Joe Biden: “I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I’m going to govern as an American president.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke in Milwaukee on October 30th, making the case for a competent federal government run by decent people who care about ordinary Americans.

The only thing that can tear America apart is America itself, and that’s exactly what Donald Trump has been doing from the beginning of his campaign. Dividing America, pitting Americans against one another based on race, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity. It’s wrong. That’s not who we are. Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Let’s let them know who we are, who we are in the last four days. We choose hope over fear, unity over division, science over fiction, and yes, truth over lies.

I believe when you use your power, the power to vote, you can change the course of the country. So folks, it’s time to stand up and take back our democracy. We can do this.

Transcript from (unedited, Joe Biden comments only)

Joe Biden: (14:08)
I hope you got masks on everyone. It’s cold. Hello Milwaukee, it’s good to be back. I’ll tell you what, they told me it’s going to be indoors. You’re a hardy bunch in Milwaukee. Sheriff, how are you doing? Look, Terrence, thank you. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for your exercising your power as a young voter first time. You’re an inspiration man, and I want you to know that a lot of us in here growing up as kids understood what is like to know bullies.

Joe Biden: (15:04)
I had planned on saying this in light of your introduction, Sheriff and Tom [Barrett, Milwaukee mayor]’s heard me say this before. When I was a kid, I used to stutter. You want to learn what bullies are like, be a stuttering kid, talk like that everybody thinks they can make fun of you. So I’m used to bullies. Matter of fact, they used to have a nickname in school, Tom. They used to call me Shoe Leather. The reason they call me Shoe Leather, I was a little [inaudible 00:03:32], but you could beat me, but I’d hurt you. It’s like [inaudible 00:15:36] a shoe leather.

Joe Biden: (15:37)
But I’ll tell you what, I think you made a great metaphor about what’s going on here. You’re making your family really proud. And Joanne, I want to thank you for all you do to lift up this community, bringing pride and dignity and jobs in Milwaukee. My dad used to have an expression, he lost his job in Scranton, Pennsylvania when I was a kid and he took us to my grand pops, my mom’s dad, my grand mom was passed. And so he said you’re going to live here for about a year. I’m going to commute every day from Scranton, Pennsylvania, down to Wilmington, Delaware, where there’s jobs, Joey and when I get one, I’ll be back for you, and your mom, and your brother and your sister.

Joe Biden: (16:23)
My sister is with me today too, where’s my sister, Valerie? She’s my best friend in the world. Anyway, Val. And he said, it’s only 157 miles away. Wilmington, Delaware. He’d come home every weekend. And when we got down to Wilmington and he finally got a job, that we could bring us down and be able to rent an apartment, he used to always have an expression Sheriff, he’d say, “You know Joey, a job’s 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 look your kid in the eye and say, “Honey, it’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay.””

Joe Biden: (17:06)
As Gwen knows, not an awful lot of people out there right now. A lot of hard working people who can’t say it’s going to be okay, they’re in trouble. Statistics show, for example that over 50% of the American people think actually it’s 49% to be precise, got a bill for 400 bucks in one month they didn’t anticipate, they’d have to borrow the money or sell something. So a lot of people were still hurting. And Gwen, let’s send her back because I tell you what, she is a voice from Milwaukee, a voice from the country, and I’m sure glad you’re on my side, kid. Sure glad you’re on my side because I’m on yours.

Joe Biden: (17:46)
I want to thank you all for welcoming me today and Tom, you’ve been a good friend and for a long time, thank you pal. Tom endorsed me when they said Joe Who’s running for what? Anyway, but thank you, Tom. And Sheriff Lucas and Sheriff Mahoney, and Ambassador John [Frenz 00:06:06], I want to thank you all for being here, there you are. Okay.

Joe Biden: (18:09)
Look, it’s great to be back with you. Folks, there’s only four days left. Millions of Americans have already voted. They’re telling me now it’s up to about 85 million Americans have already voted and millions more are going to vote before this election is over.

Joe Biden: (18:26)
And I believe when you use your power, the power to vote, you can change the course of the country and quite frankly, right now the course of the world, because it’s leaderless now. We’re going to start right here in Wisconsin. If Tom remembers, I came up here to campaign for Hillary and for a whole lot of reasons, not all which were her fault ended up not taking it as seriously. We thought it was different. I’ve been here a lot. And by the way, when I got elected, if I get elected, I’m coming back, Tom.

Joe Biden: (18:59)
Look at these final days, we got to keep our sense of empowerment here. A sense of optimism. What we can do together. But I know it’s hard. More than 225,000 people, I think it’s 229 as I speak, have already lost their lives to COVID-19. 2,000 here in Wisconsin, 600 here in Milwaukee County, each one immortalized by an empty chair this morning at breakfast or tonight at dinner. An empty chair at MacArthur Square. And now folks are getting hit by a new big wave of infections across the country.

Joe Biden: (19:41)
This week, Wisconsin, like other states set a new record for daily cases. Hospitals are running short on beds, just had to open a field hospital. That’s what we’re facing. We’ve now had nine million cases in the United States of America. We make up 4% of the world’s population,, we have 20% of the world’s deaths, nine million new cases nationwide, another tragic milestone, millions of people out of work, on the edge, and they can’t see the light, they’re not sure how dark it’s going to remain.

Joe Biden: (20:22)
Wisconsin is down 20,000 manufacturing jobs since this pandemic began. And the thing that bothers me the most was a president who gave up. Over the weekend, his chief of staff said what we knew. “We’re not going to control the pandemic.” We’re not going to control the pandemic.

Joe Biden: (20:46)
Yet last week when I debated the president, he said, quote, “We’re rounding the corner. It’s going away. We’re learning to live with it.” You may remember what I said it may have been viewed as harsh by some. Told him, we’re not learning to live with it, you’re asking us to learning to die with it, because people continue to die. It’s estimated that over 200,000 more people will die between now and the end of the year by the leading experts who haven’t been wrong yet.

Joe Biden: (21:16)
Did you hear what he said today? He said today at a rally that our doctors are the problem because they’re putting their lives on the line, busting their necks, he said, they’re making up deaths from COVID-19 because they get more money. They’re making up deaths. People aren’t really dying from COVID, they’re dying from other things, but they’re saying it’s COVID to make the numbers go up. My Lord.

Joe Biden: (21:51)
By the way, is Monica [Wadry 00:21:53] here? Monica is an ICU nurse. I spent some time with Monica on the phone and her two kids and Monica told me what my son-in-law who’s a doc in Philly told me when this all began. While we’re waiting for PPP, the mask, and the gowns, and all the gear, so many docs, so many nurses, so many first responders after they did their job were afraid to go home because they’d take it home, the virus home to their children.

Joe Biden: (22:27)
Monica told me how her husband would wait in the garage so she could change and put on a [inaudible 00:22:32] before she went in the house and shower. So many people, over a thousand Monicas have given their lives trying to save other lives. And this guy says that they’re raking it up because they want to make more money.

Joe Biden: (22:51)
Doctors and nurses go to work every single day, Donald Trump should stop attacking them and start doing his job. This is the same man who told us, when he was told about four weeks ago, three or four weeks ago that we’re losing a thousand lives a day, remember what he said? He said it is what it is. Ain’t that useful? It is what it is. Well, it is what it is because he is who he is. That’s the problem.

Joe Biden: (23:23)
Donald Trump waved the white flag, surrendered to the virus. But the American people don’t give up. We don’t give in. Unlike Donald Trump, we’re not going to surrender to this virus. We’re simply not going to surrender. Look, I put in place a plan with this pandemic responsibly. I’ve set it up back in May, and then again in June, and in July, the way we can bring this country together around testing, tracing and masking. It’s estimated by leading doctors in America that if we just wore these masks for the remainder of this calendar year-

Joe Biden: (24:02)
For the remainder of this calendar year, we could save up to another 100,000 lives. Dr. Fauci, who’s been not treated very well by the President, who’s been with three other presidents in the same role, one of the most respected guys in the world, he’s called for a basket mandate. This isn’t a political statement of us wearing these masks. For God’s sake, it’s a patriotic duty.

Joe Biden: (24:29)
The reason you’re wearing the mask is not to save yourself, but to save your neighbor, the person across from you, the person who you’re next to. But still Donald Trump refuses to listen to the science. He’s politicized the race for vaccine as well. Instead of planning for its safe, equitable, and free distribution, what’s he doing? He’s talking about things that are just not in the rumble possibility, “We’ll have this by September. We’ll have it by…” it goes on.

Joe Biden: (25:04)
Look folks, he refused to bring leaders, by the way, of both parties together. You know, the House of Representatives, Gwen can tell you, has already passed three major pieces of legislation, two CARES Act, and then the Heroes Act, provides all the money that is necessary to safely open schools and businesses, and do it in a way that they can stay open. But it costs money, look at all the people who’ve gone out of business, all of the small businesses.

Joe Biden: (25:37)
We know how to open business, we know what to do it safely, but it costs, to open our schools nationwide, it’s estimated it’ll cost $200 billion to do it safely, to provide everybody with the PPE, [inaudible 00:25:50] everybody, change the ventilation systems, make sure you have separators, make sure you are in a position where we have the sanitary conditions that are wiped down, smaller classes, more teachers. But what are we doing? The money’s already been there, they’ve already passed it. What’s happened? The President hasn’t got out of his golf bunker in his golf course in the summer, or the bunker in the White House since then to bring people together.

Joe Biden: (26:23)
Look, find anybody Democrat or Republican, who served in the Congress, the Senate, the House, ask them can ever remember a time when there’s been a national crisis, and this is a national crisis, but the President hasn’t brought them all together, and said, “We’re staying here until we fix this. We’re going to work it out.” He hadn’t even talked to y’all.

Joe Biden: (26:49)
Look folks, we’re going to bring the Republicans and Democrats together, and deliver economic relief for working families, and schools, and businesses; I promise you. I know how to do this. As I said before, I’m not going to shut down the economy. I’m going to shut down the virus.

Joe Biden: (27:08)
Look, Donald Trump inherited a strong economy from Barack and me, but he squandered that economy, just like he squatted everything he’s inherited. Frankly I’ve dealt with guys like Trump my whole life, guys who think they’re better than you because they have a lot of money, look down on you because they live in a better home. But tell you what, we understand, we understand how this works. Folks, the people who built this country weren’t Wall Street, and investment bankers, and CEOs, they were hard working Americans, middle class folks, working class folks, who built the middle class, and unions built the middle class.

Joe Biden: (27:57)
We know, as Gwen said, we can build back better, with an economy that rewards work not well. Right now it rewards wealth, not work. We can do without raising taxes on any [inaudible 00:28:10] working person in the middle-class. I give you my word as a Biden, if you make less than $400,000, if I’m elected president, you’re not going to see a penny of your taxes go up, not a penny.

Joe Biden: (28:23)
He keeps lying about my plan, but I tell you what, I’m going to ask the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations, by the way 91 of the fortune 500 companies pay no tax at all, zero, zero tax. They make billions of dollars.

Joe Biden: (28:45)
Folks, it’s about time people start paying their fair share. It’s not a punishment. Pay your fair share. Why should a firefighter, why should a sheriff, why should a cop, why shouldn’t educator, why should a nurse pay a higher tax rate, which you do, then they pay? You do that, you pay a higher tax rate.

Joe Biden: (29:09)
And by the way, why should you pay more taxes than Donald Trump? 750 bucks. This guy loves talking about corruption. I’ve released 22 years of my tax returns. You can go online and see them. And guess what? He hadn’t released one single year of his tax returns. What the hell was he hiding? What’s in there? Working families and middle-class people, you need help, they need help. Particularly first-time home buyers, being able to pay for a healthcare premium, childcare, carefree for your aging loved ones.

Joe Biden: (29:51)
Just to get a new hot water, and I don’t know about you, but the kitchen tables I was raised around, you’re sitting there, and I can hear my dad now, “Well, we can’t get those four new tires, you’re going to have to ride on those bald tires a little while longer till we get by next month; when that hot water heater goes out, what are we going to do?” Who’s going to tell her she can’t go back to the community college because you don’t have the money. They are the conversations taking place all across America today, and what’s Trump trying to do? Raise your cost for standard of living.

Joe Biden: (30:26)
He’s going to be in the Supreme Court, even if we win, he’ll still be the Supreme Court, in nine days, or 10 days, asking the Supreme Court, with our new justice, who was put on the court for the purpose of destroying the Affordable Care Act, to rip it out root and branch, eliminate it all.

Joe Biden: (30:52)
If they get their way, 100 million Americans will lose protections for preexisting conditions, including 2.5 million Wisconsinites, 2.5. So if you have diabetes, you ever had cancer, if you had breast… whatever it is, whatever your previous condition, you won’t be able to afford it because they can jack up the price beyond your capacity. Women will once again, once again, be charged more for the same health care that a man is charged for just because they’re a woman. People forget that that’s what it was before we passed the Affordable Care Act.

Joe Biden: (31:34)
Look, Donald Trump thinks healthcare is a privilege; I think it’s a right people should have. If we all get out and vote, we’ll not only restore Obamacare, but we’ll strengthen and build on it. So you can keep your private insurance, or you could choose a Medicare-like option that will add to Obamacare, which we tried, which we wanted to do the first time, but couldn’t get the votes. We’ll increase subsidies to lower your premiums and deductibles, out of pocket spending, and surprise billings.

Joe Biden: (32:08)
And we will reduce the cost of prescriptions by 60%. I’m not making that up. That comes from saying, we’re going to insist, and we have the votes to do it in this next election, that Medicare can negotiate with the drug companies to say how much they’re going to be willing to pay for whatever drug they have. Look, folks, we’re going to make sure we keep the protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Joe Biden: (32:33)
Meanwhile, social security, the actuary of social security has said, if Donald Trump gets reelected, he says he’s going to change social security, based on the changes he wants to make the actuary and social security said, “Social security will be bankrupt by 2023.” I’m not making this stuff up, it’s real. Folks, I’m going to protect social security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And guess what? He’s not going to be able to do it because we’re going to win this election.

Joe Biden: (33:08)
Look, let’s not forget how weak Donald Trump has been, and chaotic. He talks about trade policy, my God, what a disaster he’s been. Trump’s trade policy has decimated, devastated the Wisconsin dairy industry. In 2017 to 2019, Wisconsin lost 15% of its dairy farms, and last year Wisconsin lost more dairy farms in any state in the nation. Since the start of the trade war, Wisconsin has seen mass lay off surge by 25%. And even before COVID hit, Wisconsin saw big declines in manufacturing jobs.

Joe Biden: (33:56)
After Trump rolled out his irresponsible tax giveaways, Harley Davidson slashed 800 manufacturing jobs, repurchased almost $700 million of its own stock so the corporate heads could get and make a lot more money, and none of it went to the employees, and then shifted some of its production overseas; so much for helping.

Joe Biden: (34:23)
Look, my policies… Right now, by the way, the deficit with China is higher than it was in our administration. Look, at the end of the Trump tax loopholes that incentivized companies to ship jobs overseas, these new laws just got passed for real, adds 10%, I’m going to add a 10% surtax to any company to ships jobs overseas. And companies that invest and strengthen the American manufacturing, or bring jobs back home, we’re going to offer a 10% tax credit.

Joe Biden: (34:55)
And by the way, the president of United States awards over $600 billion in contracts a year for our military, for all the things we build, federal buildings, well it’s not a violation of any trade law, no one’s done it, but I promise you I’m going to do it; not a single solitary contract will be awarded, unless all the products used by that contractor are made in America, all of them, right here in America.

Joe Biden: (35:28)
And by the way, when I talk about my economic plan, it’s not some liberal think tank that talks about how good it is; Moody’s, a Wall Street major firms pointed out, after looking at my plan for the economy and his, that we will create 18.6 million jobs under the Biden plan, a trillion dollars more in GDP than Trump. Folks look, the fact is that we’re now in a situation where this President is in a-

Joe Biden: (36:03)
We’re now in a situation where this President is in a position that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. If you notice, if you notice what Donald Trump has spent a lot of time doing, he spent a lot of time rolling out irresponsible corporate tax cuts. In the meantime, do you realize that during this pandemic, the billionaires in America, billionaires, they’re all listed, have made over $300 billion more? $300 billion more? How about you guys? You’re all doing great, right? You got all that money. Look, folks. We’re in a situation where the President now finds himself… The thing that bothers me most about all he’s done is the way he talks about our military being suckers and losers. Think about this. A lot of you women and men served in the military. A lot of us [inaudible 00:36:58] served. My son Bo gave up the Attorney General’s job in the state of Delaware to volunteer to go to Iraq for a year. He won the Bronze Star, the conspicuous service medal. He came home with cancer after being near [inaudible 00:00:37:14]. He came home anyway. He was given months to live, and guess what? He wasn’t a loser. He wasn’t a sucker. He was a patriot, just like your sons and daughters, your parents and grandparents. Look, folks. If you ever wonder, Trump keeps talking about how strong he is. He’s strong and the rest of the nations listen to him. Everybody’s afraid of him. Well, let me tell you what. He’s the first President I’m aware of in American history that six generals, including his former Chief of Staff, six of them left, resigned, and said he wasn’t fit to be Commander in Chief.

Joe Biden: (37:59)
General Stanley McChrystal, Special Operations Commander. He’s the guy oversaw the Bin Laden raid. Bill McRaven, and 22, he oversaw. He was a SEAL. He head up the SEALs. And 22 4-Stars have endorsed me, saying they trust me to be the next Commander in Chief of the United States Military. Folks, it’s about respect. It’s about support, and that’s why the Military Times, which his staff tried to wipe out, Military Times just wrote an article saying more active duty troops support Biden than Trump. So much for the guy who talks about what a tough guy he is and why everybody listens to him. Look, that’s why we have to support the military, and we have to make sure we considerably invest more, which I don’t have to take the time to talk to you tonight about, but invest significantly more in dealing with the Veterans Administration.

Joe Biden: (39:08)
While Donald Trump fails to condemn white supremacy, we can vote to deliver racial justice. Folks, a season of protest has broken out all over this nation, and protesting is not burning and looting and violence, and must never be tolerated and won’t. That’s not protesting. But those protests are cries for justice. The names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, they’re not going to soon be forgotten. Not by me, not by us, not by this country. We have to vote to meet the challenge of climate crisis as well. More frequent, extreme weather. Literally, the planet’s at stake. We’re told the number of years before it’s irreversible is getting narrower and narrower. The West is on fire. More forest land has been burned to the ground than the entire square miles of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.

Joe Biden: (40:11)
The Midwest is flooding. Here in Wisconsin, extreme weather incurs big cost for your infrastructure. Lake Michigan set a record high this past January, and the South and East hurricanes are more severe. Oceans are rising. My state’s only three feet above sea level, literally. People are worried what happens if we don’t change this. Folks, Donald Trump thinks that when you say climate change, he says hoax. Well, this stable genius, as he calls himself, also thinks that wind power causes cancer. The way to stop hurricanes coming across the warm Atlantic from Africa is to maybe drop a nuclear bomb on them. The same stable genius said the problem we had in the Revolutionary War, we didn’t have enough airports. And of the Revolutionary War, God saved the… Anyway.

Joe Biden: (41:09)
Look, when I hear climate change, I think the health of our children, the security of the planet, and I also think it creates jobs. Jobs here in Wisconsin, all across the country. Folks, combating climate change means saving the planet, protecting our health, and creating millions of good-paying jobs, union jobs right here in Milwaukee and all across America. We can change the path we’re on, but we have to act now, because we can’t afford four more years of Donald Trump. This election, I promise you, your grandkids are going to write about how it set the path for at least the generation here in America.

Joe Biden: (41:55)
You know, in 2008 and 2012, we came to y’all, Barack and me, and we asked for your help. You helped us, and each day we were in office, we worked for you and the entire country. I’m going to do that again. My 2020 campaign is a broad coalition. We welcome Democrats and Republicans and Independents. I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I’m going to govern as an American president. There will be no blue States or red States, just the United States. I’ll work as hard for those who vote against me as those who voted for me, because that’s what a president is supposed to do. The duty to care. The duty to care for everyone.

Joe Biden: (42:44)
Look, you too have a sacred duty to vote. It matters. Wisconsin matters. So if you haven’t already, and most of you probably have, make a plan, vote. Get out the vote. If you’ve already voted, get your mom, dad, brother, sister, neighbor. Get them to vote. Go to You’ve got to get it done to make sure everyone knows where to vote, when to vote. Look, a press article yesterday, speaking of Donald Trump, two days ago, actually, said, and I quote, “Never before in modern presidential politics has a candidate been so reliant on wide-scale efforts to depress the vote as Donald Trump.” So let’s be careful here. Guess what? He’s not going to be able to stop us, not at all. As I said, he’ll not silence the over 85 million people who have already voted. They’ve had enough. People are coming out in droves, waiting three, four, five, six hours in other states just to vote. Let me conclude by saying I’l never forget the phrase used by President Kennedy when he decided to send us to the moon, get to the moon. He said, when asked why, he said, “We refuse to postpone. We’re the United States of America. We refuse to postpone the incredible opportunities available to the American people.” I refuse to postpone the enormous possibilities we have. I’ve been around a while, but I’d never been more optimistic about America’s chances than I am today. I really mean it. There’s nothing beyond our capacity. Nothing. There’s no limit to what America can do. We’re the only country in the history of the world that’s come out of every crisis stronger than when we went in.

Joe Biden: (44:53)
The only thing that can tear America apart is America itself, and that’s exactly what Donald Trump has been doing from the beginning of his campaign, last time out. Dividing America, pitting Americans against one another based on race, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity. It’s wrong. That’s not who we are. Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Let’s let them know who we are, who we are in the last four days. We choose hope over fear, unity over division, science over fiction, and yes, truth over lies.

Joe Biden: (45:40)
So folks, it’s time to stand up and take back our democracy. We can do this. We’ll be better than we been. We can be who we want to be at our best, the United States of America. I promise you, we can do this. You helped me get there. I promise you, I’ll take responsibility. When I make a mistake, I’ll acknowledge it, but I will take responsibility and I won’t let you down. God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. Thank you for your patience. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. All right. Thanks, everybody. I appreciate it. You’ve got to be freezing.


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