JUPITER, Fla. — Below are President Joe Biden's remarks during a campaign fundraiser at the Pelican Club in Jupiter:
"Let me start with the simplest message: From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You're the reason. You're the reason I'm president. I came from a background — didn't have much time to practice, but I was a trial lawyer. Spent a little bit of time before I got into politics almost accidentally. But it was the right decision for me. You're the reason Kamala Harris is a historic vice president. And you're the reason Donald Trump is a defeated president — former president. And you're the reason we're going to make him a loser again.
Folks, look, you're all lawyers who care deeply about the rule of law. You're on the frontlines of fairness and justice in defending our very democracy. It matters. In 2020, I ran because I thought everything in this country that it — it stood for, believed in — was at stake. I said at the time when I ran — and initially, people looked at me like, 'Are you serious?' I said, 'We're going to — I'm running to restore the soul of America.' You know, and they'd say, 'What do you mean? What do you mean, Joe? What do you mean when you say democracy is at risk? What do you mean when you say we're in a battle for the soul of America?' Well, people don't ask me that question anymore. I don't think — I don't think today anyone doubts democracy is at stake — was at stake — in 2020. And thank God, because of the supporters like you, we won.
Just think back to the mess Donald Trump left this country: a pandemic — a pandemic and the economy with raging — with only a couple thousand people being have — having been vaccinated; an economy that was reeling. Look how far we've come. We vaccinated the vast bulk of America. We got through that pandemic with less than 200 million — with less than 2 million people being vaccinated when I came to office. Today, 270 million Americans have gotten COVID vaccine.
We created a record 14 million new jobs — brand new jobs — to get the economy going strong again. And we passed the American Rescue Plan, which put $14 — $1,400 checks in people's pockets at a time of enormous need. And on top of that, $300 checks per child per month in hardworking families in America and thousands of dollars for people's pockets through a real crisis. And, folks, guess what? It grows the economy. It doesn't — it's not — doesn't cost the taxpayers money. It grows the economy — economic growth. And I said that at the time. You stuck with me, and it turned out to be true. We've demonstrated it. That money helped cut child poverty in half in America.
You know, we know we have to do more, and not everyone is feeling the consequences yet of the investments in progress. But the headlines in the papers are trying to — finally breaking through here. Inflation is now lower in America than any other country in the world — any other country in the world. And in recent weeks, we started seeing real evidence that the American consumer is feeling real confidence in the economy that we're building.
Just this morning, we learned that consumer confidence surged to its highest level in over two years. The Washington Post headline this weekend said, quote, 'Falling inflation and rising growth give U.S. the world's best recovery' — the world's best recovery. Let me tell you who else is noticing this: Donald Trump. He recently said, 'When there's a crash, I hope it will be in the next 12 months.' The (former) president of the United States hopes the crash will be in the next 12 months. It's unbelievable. I think it's close to un-American. How can anyone — especially a former president — wish for an economic crash that would devastate millions of Americans?
Here's what he really means: Donald Trump knows our economy is really strong and getting stronger. And almost every major economist in the world is pointing to America as a success story. He knows that while it's good for America, it's bad for him politically if we continue to succeed. Trump also is the one president who doesn't want to — he said, 'I don't want to be like Herbert Hoover.' That's what he said. But I got bad news for him. As I told him earlier, 'He's already Herbert Hoover.' He's the only president, other than Herbert Hoover, who has lost jobs — more jobs — than he had — he had fewer jobs when he left office than when he came to office. Yes, Donald 'Herbert Hoover' Trump.
But, look, I promised, for the bulk of my career, I spent in the United States Senate, taking on 'Big Pharma.' You realize you have a prescription for any drug you need from prescription — product made in America, I can take you to Toronto, to Paris, to London, to Brussels, anywhere in the world, and get you that product for somewhere between 40 and 60 percent less than it costs here. And I tried like the devil to take on Pharma through Medicare. We spend billions of dollars a year on Medicare payments, paying Pharma for the drugs we provide for the elderly. But guess what? We didn't make it until now. I said we'd beat them, and we finally did.
Have anybody you know — I'm not asking you to raise your hand if you're a diabetic, but you know somebody who is a diabetic, raise your hand. It used to cost 400 bucks a month or more for that insulin. It's now $35 a month. And, by the way, they're still making three and a half times what it cost them to make it. It costs $10 to make that insulin — $10. And the guy who invented it didn't patent it because he wanted everybody to have access to it. If you add in the cost of making it up and packaging it, maybe as high as $12 or $13. They're still making — you know, $35 a month. And, by the way, initially, when I got it passed, I had got it passed for everybody, not just people on Medicare. But guess what? My Republican friends blocked it. They didn't think people should be able to get it unless you're on Medicare. They didn't vote for that either.
But here's the deal — here's the deal. We're saving the taxpayers billions of dollars — billions of dollars. Not only is a person paying 35 bucks a month now instead of 400 bucks a month or more. Guess what? It means the taxpayer is not writing a check to the drug company from Medicare — because of Medicare — for federal tax dollars to pay for that. And by the way, when we did it, we ended up being able to cut the deficit, not raise the deficit.
But with your vote in 2024, we're going to make sure everyone qualifies.
Out-of-pocket costs for seniors for all prescription drugs when — the first bill we passed — is going to be limited to $2,000, no matter how expensive their total prescriptions are -- beginning in 2024.
The reason for that — I know this is a very sophisticated audience — unfortunately, you know, people are paying 10, 12, 14, 15,000 bucks a month for cancer drugs — cancer treatment. Well, no one is going to have to pay more than a total of $2,000 a month. It matters.
I promised we'd — we'd ease the accumulation of student debt in America, what millions of Americans carried during the economic crisis of the pandemic and (inaudible, microphone malfunction). Well, we found another way to help those folks. The Supreme Court said I couldn't forgive student debt. Well, guess what? I went back and I found a way to do it legally without them questioning anything.
We've now forgiven the debt of more than 3.7 million people — $130 billion in relief and counting.
I fixed what's called the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. It said that if you were in public service — whether you're a teacher, a firefighter, nurse, social worker, et cetera — your loan could be forgiven if you paid for 10 years in a row and never missed a payment. Well, guess what? Now that's happening. And public services — and we're able to forgive that debt.
It's changing people's lives. And by the way, it's growing the economy. What are those kids doing? What are those young (people) — they're not so young anymore, many of them. They are in a situation where they can now finally have a down payment for their first home. They can begin to start that new business. They can take care of accumulated debt. It's taken. It's having a profound impact.
By the time I took office, the program had been in place for nearly 15 years, but because of red tape, only 7,000 people had even been helped by this program. But thanks to those reforms, instead 700,000 people have had their debt forgiven since then.
Look, and all of you lawyers know how lucky America would be when I kept the promise to appoint the first Black woman to the United States Supreme Court — and I kept it — Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
And my introducer pointed out I've appointed judges — a lot of judges. I've — I was chairman of Judiciary Committee for a long time. It's critical.
We've now appointed over 174 judges to the federal court. We've appointed more Black women to the federal Court of Appeals than every other president in the United States history combined — combined.
And we put trial attorneys on the bench — trial attorneys on the bench, and we put public defenders on the bench, and, like I said, we have 171 brand new judges on the federal courts.
Folks, we have a lot more work to do. But I've never been more optimistic about our future. And I really mean that sincerely.
Look, for example, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I signed, there are now 40,000 infrastructure projects underway in America with a lot more to come.
Remember, Trump had 'Infrastructure Week' every week and never built a thing? Well, we're building our roads — rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our ports, our airports. And we're bringing affordable high-speed Internet to everywhere in America — everywhere.
We're ripping out every lead pipe that's been in place in America so every child can turn on the faucet, drink what they need to drink without worrying about brain damage.
We passed the most significant gun safety law in a decade. And I will not stop until I once again been able to win the assault weapons ban. I blocked it once; it came back. We're going to ban assault weapons in America. There's no need for them.
And we're saving the planet with the most significant investment in climate change ever anywhere in the history of the world — literally anywhere. In my presidency, we tripled the sales of electric vehicles. We built a national network of 500,000 EV charging stations. We put on the path to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2030. That's the trajectory.
Now imagine the nightmare if Trump is returned to office.
The recent deadly school shooting in Perry, Iowa, where three kids — three people were killed, including one — one sixth-grader and a school principal. What — what did he have to say? It's hard to believe what — what he said. He said, when they asked him what he thought about it, he said, quote, 'You just got to 'get over it.'
I'm not making this up. It's almost — it's almost unbelievable. You just got to 'get over it.' But we're not going to get over it. We're going to stop it. We're going to stop it.
Trump and his MAGA friends want to repeal the historical climate legislation. Well, maybe they don't think this climate change is real. But the rest of us know sure in hell it is real. And now, after trying and failing more than 60 times — 60 times with he and his MAGA friends in the Congress to get rid of the Affordable Care Act — guess what? He's at it again.
And by the way, people don't have a lot of money and need insurance. They would not be able to get any of this insurance because they have a preexisting condition but for the Affordable Care Act. That's the only reason — the only reason — people with preexisting conditions, and they want to take it away.
And seniors in Florida and all across America should know this: Trump and his MAGA friends are determined to take away the $35 a month insulin, which we just got passed in law, as well as a $2,000 cap on prescription drugs.
Instead of saving Social Security and Medicare, Trump wants once again to give another billion-dollar — multibillion-dollar — tax cut to the super-wealthy and big corporations.
I come from the corporate state of the world, Delaware. More corporations in Delaware than any other state — all — every other state in the union combined.
I'm not anti-corporation, but they should at least pay their fair share. Just pay their fair share.
And, by the way, you know, we now have — we now have — it's not a bad thing, per se — we now have a thousand billionaires in America. You know what their average tax rate is — federal tax? 8.2%. 8.2%.
If they just paid 28%, which is less than all you are paying, if they just paid 28%, we'd have $40 billion to do a whole lot of things that would save a lot of money, save a lot of programs, reduce taxes overall for everybody else.
Trump and his MAGA friends are determined to take away your freedoms as well. They've already — doing it with voting rights. They're under attack. You see it every day, everywhere in the country.
Trump is now bragging about having overturned Roe v. Wade — 'I'm responsible for overturning Roe v. Wade' — taking away a woman's freedom to choose.
Now, they're planning, beyond that, a national ban. The MAGA Republicans are saying there's going to be a national ban on abortion across every state in America — ban. Well, guess what? I made it real clear: If the MAGA Republicans try to pass a national ban to the right to choose, I will veto it.
And if you elect — reelect me and Kamala with a Democratic House and a bigger Senate majority, I'm going to restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land across the board. I'm serious, and I believe we can do it.
Look, let me close with this. Trump and his MAGA friends are dividing us up, not uniting us; dragging us back to the past, not leading us to the future; refusing to accept the results of a legitimate election.
I mean, I sit — if you can hold a second — I just sit in my office. I walk down a little hall, and there's a little dining room there. He sat in that dining room for hours watching what happened on January the 6th. Just watching. It's called insurrection.
And Trump says, quote, he's — and he's seeking to, quote, 'terminate elements of the United States Constitution,' threatening — threatening our — to embrace — and he embraces political violence.
Look, the one thing about an American democracy that's clear: Violence is never, never, never appropriate in an electoral process. But he talks about it, threatening our very democracy.
Folks, the truth is there are lies and there is truth. We have to make clear where we stand -- that we stand with the truth -- and we’ll defeat his lies.
We have to make clear that, in America, we still believe in honesty, decency, treating people with some dignity and respect.
My dad used to have an expression, for real. My dad was a hardworking guy. He was a well-read man who didn't get to go to college because of what happened because of World War II. And he'd always say, 'Joey' — this is the God's truth, my word as a Biden. He'd say, 'Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about your dignity. It's about respect. It's about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, 'Honey, it's going to be OK,' and mean it.
We believe everybody deserves a shot. Everybody deserves an even shot.
That's why I decided, instead of trickle-down economics — the reason why it's working and you have major, major mainstream economists agreeing with me now — that the best way to build America is from the middle out and the bottom up. Because when they do that, then the — what you have is you have the poor have a shot and the wealthy still do very well.
And, you know, let me end by saying we're — I found the easiest way to describe where I think we are. We're unique in all the world. And that sounds like chauvinism about America, but we are the most unique country in the world based on our founding. Every other country — every other country in the world is based on ethnicity, religion, geography.
The United States is based on an idea — the only nation in the world — and it's: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all women and men are created equal, endowed by their creator with...'
We've never lived up to it. We've never fully walked away from it.
In America, we leave nobody behind. We believe everyone deserves just a fair shot. That's all. And we give hate no safe harbor. We believe in America.
And we know what's at stake. We have to keep the White House. We have to keep the Senate. We have to win back the House and win up and down the ticket in local offices.
Because here in Florida, you've had a real dose of 'Trump-ism,' and — unusual guy.
But here in Florida, we have to organize, mobilize the vote. I think we can win Florida. I think the Democrats can win in Florida.
And when we do that, we'll be able to look back and say something that few generations are able to say: When American democracy was at risk, like it is now, we saved it.
We just have to remember who in God's name we are. We’re the United States of America, for God's sake.
There's nothing beyond our — you know, I mean this sincerely — nothing beyond our capacity when we work together. Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing.
We're the only — think — think about this: We're the only nation in the world that every crisis it's gone through we've come out stronger on the other end than we went in — the only nation. It's because of you, the American people.
We stand up. We fight back. And we understand that the institutions we inherited — called the Constitution — really matter. They're the guardrails of allowing us to do what we have to do in a fair way.
So, with your help and, as my grandfather would say, 'With the grace of God, the goodwill of the neighbors, and the crick not rising,' we're going to win in 2024. Thank you.