Sep 30, 2020
Joe Biden Train Tour Campaign Speech Transcript Alliance, Ohio September 30
Joe Biden visited Alliance, Ohio on his ‘Whistle-Stop’ campaign tour on September 30. Read the transcript of his remarks here.
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Joe Biden: (00:00)
… I just want you to know that I appreciate the opportunity to be here and appreciate the opportunity to move on. Alliance started as a place where people came together and it’s what we so badly need to do now in this country, is begin, again, to come together. We rode today with some remarkable Ohioans and whose families are here, Tiffany Davis and her husband, Tom, and her kids and Jacqueline, [Komar 00:00:25] and her husband, William, and their daughter and grandson, and [Dave Worshack 00:00:35] and his wife, Kathy, and their children.
Joe Biden: (00:36)
It was an honor to get a chance to meet them and to spend a little time talking about their circumstances. How Tom who worked online at Lordstown is now making that eight hour drive to Kentucky so he can keep a job and make a living, and Jacqueline who taught high school math at Maple Heights for years, and now worries, what’s going to happen to William if they lose the protections that are available through Obamacare for preexisting conditions? And Dave who’s fighting like hell for his coworkers after management announced the Akron plant was going to close this year. Like millions of hardworking Americans, they’re not looking for a handout, they’re just looking for a fair shot to be seen, to be understood, to be heard.
Joe Biden: (01:28)
They remind me of my dad. I was from another Valley, a little further East, the Lackawanna Valley, Scranton, Pennsylvania. My dad had a job in Scranton and when coal died and everything started to close up, we ended up in a circumstance where my dad did what you’re doing old buddy, only he didn’t have to do it for eight hours, what made that, what I called the longest walk a parent ever has to make, up a short flight of stairs and say, “Honey, I’m not going to be home during the week. I’m going to have to move down, in this case, to Delaware.”
Joe Biden: (02:02)
That was only about a three and a half hour ride at that time, not an eight hour ride. He did that for well over a year, and finally was able to get us to … We had to move. There was no work. My dad, it just reminds me of what he used to always say, and I apologize the press hearing me say this many times, but it’s a fact and it’s relevant. My dad used to say in Wilmington, Delaware, when we finally were able to purchase a home, move on an apartment and get going again. My dad would say, “Joe remember, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about your place in the community. It’s about being able to hold your head up. Be able to look at your kid and say, “Honey, it’s going to be okay.”” “Well, the fact is I don’t expect the government to solve my problem,” he’d say, “But I do expect them to at least understand the problem.”
Joe Biden: (03:00)
That’s what last night’s debate was about, this whole election is about, does your president have any idea and understand what you’re going through? And if he does, does he care about it? Is he able, as my mom would say, be able to walk a mile and your shoes, if you wanted to know me, they’re able to do that? Or does he just ignore you, look down on you, lie to you, like this president did when he told Ohio workers that, “Don’t sell your house, don’t sell your house because no more factories are going to close.” What I saw last night was all about him. He didn’t speak to you or your concerns or the American people even once.
Joe Biden: (03:41)
Donald Trump broke his promise. He said he was running for the forgotten American. As soon as he got elected, he forgot them. I’ll never forget. You know, I understand what you do. Wall Street did not build this country. CEOs did not build this country, hard working average American people, given half a chance, built this country. The middle-class built country and unions built the middle class. I tell you what, I never forget that where I came from. A measure our successes as a nation is not how well the stock market is doing. It’s what families are able to talk about and what they deal with at their kitchen table.
Joe Biden: (04:24)
Many of the people who will hear this today woke up this morning at a kitchen table where there was one less, was an empty chair or one less chair, because they lost someone. 205,000 dead because of COVID. Over 7 million infected. It’s just … And what happened last night? Did you hear a word from the president about any of that? Look tables like the one that we saw last night are ones that were set by Trump. For 36 years, as I said, I took a 250 mile round trip on Amtrak every day to commute from Wilmington to Washington. I got to know the engineers, the conductors, the folks in the food service card.
Joe Biden: (05:13)
At night as I’d ride home and going between Washington and Baltimore, I see those lights on and those homes along the tracks, middle-class homes, three bedroom split-level types that I grew up in, and I’d often wonder, “What are they talking about? What are they dealing with? What’s going on in their heads? What was it like what’s going on at my house? “No, honey, you got to ride on those tires for another four or five, 6,000 miles. We can’t afford new ones right now.”” Or who’s going to tell her? Who’s going to tell him they can’t go back to that school because we just don’t have the money? Or what are we going to do?
Joe Biden: (05:51)
I can remember my father, we lived in a three bedroom house with four kids and a grandpop. I can remember the walls were thin. I can remember my dad rolling around at night. I could hear him. Our room was next to him. I remember asking my mom one day, “What’s the matter with dad?” She said, “We just lost the insurance. We have no health insurance.” So look, these are the things that people are worried about. My guess is that the same thing is happening everywhere in America. The question people are asking is, is it going to be okay?
Joe Biden: (06:23)
Folks, this election, in my view, is between Scranton and Park Avenue, between Alliance and Park Avenue. It’s about whether or not the parents are going to look their kids in the eye and going to be able to say, “It’s going to be okay.” That’s what we talked about on the way down here on the train. We talked about it all along this whistle stop tour because I’m coming into places where people are hurting, where people have lost their jobs, but where there used to be real opportunity. This is all about, in my view, how we’re going to support working families to give people an equal shot, just so they can be able to have a chance to be able to just make a decent living.
Joe Biden: (07:05)
And folks to protect your pensions, your healthcare, to make the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share. To me, that’s what this is all about. It’s a trade-off. Do we allow corporate America to continue to pay [inaudible 00:07:21] pay no tax at all while you’re having your healthcare taken away in the name of, “We can’t afford it.” Do we allow billionaire to get another $30 billion tax break So they pay a lower rate than you pay if you have a job as a school teacher? Do we allow that? Or do we invest in our schools? What should we be doing right now? And what should we be doing for the last five months?
Joe Biden: (07:47)
The president, instead of being in the sand trap in his golf course, should be in the White House and the Oval Office, inviting Democrats and Republicans to be there with him and to settle, settle how we’re going to make sure we can bail out the small businesses that are going under. Make sure people can keep their insurance, making sure we have the ability to open our stores and our schools safely. It costs money to do that, but what’s he doing? He’s doing nothing.
Joe Biden: (08:14)
By the way, I find it fascinating. They had time at the very end of this election to hold a hearing on a Supreme Court justice, but the Senate does not have time to deal with making sure schools and businesses have the PPE they need, the protective gear, does not have the sanitary conditions available to them and the money to pay for them to open up, does not have the capacity and so on. It’s kind of amazing, isn’t it? They have time to rush through a nominee after an election has already started, but no time to deal with the everyday concerns about the American people.
Joe Biden: (08:50)
Look, let me conclude by saying, not withstanding where we are right now, I am extremely optimistic. I’m optimistic because the American people know this is not who we are. They’re ready to get up again. They’re ready to come back. We just have to give them a shot. So we’re better positioned than any nation in the world to take back this 21st century, we’re ready to do it, but we’re going to only do it if we do it together. If I get elected president, I’m not going to be the Democrat president, I’m going to be an American president. I’m going to represent you whether you vote for me or you vote against me. This is about the United States of America, our place in the world and the security and wellbeing of people just given an equal chance, an equal chance to have a shot at the American dream that’s been denied them right now.
Joe Biden: (09:42)
Thank you very much for listening. I’m happy to take questions. I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll start and work my way a little bit. Yes?
Speaker 2: (09:51)
[inaudible 00:09:51] with NPR, what did you learn last night about going face-to-face with President Trump? Would you do anything different next time? Also, there’s a lot of talk about given the way things went last night, two more debates aren’t worth having. What do you think about that?
Joe Biden: (10:07)
It’s not an inconsequential assertion. Look, he did what I expected him to do last night. He announced what he was going to do. He announced he was going to … I think the phrase was, “Now we can become really vicious.” I think that was his phrase, at some point. Look, last night reinforced for me why I got in this race in the first place. Last night, and I said, when I got in the race, we were in the battle for the soul of this country.
Joe Biden: (10:39)
Can you all see me? Should I turn this way a little bit?
Joe Biden: (10:42)
Trump’s constant disregard and unwillingness to speak to COVID and the fact that 205 thousand people have already died, and over 7 million are infected and it’s likely to get worse. He didn’t want to talk about it at all.
Joe Biden: (11:02)
In terms of election legitimacy, he made it clear that if he lost, it wouldn’t be a legitimate election. Already began to plant seeds of doubt in the legitimacy of this election. I don’t know any president’s ever done that before. His dog whistle, the white supremacy, when asked, “Would he condemn white supremacy?” He didn’t say a word. Then when I said, “Well, how about the Proud Boys?” Which is a white supremacist group. He said, “Well, I just told them to stand down and stand ready,” stand down and stand ready based on the outcome of the election?
Joe Biden: (11:40)
Last night was, I think, a wake up call for all Americans. What I tried to do, last night, I tried to speak directly into the camera to the American people, to talk about their concerns, to talk about what’s on their mind, to talk about what I would do, were I president. Trump has no plants, no ideas, didn’t express a single plan that he had about how he’s going to move forward. It made me realize just how much is at stake. For 90 minutes, he tried everything to distract, everything possible and it just didn’t work. But I hope that this next debate is going to be in front of real live people, it’s going to be a town hall. I just hope we’re able to … I’m looking forward to it. I hope we’re able to get a chance to actually answer the questions that are asked by the persons in the room, but God only knows what he’ll do. Yes.
Speaker 3: (12:45)
Is there any scenario where you would not debate the president in these next two debates? And are there any changes you want to see made by the commission before you debate?
Joe Biden: (12:57)
Well he not only attacked me constantly, and my family, but he attacked the moderator. Again, on his tweets this morning or last night. I just hope there’s a way of which the debate commission can control the ability of us to answer the question without interruptions. I’m not going to speculate on what happens in the second or third debate. My hope is that they’re able to literally say, “The question gets asked of Trump. He has the microphone, he has two minutes to answer the question. No one else has a microphone.” Then I don’t know what the actual rules are going to be, literally, but that would seem to me to make some sense, but I’m looking forward to it.
Speaker 3: (13:47)
What do you have to say to those undecided persuadable voters who were watching last night and were just completely turned off by politics?
Joe Biden: (13:55)
I can understand it. It was … I kind of thought, at one point, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but the president of the United States conducted himself the way he did. I think it was just a national embarrassment. But look, I just hope that the American people and those undecided voters try to determine what each of us has an answer for their concerns and allows us to actually speak. Yes.
Speaker 4: (14:41)
Thank you, Mr. Vice President, you mentioned the president’s comments about the Proud Boys, “Stand back and stand by.” Today, they’ve made that really a rallying cry, they’re rallying around that slogan, almost that they’ve created now for it. What are your fears about the implications of the president’s rhetoric? And do you have a message for the Proud Boys today?
Joe Biden: (15:00)
Cease and desist. Cease and desist. The American people will decide who the next president of United States will be period. So I’m urging the American people go out and vote, show up. If you can vote early, vote early, vote whatever way is most convenient for you, but vote. If you show up in large enough numbers, nothing is going to change.
Joe Biden: (15:25)
I promise you if in fact we win this election, this president will step down. It’s a lot of bravado. He has no alternative. The American people will not stand for it, no agency would stand for that happening. My message to the Proud Boys and every other white supremacist group is cease and desist. That’s not who we are. This is not who we are as Americans.
Speaker 5: (15:48)
Speaker 6: (15:48)
Mr. Vice President.
Joe Biden: (15:50)
All right, I’m going to let you pick somebody because you got everybody out here.
Speaker 7: (15:58)
Okay. Mr. Vice President. Thank you for giving me a question.
Joe Biden: (16:04)
I think this works, yes.
Speaker 7: (16:06)
Oh, great. Okay. I wanted to … just about last night, you said a few things that put some distance between yourself and the liberal wing of the party on the Green New Deal and Medicare for all. Can you talk a little bit about whether or not you could be going a little bit too far to the center and alienating some people on the left? And related to that, have you spoken with AOC today or recently?
Joe Biden: (16:35)
No, I haven’t. I appreciated her endorsement. Look, we had a debate with, I don’t know, 20 to 25 people in the Democratic Party. I said at the time that I would tell you exactly what I believed and I would say why I believed it and why I was running. That’s exactly what I did. I did not support Medicare for all. I do not support it now. I support the Biden plan that I’ve laid out. I’ve laid out the most extensive plan with the detail on how I will get us to net zero emissions in the energy sector by 2035, putting thousands of people to work. I’ve laid out how, in fact, I’m going to get us to net zero emissions in the United States of America by 2050 across the board, how I’d rejoin the Paris Accord, which I helped put together, et cetera.
Joe Biden: (17:34)
So the Green New Deal that the president keeps trying to talk about, it’s not a bad deal, but it’s not the plan I have, that’s the Biden green deal. That’s what this is about. What the president keeps trying to do is he’s trying to run somebody other than me. I’ve said to the left, to the right, and the center, exactly where I am on each of these issues. I did have time and I’ve worked very hard with all segments of the party. We put together a platform that is a platform that I fully support.
Joe Biden: (18:07)
The President keeps talking about … What’s he call it? He has some name for our platform, I can’t remember what it is. Is the-
Speaker 7: (18:15)
Joe Biden: (18:18)
The manifesto. Thank you. The manifesto. Well, the Democratic platform is the one that I’ve signed on to. The one that the vast majority, overwhelming majority, of Democrats signed on to. But the democratic party is a big tent and we have all kinds of folks in it that have different views and they’re all welcome. We negotiated, we debated and we had a primary election and I won and I’ve laid out what we’re going to do. So I’m not worried about losing the left, right, or the center of the party, this is a big party, but I have one of the most progressive records any Democrats run on. I’m proud of it, but it’s my record, and it’s what I want to do. So thank you. Thank you very much.
Speaker 7: (18:58)
If I could just follow up with a fun related question?
Joe Biden: (19:08)
You don’t mind, I’m going to get in trouble with the conductor because I’d like to stay and answer a lot of your questions. Do I think he’s created a crisis in confidence? Look, all you have to do is look at the polls all your networks run, and a significant member of the American people are worried about what he recommends having anything to do with … Look there, right? Is that what you’re trying to tell me? To deal with the COVID crisis. They’ve lost confidence in him.
Joe Biden: (19:38)
So that’s why I think it’s really important that the scientists continue to speak out, say exactly what constitutes an appropriate approach to dealing with COVID, whether it is a vaccine or any other proposal, and God willing, we’re going to have a vaccine sooner than later, God willing, we’ll be able to distribute it as rapidly as possible.
Joe Biden: (20:00)
But it gets down to, ultimately, the American people have to have trust in the what the president says, and it’s quite clear, many, many, many people don’t trust him. As it relates as well to businesses. They say, “Open up.” Even businesses opened up are having trouble getting people to come in because, in fact, the president says things that are just not accurate.
Joe Biden: (20:24)
But I’m confident that we’re going to get in this train or y’all are going to have to run behind it and we got to get going. But thank you all very much. I’ll talk to you the next stop, wherever I’m doing. Thank you.