Remarks by President Biden at a virtual fundraising reception for the Democratic National Committee
7:19 p.m. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Tom. Thank you for this introduction and for your generous support. And I want to thank you all. And, Jaime, for your support as well and for your willingness to assume the presidency.
You know, I didn’t have it like you, but I remember when my dad – when things fell apart in Scranton; the coal has dried up. He was not a coal miner; my great-grandfather was. But he wasn’t a coal miner, but everything else has dried up. And he said – I remember going back to my grandfather, who had four sons and a daughter, and asking him if it was okay if his wife – my mother, Jean – and the three children moved in with him for about a year until they recovered in northern Delaware – a small town called Claymont.
And so that – and he said – I’ll never forget it. He said, âI’ll be coming home every weekend, Joey. Every weekend. There are only 147 to 157 miles. And I was like, âMy God, it’s a million miles. I was going – I was in third year, I was going in fourth. And you know, it’s a –
They had an expression – and it never is – and that’s God’s truth. We went to Delaware, as it progressed, after five years, to being able to buy a small three bedroom house. He would say, âJoey, a job is more than a salary. It’s about – it’s about your pride. This is your place in the community. It’s about your ability to make eye contact with your children. It is about your dignity. And so it’s a lot – so much more.
And so, you know, when I ran with your help – and I couldn’t have done it – with all the help from the people on that line – you know – you know, we’re part of something special because you allowed me to compete.
We – I think we had one of the most important campaigns in modern history. Because it was really, in my eyes, a battle for the soul of the nation: basic modesty, building the middle class from the bottom up, rather than waiting for everything to flow away.
And a lot of you are very successful people on the line, but you share that point of view and you gave me the money and the contributions to be able to finish – you know, I say – I should say ‘compete’ .
And so, we’re bonded together in one of the most important first six months in this country’s history, not because of me – it’s about the country; these are people who are escalating.
Think about the past six months. The American rescue plan.
We have fired millions and millions of people. Checks in the pocket of hundreds of millions of Americans. And maybe the thing I’m most proud of: We got the biggest tax cut ever for the middle class with the help of – halving child poverty through child care – the child tax credit.
And 165 million Americans are fully immunized. You have over 190 that have at least one hit – one hit.
It is the fastest growing job in the first four months of any previous presidency. Period.
And economic growth projected at nearly 7%, the highest in four decades.
And last week they – the infrastructure plan that I presented when I was leading and put together with a bipartisan group – I had to compromise, but it’s going to make a huge difference.
For example, it will transform the economy. It’s over, over a trillion dollars. He is going to eliminate all lead pipes in America so that people have decent drinking water. Build roads until – until we rebuild them, you know, making sure they’re where the environment is now – and no – we have to rebuild them better. Child care. Solidarity economy. Care for the elderly. The things the American public wants the most.
Dude, look – and provide high speed internet to all Americans. Provide clean water, as I said, to all Americans.
Build more resilient power grids. Installation of electric vehicle charging stations – over 500,000. The largest investment in public transit since Amtrak was created 50 years ago.
But it’s, my father’s notion, about creating well-paying American jobs for millions of middle and working class people. And it’s about our economic competitiveness.
You know, as – as the Democratic Party, I think we’re going to be able to say, in these off-year elections, as the president said, that we can deliver. We can deliver for the American people. We can bring the country together. We can make a difference in their lives.
And, you know, it’s about including everyone this time around – black, Latino, Asian American, Native American communities – because I said the administration and our efforts would reflect what looked like the country.
And like I said, we are in the race for the 21st century economy and the rest of the world is not hanging around and waiting. We have to go fast.
And the bottom line, for me, is this: we signal – we signal to the rest of the world and to ourselves that we can function, we can deliver, we can do important things. And we have a lot more to do as we invest in physical infrastructure, also invest in human infrastructure, child care, paid time off, universal kindergarten up to two years of – and two years of community college. .
When I hear about âWell, you know, it’s not – it’s not investingâ – well let me tell you when I was vice president I was asked to do a survey of the Secretary of Commerce of the five 500 CEOs – Fortune 500 to see what their greatest needs are. We have the 340-some. You know what they said, almost to a person? They said, âWe need a better educated audience. Well, they don’t educate the public. So what are we going to do?
If I told you tomorrow, “We can keep outrageous tax cuts for the super rich” – and many of you are – “or we can make every child, from three, four and five years, either in kindergarten, no daycare, and they have access to community college, so we are the best educated public in the world, “Which do you think will best promote the growth of the country? You know what it is? ‘is.
So listen, let me close. I’m – I’m taking too long. I want to meet each of you. But, look, we need – the most important thing we have to do is protect the voting system, protect the sacred right to vote. He’s attacked in a way that I haven’t seen in my entire career. And I was the guy who managed to get the voting rights law extended 25 years ago, when I was chairman of the judiciary commission. And it wasn’t until the Supreme Court came in and said, âNo, no, you don’t need it anymore. ”
It is about who can vote and whether the vote counts, and who can count that vote. We have a system that does both of these things with independence and integrity. But what Republicans want to do is say a political party decides whether a vote counts. It’s scandalous. We are going to fight like hell to prevent this from happening. It is one of the most important things we can do.
There is a lot of work ahead. It is not going to be easy. But I’m gonna need you to do it. The DNC is going to need you. And because – here’s the deal: we won in 2020 as a unified party. As we look to 2022, we must stand united. The question Americans are going to ask themselves is whether we are helping them and their families and do we understand what they are going through; do we understand their problem; can we deliver for them.
You know, as Democrats we have to show that we understand, number one; we deliver, number two; and we keep our promise. We just have to keep standing up for our cause – just as the Republican Party today offers nothing but fear, lies and broken promises. We must continue to break through the Republican fog – that government is not the problem, and show that we, the people – we, the people, are still the solution.
We are the most unique country in the history of the world. You’ve heard me say that before. We’re the only country that’s organized around an idea – an idea, not religion, ethnicity, geography – the idea that we take these truths for granted, that all men and women women are equal critics, endowed – you know the rest.
But you have to be able to vote. It is the most important thing we can do. And we’re going to have to win races from top to bottom of the ticket.
You know, in 2018 I was away, but I campaigned in 58 districts – congressional districts, they said we couldn’t win. We have reconquered the United States Congress.
And, listen, if we make the right decision over the next few years, 50 years from now people will look back and say, âThat was when America won the 21st century. I really believe it. But we can’t do it without you. You know, we have to prove that democracies can work.
I will conclude by saying – and the online press has heard me say this before – that Xi Jinping, and – with whom I have met for hours and hours – over 25 hours – 24 hours alone. When I won, he called me to congratulate me. We spent two hours and, I think, almost 25 minutes on the phone.
He and other autocrats believe that in the modern world things change so quickly, so quickly that democracies cannot pull themselves together and unite to compete with – with autocratic governments. He really believes it. And he decided that they were going to be the most powerful military force in the world, and the largest economy and most organized economy in the world by 2045.
We must demonstrate that democracies can work and protect. And I think it’s going to impact our influence in the world more than anything.
That’s why we have to do some of these things with others to do it – do it. And I am convinced that there is not much we cannot do. I think the country is ready. And thanks to you, I think we will be able to do it.
But I want to thank you all. Thanks for everything you have done. And, you know, we have to prove that we can make democracy work again. That’s what it’s about.
So God bless you all for what you have done and what you are going to do. And may God protect our troops.
7:29 p.m. EDT