Sep 30, 2020
Joe Biden Train Tour Speech Transcript Cleveland, Ohio September 30
Transcript of Joe Biden’s remarks during a ‘Whistle-Stop Tour’ visit to Cleveland, Ohio on September 30—his first speech after the first presidential debate. Read the transcript of his campaign speech here.
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Speaker 1: (00:48)
Please welcome the Reverend Dr. Marvin McMickle
Marvin McMickle: (01:10)
Good morning. This is going to be something of a litany in which there will be an opportunity for all of you to respond if you choose to. If prayer is within your spirit, then I will give you the signal to pray with these words we pray to you, oh God. But I will signal when it is time to do that. Let us pray. Gracious and eternal God. Sovereign Lord, over all the earth, we acknowledge that you are the author and the architect of the whole of creation. You are the source of life and goodness for all the nations that dwell on the planet. You, oh God gave shape to the mountains, depths to the oceans, flight to the birds, fragrance to the flowers and warmth to the sun. Every good and perfect gift comes from you. And we honor you this morning with our prayer of thanksgiving.
Marvin McMickle: (02:21)
We also come before you with our prayer of petition. We know that you are not defined by the partisan politics of a single nation, but we hope and pray that you will hear and heed our requests today. We pray today for Joseph Biden, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, because we believe that they are best suited to lead and guide our nation in ways that are important to us and consistent with your designs for the world. We pray, oh God, that they will lead us in ways that make us better stewards of the creation in which, and upon which we all depend. Save us from people and policies, so driven by greed and short-term gain that they have no regard for clean air, clean water, the land rights of the indigenous people, the financial strains of small farmers, black and white, or the changing climate that is fueling fierce fires, howling hurricanes and shrinking species.
Marvin McMickle: (03:35)
And now I invite you to say, “We pray to you, oh God.” We pray for these two candidates amid a global health pandemic that is consuming lives, livelihoods, and life savings across the country and around the world. So give to them, oh God, the wisdom to lead our nation in ways that seem to have escaped those who are currently holding the reins of power in this country. We’ve witnessed more than 205,000 dead, more than 7 million infected, more than 16 million unemployed, just in this country. And the virus is not through with us yet. At this critical hour, we need leadership marked by courage in the face of the problem and compassion in response to the suffering. And so we say, we pray to you, oh God. Our nation has a tragic history of racial and ethnic oppression that has recently overflowed to the streets of our cities and towns.
Marvin McMickle: (04:47)
In memory of those who have been lynched, shot, beaten, burned out, or forced to leave their ancestral lands along a trail of tears. We pray for leaders that will serve we, the people, all the people, all races, all income groups, all regions, all religions, who long for the promise of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We pray to you, oh God. We pray for our fragile democracy. We pray for the continuation of a government of the people and by the people and for the people. There are forces at work today that are endangering this American experiment. The nation needs new leaders that will preserve that principle by honoring the outcome of elections, by disavowing foreign interference in our electoral process, by paying their taxes and by safeguarding the right of every American to participate in free and fair elections. And so we say, we pray to you, oh God. Finally, we pray for the candidates themselves.
Marvin McMickle: (06:12)
We pray for their stamina, as they endure the rigors of a national campaign. We pray for their spirits, as their character and their competence are regularly and relentlessly attacked. We pray for their clarity of purpose, always reminding them that this electoral process is about we, the people, and not just an opportunity to advance their own egos and agendas as some have done in recent years.
Marvin McMickle: (06:45)
We pray for their families. we pray for their spouses. We pray for their children and their siblings. And if these candidates are blessed to win the selection, then keep them and their families as they take on the enormous burden of governing our nation and helping to safeguard our world. And we close, oh God with two hymns. Our fathers God to the author of liberty. To thee, we sing long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light, protect us by thy might, great God, our King. And God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far on the way. Thou who has by thy might let us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray. Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee. Lest our hearts, drunk with a wine of the world forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand true to our God, true to our native land. We pray to you, oh God. Amen.
Speaker 1: (08:42)
Please welcome, jill Biden.
Dr. Jill Biden: (09:04)
Good morning. Thank you, Reverend Dr. McMickle. That was beautiful. Thank you so much. You know, with everything that’s going on, faith has never felt more important, in our spiritual beliefs, in our communities, and in the potential of our nation. You remind us of all three, so thank you for your beautiful words today and for joining us. So hello, Cleveland, and didn’t Joe do a great job last night? I thought he was so strong, and he looked so presidential. Thank you. Thank you.
Dr. Jill Biden: (09:54)
Over these last few months, I’ve been talking to communities about school reopenings, and a few weeks ago, I spoke to a public school counselor who told me something that really I won’t forget. She said, “The two most important roles in my life are being a school counselor and being a mom.” And right now, I feel like I’m failing at both. As a parent, I want to have all the answers for my kids, but over these last four years, so many parents have told me that they have more questions than answers. Like, “How do I keep my family safe from this pandemic?” “What if a shooting happens at our school?” “What if I lose my job?” And, “How do I tell my kids to be kind when our leaders don’t live up to that same standard?” And not just parents, all of us feel it. The chaos of this moment, the magnitude of the loss that surrounds us, and the acrimony that we see way too often.
Dr. Jill Biden: (11:13)
There are those who want to us to believe that our nation is hopelessly divided, that our differences are irreconcilable, that our communities are fractured beyond repair. And beneath that is another message. “Your voice can’t fix it.” “Your vote won’t change it.” Oh, how about this one? “It is what it is.” But that’s not who we are. Is it, Ohio? Just look at what we’ve seen over these last few months. We’re coming together and we’re holding onto one another. We’re finding mercy and grace in the moments that we might have once taken for granted. We’re seeing that our differences are precious and that our similarities are infinite. Democrat and Republican, rural and urban, our communities are showing that the heart of this nation still beats with kindness and courage.
Dr. Jill Biden: (12:19)
We don’t agree on everything, and we know that we don’t have to. We can still love and respect each other. We care more about people than politics, and we know that we are not fractured. We’re not broken. We’re because coming something new. We just need steady leadership to help us heal and move us forward. And that’s my husband, Joe Biden. He will be a president for all Americans, and he has a plan for all Americans. He and Kamala have the fortitude to lead us out of Donald Trump’s chaotic America. They have the character to help us heal and the vision to help us rebuild for a future that is better than ever. But they can’t do it without you, because this is it. There are no do-overs. We can’t sit back and just watch what happens. We have to decide what happens.
Dr. Jill Biden: (13:33)
Cynics play to our fears. They tell us that we can’t make a difference because they don’t want us to try. They know that together, our voices are more powerful than they ever could be, and we have to show them our power. We have to believe that our communities are stronger than the challenge we face, because they are. We have to believe that our votes matter, because they do. We have to show up right now, put our shoulders back, and work like we’ve never worked before. So will you join us? Will you prove the cynics wrong? Will you help show that our nation will never settle for less than our highest aspirations? Will you stand with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris? Because Ohio, when you do, we know that we will win.
Dr. Jill Biden: (14:34)
So I want to end by saying thank you. Thank you for all that all of you do for your communities. Thank you for showing up right now when it matters. And thank you for your faith in an idea that’s bigger than any one of us, and that is that we will, we will build a better nation, because we are going to do this together. So thank you, Ohio. Thank you. Thank you, Ohio.
Dr. Jill Biden: (15:13)
And now it is my pleasure to invite a fellow educator to the stage. One of the millions of teachers across this country who are working overtime and rising to the moment to make sure our students can learn no matter what. So I’d like you to meet Tiffany Davis. Tiffany?
Tiffany Davis: (16:02)
Thank you so much, Dr. Biden, for that introduction. It’s an honor to be introduced by you, especially as a fellow educator. Good morning, everyone. My name is Tiffany Davis, and I’m a fifth grade teacher at Lordstown Elementary School in Lordstown, Ohio. Like Joe and Jill Biden, we’re a union strong household, and we’re fighters. My husband, Tom, is a proud member of the United Auto Workers, and I’m an Ohio Federation of Teachers member.
Tiffany Davis: (16:36)
In the Valley, we’re tough. We’re resilient. We keep building, but President Trump’s failure to protect American manufacturing jobs in Lordstown has torn us apart. Families have been separated and uprooted from the community we know and love. My husband, Tom, worked the assembly line at the General Motors Lordstown plant for 17 years before the plant closed its doors last March. As a family, we made the agonizing decision for Tom to accept a transfer to the GM plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, so he could retain his job and pension benefits, and so our family could maintain our health care coverage. Bowling Green, Kentucky, is eight hours away, and my husband makes this drive every single weekend to see me and our two children, Aubrey and Brian, who are just seven and 12 years old. They miss their dad, and I miss my husband, and it didn’t have to be this way.
Tiffany Davis: (17:48)
In 2017, Donald Trump campaigned in Youngstown, just down the road from us. He told us not to sell our homes, promising to keep plants like Lordstown open, and to save Ohio manufacturing jobs.
Tiffany Davis: (18:02)
… open, and to save Ohio manufacturing jobs. Less than two years later, he didn’t lift a finger as Lordstown closed its doors, and more than 5,400 jobs were lost. Our story is not unique. Our friends and family are now scattered throughout the country, either working at other General Motors facilities or continuing to look for work. Five of my own students had to move from Lordstown as a result of the plant closure. We know the truth. Our community was left behind by Donald Trump and his broken promises. Joe Biden will never leave us behind because no one has more respect for the working women and men who get up every day to build this country than he does. Joe knows Scranton is a lot like the Valley. He’s got a plan to build our economy back better for working families, just like mine.
Tiffany Davis: (18:59)
Joe will mobilize the talent, grit, and innovation of Ohioans to ensure the future is made in all of America, by all of Americans. The Valley needs fighters like Joe and Jill Biden in the White House for us. And there’s no one tougher than a teacher to fight for our kids like Dr. Jill Biden will do as First Lady. Ohio is ready to build back better. Ohio is ready for Joe Biden. With that, it is my honor to introduce and welcome back to Ohio, the next President of the United States, Joe Biden.
Joe Biden: (19:48)
Hey everybody. I have to tell y’all, it’s great to see you.
Joe Biden: (20:10)
Hello Cleveland. Don’t jump. Folks, I was reminiscing as we drove to the station, I spent the bulk of my adult life driving to an Amtrak station. I commuted every day from Wilmington, Delaware to Washington DC when I got elected as a young Senator, right after my wife and daughter were killed, and I didn’t plan on staying in the Senate, but I agreed I’d stay for six months, a long time ago, and I started commuting and the fact is they tell me I’ve logged more than 2,100,000 miles on Amtrak. So it’s good to be here. It’s not as fast as the helicopter, but I made a lot of family and friends on Amtrak. So I’m looking forward to getting on the train with you guys.
Joe Biden: (21:19)
I want to start off by saying that it’s great to be in Ohio and with my so many friends, members of Congress, local elected officials. It’s an honor to be here with Tiffany. I know how hard it is for her. And I say I know, I was in the position of her children. My dad went through the same thing, Mr. Mayor. Back in Scranton, Pennsylvania, he lost his job. And I remember him walking up the stairs, making what I call that longest walk a parent has to make to tell a child that he’s going to have to leave. My dad didn’t have an eight hour ride. He only had a three hour ride, three and a half hour ride. He moved to Wilmington, Delaware. Took a couple of years before he could bring us back down to Delaware, come home every weekend, but to make sure that we’re all together again. It’s a hard slog. A lot of people have made that. And Tiffany, you’re a wonderful, wonderful mother, teacher, and the way you talk about your husband, he and I have something in common. We both married way up. I want to say that my dad, when he was, I apologize to Congressman Lamb, he’s heard me say this a lot, but my dad, when we moved back to Delaware, moved to Delaware, would say all the time to his children, my siblings and I, he’d say, “Joey, a job’s about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about being able to hold your head up. It’s being able to look your child in the eye and say, it’s going to be okay. That’s what a job is about.” And Tiffany, when I think about your husband taking that job eight hours away, although it’s a hundred years ago, I think about my dad, and I imagine your husband has the same stamina, and you do, as my mom and dad did.
Joe Biden: (23:27)
The fact is that last night’s debate, and this election, is supposed to be about you, Tiffany, about you and all the people I grew up with in Scranton, and people in Youngstown, and Claymont, Delaware, and all the people who make a difference. Does any President, does your President understand at all what you’re going through, what so many other people are going through? Question is does he see you where you are and where you want to be? Does he care? As he tried to walk in your shoes, to understand what’s going on in your life? Or does he just ignore you and all the folks all over America who are in a similar situation? I think he’s more than ignoring us. I look at things from Scranton’s perspective, he looks at from Park Avenue. I think he basically looks down on us. He judges us.
Joe Biden: (24:38)
The fact is that I think that when he called our military, and I see we got some veterans here too, thank you for your service man, but when he called our veterans who lost their lives and served suckers and losers, I thought it was one of the most despicable things that I’ve ever heard a President say. Guys you are soldiers or a veteran, you served your country, like you did, like you did Connor, like my son did. What he does, he lies to you. He lies to you about exactly what’s happened. Does he lie to you when, like this president did to your husband, that all the workers at GM plant in Lordstown were going to be in good shape. You remember what he said?
Joe Biden: (25:29)
And you said it to me, he said, “Don’t move. Don’t sell your house because no Ohio factory will shut down in Donald Trump’s America.” He doesn’t pay his fair share, don’t worry about that. He doesn’t pay his fair share in taxes. He says that makes him smart. What does that do? What does that make you, Tiffany, make me, and millions of other hard working Americans, decent people who pay our taxes? Are we the suckers? Are we stupid because we go by the rules? He’s too weak to beat the pandemic. Cost him more than 200,000 American lives. That’s upended every part of our lives and hit working people particularly hard. Your businesses are closed and schools aren’t back to normal because Donald Trump hasn’t done his job.
Joe Biden: (26:19)
He hasn’t pulled Congress together to provide real relief for working people, moms, and dads, and business owners. The fact is Congress has passed a significant recovery bill, but he’s too busy being in a bunker, or in his golf course to call them into the White House to work out an agreement. He told FEMA to cut off funding for school PPE, masks, and protective gear, because it’s not a national emergency. His response during the deadly pandemic is to try to take your healthcare away by asking the Supreme Court to strike the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. Wipe it out.
Joe Biden: (27:03)
… the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, wipe it out, taking us back to a time when insurance companies could deny you coverage for preexisting conditions. Now, because of COVID, lung scarring or heart problems is a consequence of having survived COVID. That could be the next pre-existing conditions affecting millions of people. Taking away Medicare benefits for seniors. Throw your adult kids off your healthcare insurance.
Joe Biden: (27:28)
Think about his plan for your social security. The social security actuary said that if he follows through on his plan for social security, social security will be quote, “Bankrupt by 2023.” It clear that he not only cares about Wall Street and the super wealthy and the Fortune 500, he thinks they built this country. That’s why he wants another $30 billion tax cut for the hundred wealthiest billionaires in the country, who have already made $ 30 billion during this pandemic. So they’ll pay a lower tax rate than you do as a teacher, a factory worker, a firefighter, a nurse. He gave a tax giveaway for corporations and they moved jobs overseas to sell goods back to the United States. Here comes the train that he tried to make sure didn’t continue to run.
Joe Biden: (28:26)
That’s the commuter. All right. But folks, look, he let big corporation jump in front of the line to get the recovery aid that Congress had passed while small businesses are struggling to say open. In the end, his measure of economic health is the stock market. In four years as president, he’s broken his promise, he’s forgotten the forgotten Americans he said he was always going to fight for.
Joe Biden: (28:56)
Well, I never will forget. I know the middle class working people built this country and I measure our economic success by what families are talking about around their kitchen tables this morning. Some of them with an empty chair because they lost a family member. The ones I saw every night on my train ride from Washington to Wilmington, Delaware, as I said after my wife and daughter were killed when I was first elected, I started going home every single night so I’d be there in the morning to get my kids, Beau Hunter and Ashley ready for school. Actually, Jill, God love her, she came into our life five years later and made things good.
Joe Biden: (29:37)
For 36 years, I said, I took that 250 mile round trip journey each day. I’d get to know the train engineers, the conductors, the fellow passengers, and at night, I’d see the pinpoints of lights in the homes in the cities and towns along the way from Washington to Wilmington and wonder what those families are talking about after they put their kids to bed. My guess is the same thing that all Americans across the country are talking about today, asking questions as profound and as ordinary as, will we be okay? Will we be able to keep our insurance? What are we going to do?
Joe Biden: (30:14)
Folks, this election has a choice between Scranton and Park Avenue values, between Cleveland and Park Avenue values, between Alliance and Park Avenue values. But it’s also about something deeper. Can these parents look their kids in the eye and say, ” Honey, everything’s going to be okay.” These are the conversations I’m going to be having today in this whistle stop tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania, talking to folks about how I’ll get the virus under control, lay out the plan, bringing Congress together to provide relief and resources to schools and business so we can reopen our economy safely and strongly with a real plan and real leadership.
Joe Biden: (30:55)
Talking to folks about how I’d create good paying jobs, union jobs, to support working families and build our economy back. Not just back, but build it back better. I’ll protect your Medicare and social security and how I’ll fight to protect pensions, including fixing [inaudible 00:31:13] employer pensions so that many union women and men in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Delaware, all across this country, are able to keep what they earned and deserve.
Joe Biden: (31:26)
I’ll fight for American jobs with the dignity of work and make the wealthy and corporations began to pay their fair share. I’ll protect your right to healthcare and build on and improve the Affordable Care Act and I’ll always tell you the truth. I’ll always care about you, whether you vote for me or not. If elected, I’m not going to be a Democratic president, I’m going to be an American president. Whether you voted for me or not, I’m going to be your president and I’ll never forget the people, the working people of this country, because that’s what I’ve come from. That, given just half a chance, the American people can do anything. Just like you, Tiffany, and your husband, you’ve stood up. You can do anything. I want to make something absolutely clear. There’s overwhelming reason for optimism. Reverend, as you said, there’s overwhelming reason. We just have to unite. The country is ready to do that. We’re better positioned than any nation in the world to own the 21st century, we just have to do it and do it together. So I leave you Rev and thank you for your invocation by saying, God bless you all and may God protect our troops. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Keep the faith. We’re coming back. Thank you.