untested and un-vaccinated migrants cross the southern border into US cities in record numbers?
President Joe Biden: (22:11)
What we’re doing, we have not withdrawn the order that is sometimes criticized saying that un-vaccinated people should go back across the border. But unaccompanied children is a different story because that’s the most humane thing to do is to test them and to treat them and not send them back alone.
President Joe Biden: (22:39)
Speaker 7: (22:39)
Mr. President, have you spoken with Governor Cuomo today?
President Joe Biden: (22:42)
I have not.
Speaker 7: (22:42)
And then, one other question on the virus. When you said continue our aggressive efforts to get the un-vaccinated vaccinated. other countries have found a lot of success in requiring vaccines in public places, New York City just announced today that they’ll required vaccines for restaurants and gym. Do you think more cities and states should institute rules like that?
President Joe Biden: (23:03)
Speaker 7: (23:05)
Are you going to publicly call on them today to institute a vaccine passport type system or it’s up to each city and state to figure that out on their own?
President Joe Biden: (23:12)
Speaker 7: (23:12)
Do you think that they should institute vaccines passport type system or some sort of verification to use public spaces?
President Joe Biden: (23:20)
I don’t think they need to do that. I think they just need to give the authority or those restaurants or businesses to say in order to come in you have to give fruit that you’ve been vaccinated or that you can’t come in. [crosstalk 00:23:30]
Speaker 8: (23:35)
Mr. President can I ask you about the news of the day. One more on Governor Cuomo. You’re calling for him to resign now, my question is, do you think he should be prosecuted? And what is your message to the women who have now accused him of sexually harassing them and abusing them?
President Joe Biden: (23:49)
What I said was if the investigation of the attorney general concluded that the allegations are correct, that back in March, that I would recommend you resign. That’s what I’m doing today. I’ve not read the report, I don’t know the detail of it. All I know is the end result.
Speaker 8: (24:10)
[crosstalk 00:24:10] Really quickly. It’s the eviction moratorium. Can you explain a little bit more why it took so long to have a possible eviction moratorium being put into place? This expired on Saturday, I’m wondering there folks were saying it took too long for this to happen.
President Joe Biden: (24:32)
The courts made it clear that the existing moratorium was not constitutional, it wouldn’t stand. And they made that clear back in July 15th or July 18th. In the meantime, what I’ve been pushing for and calling for, because we have billions of dollars that were given to states to provide for rent and utilities for those people who can’t afford to stay in their apartment they can’t pay their rent. And so we are urging them to distribute those funds to the landlords. I believe that would take care of the vast majority of what needs to be done to keep people in their apartments now. And so that’s what we’re working on. Some states have done it and some communities have, but they have not. The money is there. We don’t have to send it out, it has been sent out to the states and counties. Billions of dollars for the express purpose of providing for back rent and rent to people who are in the middle of this crisis. And that’s there, that’s what we’re pushing now and we’ve been pushing that. That’s the immediate thing to do. Take one more question. [crosstalk 00:25:45]
Speaker 9: (25:44)
Thank you so much. There was an expectation that you would be announcing new vaccines to the world today, other than the ones you promised. Are you ready to send more vaccines to the world? There is a delegation from the White House going to Brazil tomorrow, are they bringing more vaccines? Are they announcing more vaccines to Brazil?
President Joe Biden: (26:10)
No. Are they announcing more vaccines overall?
Speaker 9: (26:14)
Overall and then to Brazil for the delegation coming to Brazil tomorrow will be bringing vaccines.
President Joe Biden: (26:20)
The answer is I don’t know whether the delegation going to physically as vaccines with them. We have provided vaccines. [crosstalk 00:26:26]-
Speaker 9: (26:25)
Are the amounts in there?
President Joe Biden: (26:30)
There’s a need for several billion doses around the world. We have committed to over a half a billion doses, and we’re trying to provide for more and provide for the capacity of countries like India to be able to produce the vaccine themselves. And we’re helping them do that. That’s what we’re doing now. And by the way, it’s free, we’re not charging anybody anything, and we’re trying to do as much as we possibly can. Thank you. [crosstalk 00:27:03]
Speaker 3: (27:07)
… is about to announce a new partial eviction moratorium, COVID related. Can you tell us any more about that? And are you sure it’s going to pass Supreme Court muster?
President Joe Biden: (27:18)
The answer is twofold. One I’ve sought out Constitutional scholars to determine what is the best possibility that would come from executive action of the CDC’s judgment, what could they do that was most likely to pass muster Constitutionally? The bulk of the Constitutional scholarship says that it’s not likely to pass Constitutional muster, number one. But there are several key scholars who think that it may and it’s worth the effort.
President Joe Biden: (27:58)
But, the present you, could not… The courts already ruled on the present eviction moratorium. So I think what you’re going to see, and I want to make it clear, I told you I would not tell the Justice Department or the Medical Experts, the scientists, what they should say or do. So I don’t want to get ahead. The CDC has to make those… I asked the CDC to go back and consider other options that may be available to them.
President Joe Biden: (28:28)
You’re going to hear from them what those other options are. I have been informed they’re about to make a judgment as to potential other options. Whether that option will pass Constitutional measure with this administration, I can’t tell you, I don’t know. There are a few scholars who say it will and others who say it’s not likely to.
President Joe Biden: (28:55)
But, at a minimum, by the time it gets litigated we’ll probably give some additional time while we’re getting that $45 billion out to people who are in fact behind in the rent and don’t have the money. That’s why it was passed, in the act that we passed in the beginning of my administration, and it went to the states.
President Joe Biden: (29:18)
We were under the impression that the states were moving this money out relatively rapidly. So for example, if I’m in an apartment, if you’re in an apartment and you’re behind on four or five months rent… And let’s say your rent is $2,000 a month, I’m just making this up out of the blue, and you’re behind you need $10,000 to catch up. Hardly anybody has that $10,000. But there’s money that the states have that can give to the landlord that $10,000, so the back-rent.
President Joe Biden: (29:52)
The future rent, at least the hope is, since they have been made whole to that point that they’d be inclined, because the economy is growing, not to throw someone out in the street. Keep that person… No guarantee… Keep that person in the apartment, keep the kids in the same school district and count on being able to have the opportunity for that person to be able, who may now be employed, to pay their rent.
President Joe Biden: (30:27)
But in the meantime, I’ve asked isn’t there any safety valve we can put in, and it’s the one I explained to you. Again, the CDC will announce that and the details of exactly how it works. I’m not telling… I told them I want them to take a look, I didn’t tell him what they had to do. And my hope is it’s going to be a new moratorium, that in some way… And I’m not going to announce it now, I’ll let them announce it… In some way covers close to 90% of the American people who are renters. And so that’s all I can tell you now. Thank you very much.
Speaker 3: (31:07)
Why not 100%? What’s the difference?
President Joe Biden: (31:09)
Because it’s a… Let them explain that to you, okay? I don’t want to get too far. Thank you.
Speaker 10: (31:14)
Mr. President, is CoVax doing enough to get shots in arms?
Speaker 11: (31:18)
Why not call Governor De Santis, Mr. President?
President Joe Biden: (31:25)
To say Happy Birthday? What.
Speaker 11: (31:26)
To deliver the message [inaudible 00:31:31].
President Joe Biden: (31:31)
He knows the message. He knows the message. We had a whole discussion when I was down there? He knows the message. He’s decided-
Speaker 12: (32:07)
What is your opinion of that discussion?
President Joe Biden: (32:07)
See you all later. [inaudible 00:32:07] Forgot my mask. Okay.