Sep 30, 2020
Joe Biden Train Tour Campaign Speech Transcript Greensburg, PA September 30
Joe Biden visited Greensburg, Pennsylvania on his ‘Whistle-Stop’ campaign tour on September 30. Read the transcript of his remarks here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Frank Spencer: (00:07)
Good evening. My name’s Frank Spencer and I’m the general vice president for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. General president McCarron isn’t able to be here today so it’s my honor on behalf of our 550,000 men and women that we represent, to endorse Joe Biden for president and Kamala Harris for vice president. You’re welcome Vice President.
Frank Spencer: (00:42)
Leaders stand up for what’s right even when it’s hard, that’s Joe Biden. Leaders tell the truth, even when it’s inconvenient, that’s Joe Biden. Leaders understand that the strength of our country is tied to the strength of the middle class. That means strong unions, protection for workers and a fair tax policy. Joe Biden knows that. Joe stands with working Americans and knows the value union brings to our communities. Joe stands with working carpenters and because of that, we’re proud to stand with Joe Biden, the next president of the United States. Thank you.
James Callahan: (01:39)
Good evening. My name is James Callahan, I’m the general president of the Operating Engineers. 400 members strong, 400,000 members strong and it’s our honor to have the next president of the United States tour our great Local 66 training center that underscores what we do in labor. And it wasn’t a far reach to explain to someone like Joe Biden, what working Americans do. I want to thank Jim Kuntz, the president and vice-president of Local 66, my secretary-treasurer Brian Hickey, who’s flown in from Chicago to underscore and relay to Vice President Biden that we at our general executive board, wholly endorsed him and Senator Harris for the next ticket of the president and vice president of the United States.
James Callahan: (02:47)
As Joe has said to us many a times, he understands what a paycheck does for working people, not a dividend check for people that are just waiting for a dividend check on their savings or their investment. He understands that people live check to check and the guidance that go with that. And the way that this administration, current administration wants to tear that down. We wholeheartedly endorse as the next president of the United States, Joe Biden. Thank you very much.
Joe Biden: (03:24)
Better not touch it. Hello everybody. It’s great to be here. I just want the record to show that Jim promised, if I get elected president of United States, I can go down to the Houston facility and work and try to drive any this machinery I get a shot at. I used to have a license to drive tractor trailers, but I tell you what, I’m looking at that sucker, that big Caterpillar. That’s a good one. But I’m not sure I want to try that crane, man, that looks awful. That looks awful tough. I know. Well, I’ll tell you what, it’s great to be here.
Joe Biden: (04:22)
There was an old expression when I was growing up in Scranton, you go home with them that brung you to the dance. And labor brought me to the dance a long, long time ago. They’re the ones who are the operating engineers and the carpenters. Early on, first time that I ran, people who laid the tracks and the pipelines, who operate the cranes and shape the skyline, who build the foundations of everything we rely on. Labor as I said, brought me to the dance, not an exaggeration. And the only reason I’m standing here today as a candidate for president, if it hadn’t been for labor back in 1972, when I was a 29 year old kid, just after Labor Day, I was losing the election. I think it was 54 to 19 going into the election. And then labor came on board. Carpenters across the board, just up and down, operating engineers, the steel workers and we ended up winning by an overwhelming margin of 3,200 votes statewide when Nixon won the state was 68% of the vote. I don’t forget.
Joe Biden: (05:32)
My dad used to have an expression for real. He said, “The only way to deal with the abuse of power, Joey, is with power. And the only people can take on major corporate interests and the oligarchs who are abusing power, the working men and women are organized labor.” That’s not an exaggeration. The only ones. The only ones. And that’s why I’ve been so supportive of labor my whole career. I’ve never forgotten everything that they’ve done for me, you’ve done for me, but not just for me, but for the country. You are literally not figuratively, the backbone of America. The military is the spine of America, you’re the backbone of America. An awful lot of you served in the military as well. You’re the ones who actually built this country, not Wall Street bankers and CEOs. You built the country and you’re going to build it and you’re going to build it back better than it was before.
Joe Biden: (06:32)
And I want thank Jim. I want to thank President Callahan and his team as well as the folks in Local 66 for welcoming me here today and giving us an inside look at everything you’re doing to rebuild and energize Western Pennsylvania. I’m from Eastern Pennsylvania. I’m from up in Lackawanna County in that valley and a lot’s going to happen here. I am so confident. I really am that we’re not only coming back, we’re going to come back big. I mean hardworking folks. I want to thank Vice President Frank Spencer and the carpenters for all they do as well. I’m honored, the trust you’ve placed in me and I want to thank you a lot for it. And if I have the honor of becoming president, I’ll be fighting for you every single day. And I promise you, hear me now, you will have a seat at the table at the White House. No fundamental decisions will be made without you sitting in literally not figuratively. Literally, that’s a word. You have my word on it.
Joe Biden: (07:31)
And folks, I’ve been on a train today. I’ve traveled, it’s kind of like going back home. I traveled over 2,100,000 miles over 40 years on Amtrak going back and forth every single solitary night to see my kids. A 250 mile round trip. But we came today, we on an Amtrak train, do a whistle stop tour. We started off in Cleveland, across Ohio, into Western Pennsylvania. And riding the rails reminds me of when I would take the train home from Wilmington to Washington and back every night. And I used to go back when you get through round the beltway, going into Baltimore, you go through a number of middle class neighborhoods like houses like I grew up in. Three bedroom split level homes, that kind of thing.
Joe Biden: (08:19)
And I used to literally, when we’d have debates on the floor of the Senate, look out that window and I’d sit there and I’d see the lights on and the homes we were passing just like we saw coming from Cleveland into Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh to here. And I’d wonder, do they have the same kind of conversations at that table that my mom and dad had at our table? Are they having the same kind of conversations the guys I grew up with, the women I grew up with had? No honey, we can’t get four new tires on the car. We can’t afford it, we got to wait another month. Literally not figuratively, literally. Or, I know we need a new hot water heater. We can’t afford it. We got to wait. It’s going to take a little while longer.
Joe Biden: (09:08)
You have vast majority of the middle class saying before we got into this recession. If they got an unexpected bill for $400 in a month that they didn’t expect, they’d either have to borrow the money or put it off. They’re neighbors I grew up in. You’re the only ones that saved them from people from having to do that if in fact you’re able to have work. Folks, I knew all those families inside and those families and on that route today. I didn’t know their names, but I know what’s on their minds. What their concerns were. They’re not looking for a handout, all they’re looking for is a hand up. My dad used to say, “Joe, I don’t expect the government to solve my problems, but I sure in heck expect them to understand my problem.” We’re not understanding the problems of the vast majority of Americans today. All they’re looking for as a fair shot and a little bit of dignity and a little bit of respect instead of being looked down on so that the parents could look their kids in the eye and say, “Honey, everything’s going to be okay.”
Joe Biden: (10:22)
My dad used to have that expression. After we left Scranton, he had to move to Delaware and commute every day for over a year and finally be able to get us down. Not every day, once a week, come back every week. And finally, we got apartment in Claymont Delaware. A little steel town, has no more steel now. And then we finally ever got a home four years later. But it’s what a lot of people we’re still going through. There’s a stark difference from what I saw last night on the debate stage. An entitled self serving president who inherited everything in his life and squandered it. A president who calls his own supporters, according to some staff members, his own supporters, disgusting. Who thinks that folks who put their lives on the line for our country in the military are losers and suckers. It’s despicable.
Joe Biden: (11:33)
I’ve dealt with guys like Trump my whole life. The guys who might let you park the cars at their country club, pick up a few bucks but even if you had the money, wouldn’t let you join the country club because of your religion or because of your background. Guys who stiff contractors, building their hotels and their golf courses, just to put a few more bucks in their pocket, seems to take some joy in it. Guys who think the rules don’t apply to them. Guys and make tens of millions of dollars and pay $750 in federal taxes in a year.
Joe Biden: (12:17)
Donald Trump sees things from Park Avenue. I see him from where I grew up in Scranton and Claymont. My mom, Jean Finnegan Biden had a backbone like a ramrod, all five foot one of her. And my mom used to have an expression. I really mean it. I used to be a stutter and it’s when you’re a stutter you’re used to bullies. It’s easy to make fun of somebody who talks like that. That’s how I learned to fight. Joke used to be, Biden’s like shoe leather. You can beat him, but he’s going to hurt you. You have to stand up to these folks. Well, my mom would say, “Joey, look at me, look at me. Remember, nobody is better than you, nobody, but everybody’s your equal.” And she meant it. She meant it. As I said, my dad’s expression when we moved to Delaware was he’d talk about how a job is a lot more than about a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about your place in the community.
Joe Biden: (13:30)
Those values shaped my whole life. If you look back on my career, you notice it shaped my whole career, my Build Back Better plan. It shaped my views as president what I’ll do. It’s all about giving communities like Greensburg and New Alexandra and Claymont and Scranton and places in parts of Cleveland I just came out of, giving women and men who work on pipelines and construction sites a fair shot. We’re going to invest $2 trillion in infrastructure, including more than 50 billion in one year to get to repairing our schools, our highways, our bridges, revitalizing our locks and our dams, making our inland waterways the finest in the world. That’s what attracts businesses. That’s what brings employment. You talk about how much my plan costs. Well, guess what? Those investments are going to create millions of high paying jobs. Building a modern infrastructure and a durable energy future. And I promise you this, in my administration, collective bargaining, now hear me, collective bargaining will be sacred. It’s a guarantee. A guarantee. And union apprenticeships, union apprenticeships will be sacred. Last thing we need is corporate America taking over apprenticeships programs like they tried to do.
Joe Biden: (14:58)
We’re going to stand up for prevailing wage and benefit productions and the Davis Bacon Act. I guarantee. You may recall the president, he used to like to surprise me at State of the Union addresses says, “And Sheriff Joe will take care of the Build Back.” we didn’t call it Build Back Better, it was Recovery Act $800 billion. Not a single project was not prevailing wage. It’s a guarantee, every single solitary project we built. And so folks, we’re going to level the playing field for you and for your families. We’re going to have wages and benefits. We’re going to lower healthcare cost, prescription drug prices. We’re going to take on the opioid crisis for real, with effective treatment. Making four years of public college universities, apprentice programs, tuition free, anybody making less than $125,000 a year if they go to a state university, they go to a community college it’s automatic. If they’re in an apprentice program, it’s going to be free.
Joe Biden: (16:07)
My wife has an expression. She’s a community college professor, “Any country that out educates us will out compete us.” The cost is staggering for people having to carry the burden. And we’re going to do it without asking anyone who makes under $400,000 a year to pay one more penny in taxes, guaranteed, my word on it, because what we’re going to do, we’re going to get rid of the God awful $2 trillion tax cut that Trump passed. 1.4 trillion of it going to the top 1%, a significant portion of that going to the top 1/10th of 1%. We’re going to start rewarding work, not wealth. We’re going to make sure corporations began to pay. The Fortune 500 companies, 91 don’t pay a single penny in taxes and some of them make multi-billion dollars. How about your taxes? You pay nothing in taxes?
Joe Biden: (17:07)
We’re not going to punish anybody, everybody’s going to pay their fair share. Look, a lot of people around here voted for Donald Trump last time. I get it. I understand why. I’ve been asked many times in recent years, “How do we get to a place where the people who teach our kids, take care of our sick, build our bridges, operate our cranes, who race into burning buildings and don’t ask who’s in the other end there, whether you’re black or white or Muslim or Christian, people who in fact grow our food, how do we get to a place where they don’t think we don’t see them? Or hear them? Or respect them?” Well, I see them. I hear them. I respect them. I know them. They’re family and it’s going to change. It’s going to change with me. Look, this is not a partisan moment. This is an American moment. And I mean that seriously. Think about it.
Joe Biden: (18:10)
We have a chance to put the anger and division that has overtaken this country behind us. We can be what we are at our best. One people, one America. We just need to remember who in God’s name we are. This is the United States of America. Think about this. Never once in our history, when we’ve set our mind to it, have we not been able to accomplish whatever we set our mind to do when we’ve done it together. There’s not a single thing we can’t do. And with your help, I’m going to get elected. And with us working together, I promise you. I promise you, it’s going to be a different America. We again, reward work not just wealth. Where people are treated with decency.
Joe Biden: (19:05)
I’ll conclude by saying, a president’s words matter, no matter how good or bad a president is, the words they utter matter and can take us to war. They can bring peace, they can make the market rise or fall, they can change people’s lives. And this president has breathed hate and division under the rocks here. Hate only hides. It doesn’t go away. And it matters what presidents say. And you heard what he said last night, when he was asked by the moderator, “Will you condemn white supremacy?” And he fuddled around didn’t say anything. I said, “How about the Proud Boys?” And he said, “Well,” the context he likes he said, “just tell them to stand down and stand by.” Go online. Look up Proud Boys they’ve got a new emblem now, literally. It says, “Stand down and stand by.” Implying that if he loses the election, something may have to be done. I promise you that won’t happen. The American people are going to speak. They’re going to speak in large numbers and nobody is going to get in the way of our democratic process going forward. Nobody, period.
Joe Biden: (20:47)
This is the United States of America. We’re not as some tin horn, dictator shepherded, third world country. This is the United States of America. I want to thank you all for your endorsements. I really mean it. Means a lot to me personally, just on a personal level I appreciate it. God bless you all and may God protect our troops. Thank you so very much.