Jul 3, 2020
Joe Biden Speech Transcript to the National Education Association July 3
On July 3, Joe Biden gave a video address to the National Education Association. Biden said he will have a “teacher-oriented Department of Education.” Read his full speech transcript here.
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Joe Biden: (17:46)
Thank you, Lily. Thank you. Good afternoon everyone. As Lily already indicated, I’m Jill Biden’s husband, Joe Biden. And Lily, thanks for bringing us together and for the energy and leadership you’ve brought this indispensable organization. You’ve heard me say before, Lily, you head up a union and an organization that holds the future of the country in your hands. And what happens to our children is going to determine exactly what happens to this nation. These aren’t someone else’s children, they’re our children. They’re the kite strings that lift our national ambitions aloft. And you have them in your hands. And your members are lucky to have you. And I’m absolutely certain of that because I happened to be, as I said, married to one of your members. Jill and I are truly honored to have your support. And I mean, that from bottom of my heart.
Joe Biden: (18:39)
I can’t wait for the departure of Donald Trump and the chance to replace Betsy DeVos and the opportunity for us to make a whole lot of progress together. Because I’m confident, I’m absolutely confident we can. And I want to assure you tonight, this is going to be a teacher oriented department of education, and it’s not going to come from the top down. It’s coming from the teachers up. I know that there are a number of issues on everybody’s mind, but an immediate challenge is the continued spread of the coronavirus and what it means in the upcoming school year.
Joe Biden: (19:16)
Look, we saw this challenge coming. I’ve calling for the president to address this for months, since late January. Donald Trump failed to take any action on testing, contact tracing, creating responsible standards, everything we needed to do to get the pandemic under control and to get educators and students back in the classroom. And you understood what was needed. Frankly, we’ve always understood. Back in 2009, when I was overseeing the implementation of a recovery act in the face of the worst financial crisis in American history short of the depression, we knew we had to stand up for educators. It was almost a $84 billion program that had to get out there within the matter of 16, I guess, probably 18 months and it had less waste and fraud than any program of that size ever, less than two tenths of 1%.
Joe Biden: (20:15)
But here’s what it did. It allocated $60 billion to local school districts. $60 billion which saved 400,000 education jobs. We knew it had to be done in the face of the crisis. And the federal government also understood that every state requires to balance their budget. Localities have to balance their budget. There’s a reason why the federal government couldn’t be able to deal with crises like this. But this time around, when the pandemic struck, Trump tried to provide support failed when he said we got to support educators. Trump to failed to do it. Trump and local government, the state and local governments are facing huge shortfalls.
Joe Biden: (20:59)
Speaker Pelosi, a real leader, and the house of representatives, did their job. They passed a thing called the HEROES Act, $950 billion for state and local governments. Trump and the Senate Republican refused to do the job. This isn’t a math exercise. This is about people. So I’m making sure educators salary don’t get cut and educators don’t get fired. And we could have kept every educator employed, but instead, we lost more than 900, 000 state and local education jobs since the pandemic started due to budget cutting. This is absolutely unacceptable. We’re already short the number of teachers we need nationally, before this crisis hit.
Joe Biden: (21:45)
Last month, I put out a plan to reopen safely and sustainably, including for our public schools. I require steps like one, ensuring that schools have funding for physical alterations, like plexiglass to maximize social distancing, all of the things that every scientist has told us we need to do. And we need the federal government to give schools and states and local governments clear guidance. Finally, we need to prevent any further exacerbating inequities in our education system by ensuring that every student, every American student has access to broadband and other technology, so they can participate in remote learning.
Joe Biden: (22:24)
There’s probably a higher probability that we’ll need to continue to rely on more remote learning in parts in the country for a while longer. And we’ve seen, and all of you know, the gap in students’ access to technology can cost kids up to a full year or more of learning. We need to get this done now. We’ve been arguing it for a while. It’s only just a start now. Because once we get ahead of this pandemic, we’re going to have an unprecedented opportunity to make progress and we need to ensure that you and your students get treated with dignity that you deserve. My education plan starts with tripling the funding for a Title I school. One of the first things that districts must do with their funding is ensure hire… in order to get this money they have to ensure higher salaries for educators. That funding will also eliminate the $23 billion annual gap between majority white and non white districts. It’s one of the single best instruments and investments that we can make to address systemic inequality. In addition to getting the raises you deserve, we’re going to get you the resources you need. We’re going to double the number of school psychologists and counselors and nurses and social workers at school. Mental health is an enormous issue and the need has only been exacerbated by this pandemic on both educators as well as students. There’s a whole lot more in my plan.
Joe Biden: (23:53)
We’re going to fix universal pre-K for all three and [inaudible 00:23:56] years old. We’re going to find it for everybody. Help educators wipe out the burden of their own student debt. But there is a bottom line here. When we win this election, we’re going to get the support you need and the respect you deserve. You don’t just have a partner in the White House, you’ll have an NEA member in the White House. And if I’m not listening, I’m going to be sleeping alone in the Lincoln bedroom. We’re absolutely totally committed to make so much more progress [inaudible 00:08:27]. There’s so much to talk about. I know you have questions. I wish I could talk longer about how passionate I feel about some of these things. But [inaudible 00:24:36] as my mother would say, hush up and I’d be happy to take some of your questions.
Lily Eskelsen: (24:40)
Well, we really appreciate you being here. It’s an honor to have you here, Vice President Biden.
Joe Biden: (24:45)
You betcha. You’re the best.
Lily Eskelsen: (24:48)
Aren’t I though?
Joe Biden: (24:51)
Yeah, you really are.
Lily Eskelsen: (24:51)
People don’t get me.
Joe Biden: (24:51)
You really are.
Lily Eskelsen: (24:52)
Thank you so much. yeah, I know. I know. I wasn’t arguing with you. Okay. You know that you have received our support in the primary, that is almost over. And that part of our process now is for you to make your case to the 8,000, almost 8,000 delegates, that are watching you right now. And one of the things that you asked is to listen to some of the questions from our members who asked them. I really appreciate you wanting that. I could sit here and I could read them to you, but we took you up on that. We found some delegates who had asked some of the most frequently asked questions that came to us. We said, go up. What do you want to hear from Joe Biden?
Lily Eskelsen: (25:45)
And so we’re going to do that because we had NEA members throughout the country who had the opportunity to submit those questions online and of the thousands, these are the delegates that were selected. So let’s go now to Turquoise Parker in Durham, North Carolina. Turquoise is a K-5 media specialist. Turquoise, you may now ask your question to Vice President Biden, Turquoise.
Turquoise LeJeune Parker: (26:19)
Hello President Lilly and Vice President Biden. My name is Turquoise LeJeune Parker. My Durham public schools title is media coordinator. My self given title is racial and social justice teacher. And this coming school year will be my 10th year teaching.
Turquoise LeJeune Parker: (26:35)
Vice President Biden, Black Lives Matter period. And we should have had the folks who killed Breonna Taylor arrested and charged long ago. But the Eurocentric curriculum that we are expected to teach affirms and furthers the aforementioned. I call my students Mrs. Parker’s professors, not students because I believe in their intelligence and their strength and their beauty and I need them to believe in themselves because our world does not make them feel that way. Abolitionist teaching is our duty. It’s my duty to structure a curriculum that talks through all kinds of complex issues, such as police brutality, how to fight it while staying safe, how to organize and how they can come to terms with the possibility that they might be the next victim of white supremacy at absolutely no fault of their own.
Turquoise LeJeune Parker: (27:27)
Teaching in the resistance is incredibly hard work, but we have to do it because we need our kids to know that they are absolutely a part of this movement to smash white supremacy. So Vice President Biden, here’s my question for you. You talk a lot about fighting for the soul of this nation, but how will you work with others to change the system that has benefited corrupt souls from day one?
Joe Biden: (27:55)
What I’ve been doing my whole career. That’s how I got involved. Look, this has to be a wake up call for the country and to take action. It’s past time to [inaudible 00:28:03] of racism and our growing economic inequities. We just need to do it. But [inaudible 00:28:09] nations promised with so many people. It starts off, as you know better than I do, because I spent a lot of time working with young people, but I never taught young people. The first thing is to treat them with respect, treat them with dignity, tell them about holding their heads high, reminding them that everybody gets knocked out, but you got to get up, reminding them that they can do anything at all, anything at all, if they set their mind to it. And that you and I and others are fighting for them. I’m going to fight every day for the changes that I’ve referenced. But I’m also going to listen.
Joe Biden: (28:49)
I laid out the initial [inaudible 00:28:52] leadership I think I need to take on a real police reform, hold all cops to higher standards that so many don’t now. One of the things you find [inaudible 00:29:05] young students you may have in that circumstance, but you find they have a mom or dad unfairly, or maybe even fairly, but incarcerated. And when they get out of school, what happens? When they get out of prison, what happens? They’re treated as if they’re still in prison. We have to revive, we have to treat the criminal justice system like rehabilitation. Not like it is punishment. No one should go to jail, for example, for the use of a drug. They should go to medic or rehab. No more prisons be built. Build rehab facilities. We have to invest in our criminal justice, focus on ending cash bail, converting drug offenders to rehabilitating, investing much more in their reentry.
Joe Biden: (29:48)
What we need to do more than just reform the police department if it’s going to address the inequities in our society. We have to root out systemic racism in our economy, our education, and our healthcare. And I’m going to fight to end the deadly health inequities that exist in COVID-19 amplified by worry, expanding Obamacare. So they don’t see your parents family that you got I can’t go for a test because we can’t afford it, or I’m really feeling sick, but I’m afraid if I go I’m go it’s going to [inaudible 00:30:17].
Joe Biden: (30:18)
The fastest path to universal care is to expand Obamacare, which I won’t go into now, but I have a detailed way to do it and get it done. I’m going to double the funding for community health centers. On the violent front lines, make all coronavirus testing and treatment and vaccine for anyone free. And if I could give every child [inaudible 00:00:30:38]. I really want to know, because at all the great university over the last 10 years, we’ve come up with some really startling new insights. You had about 40% of a child’s brain is developed by the time they’re three, up to 60%. Providing universal pre-K for three to four years old increasing over 58%, the chance of them doing well all the way through school. Tripling Title I funding to close that gap between the rich and the poor, making public college free for every family earning less than $125,000 a year.
Joe Biden: (31:17)
I propose making sure we get $75 billion to HBCUs, which I’ve been deeply involved with my whole career, because they don’t have the kind of backup funding to provide for the laboratories and all the other things that are needed to compete for government contracts. That will do everything for all industry in the future. We’re going to lead a just and national recovery providing stimulus funding for small businesses. You all know better than I do, but I know pretty darn well, that community, particularly a poor community, Latino or black community, thrives or doesn’t thrive whether or not they have amidst around them small businesses. They have the local hardware store, the local drug store, the local supermarket…
Joe Biden: (32:02)
The local drug store, the local supermarket. But what’s happening now is under this unfair recovery that Trump is running, they’re not doing what they have wanted to do. Provide small business money for those with 10 or fewer businesses, so that they can stay open. They’re not getting the loans. They should be getting them and rebuilding strong, inclusive communities. And that generates growth, that generates self awareness, it generates community.
Joe Biden: (32:34)
These are big things. But if ever there was a time for big change, it’s now. We have to make this at least an era of action to reverse systemic racism, is long overdue with concrete change but it’s coming. We can do it because once things happen we reach, and I guess I’m sounding like a history professor, or the law professor that I was for a while. And that is that there are inflection points in American history, or something happens and big changes occur.
Joe Biden: (33:06)
What’s happened now with this COVID virus, and so many people affected by it, and so many people unnecessarily died because of it, all of a sudden people are realizing, oh my God, who’s been carrying us on their back? Essential worker. Who are the essential workers? Overwhelmingly people of color, black, Latino, Asian American. And they’re getting paid five, six, seven bucks an hour. Those are the ones that are making sure that shelf is stocked in the grocery store, and I’m able to come by and pick up my groceries, outside. They’re the ones that are not able to stay home because they have no choice. They be carrying us on their back. I think the public is ready. It’s like they had their blinders taken off like, oh my God, this really happens? It’s really this way.
Joe Biden: (34:03)
I spent time with the Floyd family at George Floyd’s funeral. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. Mama. Mama. What happened was the whole world saw it. They just didn’t hear it. They saw it. They saw it. They saw his face smashed up against that curb. They saw him hold him there for a total of eight minutes and 46 seconds. They saw it. They said, “Oh my God.” We’re going to change this. We’re going to change it in a big way.
Joe Biden: (34:49)
Last thing I’ll say. As a kid, I used to stutter a lot. I’m not making it comparable to someone who is a young African American who has not been treated well, or has been a victim of systemic racism. But I tell you one thing don’t do. Don’t ever talk down on these kids. And they tell me, I talk to them, they finish my sentence for me. I’m smart, don’t finish my sentence. These kids are capable of doing anything anybody else can do. Let’s not dumb it down. They’re incredibly capable. That’s fine. With title one funding money, I want to make sure that in those schools, they have these placement courses as well. My mother used to having an expression, children tend to turn out to be what you expect of them. Let’s show them the love and respect, and then the support. You’ve got to give their parents more economic power. [inaudible 00:35:53] a lot more of centrist pride. I’m emotional about it. We can do this. We are at one of those inflection points. Thank you for what you do.
Lily Eskelsen: (36:03)
Thank you Turquoise for that important question. We got that question from a lot of delegates and thank you for representing the importance of lifting that up. And thank you, Vice President Biden. Our next question comes from one of our education support professionals in Michigan. Vice President Biden, you know that we are teachers, we are support professionals, we are college staff and faculty. And so this is one of what we call ESPs, Education Support Professionals. She has firsthand experience dealing with our very unqualified Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. I would like to introduce you to Paula McConnell, who is a paraprofessional in the Utica school district. Paula, you now have the ear of the Vice President. What would you like to ask?
Thank you, president Lilly. Good afternoon, Vice President Biden.
Joe Biden: (37:12)
My name is Paula McConnell. I am from McComb County in the great lake state of Michigan. I have been a para-educator for over 30 years in Utica community schools. In the midst of this pandemic, as educators, have some concerns. We have President Trump disregarding the advice of health experts and pushing for the immediate opening of schools. And then highly unqualified Betsy DeVos either has nothing to say or is giving already scarce public school dollars to private education, which puts the jobs of dedicated educators everywhere at risk. Vice President Biden, I’d like to know what you have to say to educators and parents that are so desperate for leadership on these issues, but find none with the present administration?
Joe Biden: (38:17)
To paraphrase Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in the great depression. He said the American people can handle bad news, but you have to give it to them straight. That has never been more important than it is now. Americans haven’t been getting it straight from this president. They’ve made tremendous sacrifices over the past few months to buy this government time to get his act together to beat this virus. But Donald Trump squandered that sacrifice and it’s all about him. Think about it. He thinks the presidency is about him, and it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with him. It’s about you. It’s about the American people. First of all, it’d be nice to have a president who’d tell the truth occasionally. We’ll do the work, but who’s going to lead? We need a plan.
Joe Biden: (39:12)
I’ve outlined the key steps for beating this crisis and reopening safely, including by helping childcare and schools reopen. Parents have to be able to trust their kids are safe when they’re able to go back to work, when that occurs. It’s one of the most important steps to reopening the entire economy. Educators make tremendous sacrifices, some show much creativity. We’ve done the hard work to make the abrupt shift to online learning, with overwhelming difficulty. Demands that students don’t really have the equipment. Not the educators fault because they come from poor families. And because many places don’t have high speed broadband. But the longer schools are closed, the classes are remote, the more students, especially low income students and students of color, fall behind.
Joe Biden: (39:59)
I’d mobilize the federal government to take this place to step one. Provide for schools to reopen. Make sure states and districts have the funding to keep educators on the job in the midst of this crisis. Boost federal funding to cover the cost of the PPE, extra cleaning, new technologies, redesigned classrooms, all the things schools are going to need to do to be able to open and open with normality. Scale research in how COVID affects children to help understand how the virus affects children and create evidence based guidance. Build a safer school best practice clearing house. Tell school and school board that children and childcare providers all across the country and around the world to share information approaches and tools for reopening.
Joe Biden: (40:48)
I’m going to work with educators, childcare providers, unions, communities, and families on how to reopen safely. The bottom line is we are not 50 different nations in the United States, and territories beyond that territories. We are one nation, one nation, and we act and it can simply mess with your thought pattern. And the way the president tries to turn this all into some kind of racial contest about me. It’s immoral. We have to have a clear message based on science, based on what the experts tell us. And based on the circumstances that we allow. And make sure we get the input from the people who are in the field, in the classroom, in the buildings, dealing with the problem. But look, even when it gets to the point where we figured out how to test and trace, which doesn’t exist very much in the country. How about a president who says stop the testing, it’s showing too many people have it. Stop the testing? You’re doing too much of it? Sorry, I think he said slow it down.
Joe Biden: (42:07)
What in God’s, this is not about him and his reelection. This is about the safety and security of our people. And parents, including teachers, are not going to be able to go back to work until they’re sure their children from one oh, to three to four years old are able to be taken care of safely. And so there’s so much forgotten but we can do it. We can do it. The public is ready to pay for it, and it will increase productivity in this country, it will increase the learning, it will increase salaries, and increase the benefits to the whole country.
Lily Eskelsen: (42:48)
Thank you so much. Thank you, Paula. And thank you, Vice President Biden. We have one more question for you. Our final educator comes from Enola, Pennsylvania, just outside of Harrisburg.
Joe Biden: (43:03)
I know it.
Lily Eskelsen: (43:03)
Jimbo Lamb is… Yeah, we picked Pennsylvania just for you and not because our Vice President, Becky [Pringle 00:43:11] here, standing over here making noise. All right, settle down. Settle down. Settle down. Good grief. Yes. Becky Pringle, who you will, I know you know, Becky. But she is from Pennsylvania, lived in Harrisburg for a long, long time. Jimbo Lamb, apparently your good friend, I did not know that, is a high school math teacher. Jimbo, you are on with Vice President Biden. What is your question?
Jimbo Lamb: (43:43)
Thank you madam president, and hello and Vice President Biden.
Joe Biden: (43:46)
Jimbo Lamb: (43:48)
My name is Jimbo lamb and I’ve been a high school math teacher in the Annville-Cleona school district in the Southern region of the Pennsylvania education association for 17 years. I appreciate you providing time for me to ask this question, and for listening to educators. Today, we’re more divided than we have been at any time in my lifetime, whether it is about racial justice, wearing masks, or simply left versus right. And educators, we teach our students to be respectful kind, and to work with others, but our leaders fail to model this behavior. So here’s my question. As president, what will you do to hear the voices of all Americans, not just those that support your agenda?
Joe Biden: (44:28)
Well, Jimbo, you know that I’m a Pennsylvania guy from Scranton, married a Philly girl, and I was just out of Harrisburg actually. Anyway, look, you may remember when I started the campaign over a year ago and I announced. I said, one of the things you have to do is unite the country and I got clobbered by everyone running for president for the Democrats. They said, “You can’t unite the country.” Well, I’ll tell you what, if we don’t unite the country we’re in deep, deep, deep, deep trouble.
Joe Biden: (45:04)
This is the most important election in our lifetimes. Not because I’m running, because four more years of Donald Trump will fundamentally alter the character of this nation. And the character of our country is literally on the ballot. Lives and livelihoods as well. I think we’re facing a serious threat. We have to meet it as one country. This president gives us no direction. It pits us against one another. We can’t go on like this in the nation. Half recovering, half getting worse, half wearing masks, half denying science, half of a plan, half just hoping for the best. This country’s crying out for leadership, Jimbo. And for healing. I emphasized the healing.
Joe Biden: (45:47)
That’s part of a president’s job to lead, listen, and heal. And to listen to everyone. Even before today, our politicians have become too mean, too personal, and too early. It weakens us. It distracts us. It divides us. It’s not who we are. And I refuse to accept the idea that our nation is permanently divided. It is not. Principles must never be compromised, compromise is not a dirty word. It’s how our government was designed to work. I found that my whole life. And so I’ll do as president.
Joe Biden: (46:25)
Look, there’s two reasons why Jim, I decided to run this time. You know, if the perfect president, if he or she requires to have 10 great attributes. I’ve not met one that has more than six. But all the attributes you have may not be appropriate for that moment in history. There’s two things I’ve done fairly well at in my career. One, no one’s ever doubted my word. And I’ve been able to bring Democrats and Republicans together in the United States Congress for past big things, to deal with big issues. There’s a reason for that, Jimbo. I never questioned what was the man or woman’s motives. I questioned their judgment, but not their motives. When I first got elected in 1972, I wasn’t old enough to be sworn in as a senator, I was only 29 years old. So I had to wait. My birthday didn’t come until 17 days after the election. I was in Washington on December 18th, hiring staff. And I did it in December 18th, and I got a phone call. I got a phone call from a first responder who said, and I felt so badly for it in retrospect. He said “You’ve got to come home, there’s been an accident.” What happened? And the poor kid just blurted out, “Your wife’s dead. Your daughter’s dead. And your two boys not may not make it.” My wife, and my daughter was 18 months old. My son, almost three, the other one, almost four, were Christmas shopping. The tree was on top of the car. They were broadsided by a tractor trailer and they were killed. The two-
Joe Biden: (48:03)
… by a tractor trailer and there were killed, the two boys made it. So what happened was I decided I didn’t want to be a United States senator. And my brother, Jim Bo, every kid would call him Jim Bo. His name is James, Jimmy Biden. Well, Jim Bo was the guy, he’s five and a half years younger than me, but he had raised all our money, raised as the kiddy’s campaign we had.
Joe Biden: (48:26)
And he went to the Democratic governor-elect to put someone in my place because the state could always get another senator, my kids couldn’t get another dad. And what happened was the group of really fine senators, one Republican, five Democrats, all came to see me and said, “You’ve got to run, and you’ve got to be sworn in.”
Joe Biden: (48:48)
In retrospect, they saved my sanity. “Just stay for six months. Just stay for six months.” I’ll never forget, Senator Mansfield saying, “Only 1,702 people have ever been sworn into the Senate. Your wife nearly worked so hard to get you elected. You owe it to your family.” So I was supposed to go down to get sworn in, and the day I supposed to be sworn in I decided not to go.
Joe Biden: (49:12)
Well, the next day I was in the hospital with my son and they sent up the secretary of the Senate that swore me in the hospital. They tell me I’m the only guy sworn in in a hospital with my boys. So I went down, and one of the things I had to do was I had to meet with the majority leader at two o’clock or three, depending on the week on Tuesday afternoon. And I get an assignment from the leader, Mike Mansfield from Montana.
Joe Biden: (49:41)
I thought all senators got assignments. No senators get assignments. Matter of fact, I’m the first senator I ever knew. I didn’t know anything. It took me about five, six weeks to realize that he just was sort of taking my pulse, just seeing how I was emotionally.
Joe Biden: (49:58)
So I’d walk in to the Senate floor just before 2:00, walk down into the well of the Senate, seen the last Republican leave, walk out the other door to other side into the leader’s office and had my meeting because I commuted everyday to Wilmington, Delaware. So the next thing that happens is I walk in the door this particular day, the last week in May, and two friends of mine, one became a great friend, and still is, Bob Dole and the other was Teddy Kennedy. He was already a senator.
Joe Biden: (50:27)
They introduced the precursor to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and a particular senator that got elected [inaudible 00:02:35], who didn’t have much of a heart, I thought, was up on the floor, just saying, “They can’t confiscate my money or anybody else’s to have a curb cut. There’s no requirement that taxpayers should have to pay for lifts on the buses,” and all this stuff.
Joe Biden: (50:57)
I thought, “What a heartless son of a b.” But I had to walk in and have my meeting. I sat down across the desk from Senator Mansfield, and he always had a corncob pipe, but hardly ever light it. Said, “What’s the matter, Joe.” And I then went off the next few minutes excoriating this senator, saying he had no social redeeming value, he had no heart, et cetera, et cetera.
Joe Biden: (51:16)
He let me go on, then he stopped. He said, “Joe, what would you say if I told you that senator and his wife were sitting in their home in December, 1970 …” This is now May of ’73. “… 1970, and there was a young man in their statewide newspaper and a picture of him in braces under his arm all the way down to his ankles and two steel crutches?” He was in an orphanage and I think he was 14 years old at the time, and he looked out and he said, “All I want for Christmas is someone to love me and take me home.”
Joe Biden: (51:49)
He said, “Joe, what would you say if I told you they adopted that young?” I said, “I’d fucking fold.” He said, “Well, they did, Joe.” He said, “I’ve learned something,” he said, ” … over my years, too.” He said, “It’s always appropriate to question other man or woman’s motive.” I mean, excuse me, ” … judgment, but never their motive. You don’t know what it is, and once you question their motive you can never get to an agreement, by saying, ‘You’re in the pocket of or you,’ or, ‘You missed that,’ and then, ‘By the way, let’s have an education bill.’ They’re not going to work with you.”
Joe Biden: (52:22)
So I’ve been awfully successful getting things done in the past and bringing people together because I don’t question motive. The other area is, I’ve said that next year I’m going to inherit a world in disarray. My whole professional career and academic career has been all foreign policy and national security. And that’s what it’s going to be now. One of the reason I’m running, but that’s why I think you will not find many Republican senators or House members, even the ones I didn’t know, will ever tell you I misrepresented anything to them.
Joe Biden: (52:54)
I think there’s a lot we can agree on. And with Trump out of the way, I think we can agree on dealing with some of the problems out there, particularly problems in education, infrastructure, healthcare, all those issues that are all being separated now. And that’s why I think we get so much done. Look, we also have a tremendous opportunity to build back, but not just build back, build back better. We can’t afford not to open our doors and our ears and our hearts.
Joe Biden: (53:26)
President, I’m going to make sure that we leave nobody out, but it’s also on us, each of us, each of us, to do our part to heal the divisions in this country. Let me ask you a question, rhetorically. When’s the last time you thanked somebody? When’s the last time, if you were out in the Harrisburg area, you have a major storm, in your storm sewer outside, there was a guy out there cleaning it out so your basement wouldn’t flood. Did you walk out and say, “Thank you”? Or on your way to go to him or her, say, “Thank you”? When’s the last time we looked at each other and said, “Can I help you?” Uniting this country requires leadership, but it also happens one person at a time. In your community sometimes, and you don’t plan this, reach out to others, try to, as my mom would say, walk a mile in their shoes. Look to building bridges, not to tear them down. We can disagree, but we don’t have to be disagreeable.
Joe Biden: (54:26)
That’s what I’ll do as president, and it’s how, together, I think we can start to heal this country. But we have to treat, concluding comment, my dad used to always say, this is God [inaudible 00:54:38], my word as a Biden, “Joey, everybody, everybody deserves to be treated with dignity. No exceptions. Everybody deserves to be treated with dignity.” Treat people with dignity and they’ll return it, I think. Thank you.
Lily Eskelsen: (54:56)
Thank you. And thank you, Jim Bo, for that question. Thank you, Paula, in Turquoise delegates. We want to thank our fellow delegates who were able to channel those questions that came in, and we had so much more, but we needed to hear from you, Vice President Biden, about what you would bring to this. And we thank you for spending this time with us. Before you go, we want to give you just a few minutes if you want to make any final comments, as you asked these delegates for their support.
Joe Biden: (55:39)
Well, first of all, thanks for considering me, number one. Number two, I’ve been arguing a long time, because I’ve been listening to my wife, by the way, my deceased wife was a teacher as well, that education should be putting more in the hands of educators. You should have more input on what you teach, how you teach it, and when you teach it. You are the ones in the classrooms. You should have more input.
Joe Biden: (56:09)
And I really mean this. I’m not just trying to be nice. You are, and you need that more. So first of all, this is going to be a much more teacher-centric education system. I grant it, the vast majority of the funding comes out of the state and local communities, but the portion that’s federal you’re going to have a major say on how it’s spent, where it’s spent, and on what it’s spent.
Joe Biden: (56:34)
Next thing I’d like to say to you all is that one thing that really always bothered me was the way even in quote educated people, when you’re walking in a reception line somewhere and someone says, “And what do you do?” And say, “I teach.” They go, “Oh, okay.” Next person. ” What did you do?” “Well, I own a boutique, and I do … ” “Oh, tell me about your boutique.” Or, “I have a startup company,” or, “I’m sales with such and such.” You are, and I’m not joking about this, you are the most important profession in the United States.
Joe Biden: (57:22)
You are the ones that give, as the old expression goes, give these kids wings. You give them confidence. You let them believe in themselves. You equip them. And I promise you, you will never find in American history, a president who is more teacher-centric and more supportive of teachers than me, because Jill has a great expression, “Joe, any country that out educates us is going to out-compete us.” It’s time we raised the game and make you the managers. Thank you all for considering me. Lilith, thank you a lot. I appreciate everything you’ve done for me. I really do, and I hope you’ll consider endorsing me.
Lily Eskelsen: (58:15)
Thank you so much, Vice President Joe Biden, the PAC recommendation to become the next President of the United States. The decision will be made by mail-in ballot. It is possible to do mail ballots in a very good way.
Joe Biden: (58:31)
Lily Eskelsen: (58:32)
Yes it is. We’re going to do that. It’ll come to the homes of these almost 8,000 delegates, and we will be counting those in August. And so, Vice President Biden, it’s been an honor to have you in our house today. God bless and be safe.
Joe Biden: (58:52)
Well, if I get to the White House, you’ll be in my house too. Thank you.
Lily Eskelsen: (59:11)
Thank you so much. Thank you.