Remarks by President Biden at a at a Democratic National Committee Grassroots Rally
Richard Montgomery High School Rockville, Maryland August 26, 2022
THE PRESIDENT: Wes, thank you for that introduction. And Wes is the real deal. (Applause.) The real deal. Folks, he's a combat veteran. Only drawback is he's a Rhodes Scholar. (Laughter.) Former CEO of one of the biggest anti-poverty organizations in America. And if we all do our part, the next governor of Maryland! (Applause.)
It's been said many times before and been said here today - and excuse my back, my mother would kill me - but my back to you all. Excuse my back. The fact of the matter is, you have literally two of the best senators in the United States Senate: Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen. (Applause.)
As a matter of fact, were it not Chris being my debate partner, getting me prepared in the general election for President, I wouldn't be standing here. So, if you don't like me, blame Chris. (Applause.) He's up for reelection this year. And I told him, I'll come campaign for him or against him, whichever will help the most. (Laughter.)
Folks, look, both Ben, as well - they're strong and they're principled. They're effective. Keep them. You need them. Hell, I need them. (Applause.)
You've got a great congressional delegation, including Steny Hoyer, who has been a friend for a long time.
And how about that Jamie Raskin? Hasn't he stepped up? The man has stepped up. He's done an incredible job. I like it. He's done an incredible job, coming out of a tragic circumstance with his family.
You know, you got to keep them. You need them. And as I said, heck, I need them.
Folks, we're just 76 days away from the midterm election - 76 days. And to state the obvious, there's a lot at stake. So, I want to be crystal clear about what's on the ballot this year.
Your right to choose is on the ballot this year. (Applause.)
The Social Security you paid for from the time you had a job is on the ballot. (Applause.)
The safety of your kids from gun violence is on the ballot. (Applause.)
And it's not hyperbole, the very survival of our planet is on the ballot. (Applause.)
Your right to vote is on the ballot. (Applause.) Even the democracy.
Are you ready to fight for these things now? (Applause.) Well, then you need to do one thing: vote. Vote.
AUDIENCE: Vote! Vote! Vote!
THE PRESIDENT: You got it.
In 2020, you and 81 million Americans voted to save our democracy. (Applause.) That's why Donald Trump isn't just a former president, he is a defeated former president. (Applause.)
And it's not hyperbole. Now you need to vote to literally save democracy again.
Look, I believe America is at a genuine inflection point that occurs every six or seven generations in world history - one of the moments - one of the moments that changes everything. And Americans are going have to choose. You must choose. Will be it - will we be a country that moves forward or backward? Will we build a future or obsess over the past? Will we be a nation of unity, of hope, of optimism - not a nation of anger, violence, hatred, and division?
Trump and the extreme MAGA Republicans have made their choice: to go backwards, full of anger, violence, hate, and division.
But we've chosen a different path: forward, the future, unity, hope, and optimism. (Applause.) I mean it sincerely. We choose to build a better America.
This fall, there will be a choice between these two visions. And we must take our case to the American people and be crystal clear about it.
There's no question it's been a hard few years. When I came to office, we were facing a once-in-a-century pandemic. A hundred - a million people died. A million people. And over 9 million people get up in the morning and sit at that breakfast table or the dinner table with an empty chair because of that. Historic joblessness. Businesses struggling to stay open. So much lost learning for our kids in school.
But we've come a long way in 18 months. COVID no longer controls our lives. (Applause.) A record number Americans are working - 10 million since I came to office. (Applause.) Businesses are growing. Our schools are open.
And folks, it just didn't happen; it took a lot of hard work. It took a plan that we stuck to, even in the face of unrelenting attacks from the most powerful special interests in the country. And the whole notion of the "burn it all down" politics of MAGA Republicans continues to be a drumbeat.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You stole the election! You stole it! You stole it!
AUDIENCE: Booo -
THE PRESIDENT: That's all right. No, no, no, no - let him go. Let him go. Let him go. That's okay.
Folks - folks - folks, ignorance knows no boundaries. (Applause.) But we never gave up. We never gave in. And we're delivering for the American people now.
And now, even our critics have been forced to acknowledge real progress. (Applause.) A record of big accomplishments matched by few administrations in history: 10 million new jobs, more than we've ever created before at this point in anyone's presidency; 3.5 percent unemployment rate - a near record low in the history of this country. (Applause.) A 50 percent drop in child poverty compared to two years ago, and more than 220 million Americans vaccinated. (Applause.) Record - record small-business creation.
A big reason for all this is the American Rescue Plan that I signed into law shortly after I took office with the help of your members of Congress. (Applause.) That plan took America from an economic crisis to an economic recovery. And not a single Republican - not one single one voted for it. Not one.
AUDIENCE: Booo -
THE PRESIDENT: Not a single Republican.
We also passed the once-in-a-generation investments in our nation's roads, highways, bridges, railroads, ports, airports, clean water systems, high-speed rail, Internet - (applause) - the biggest investment in America since President Eisenhower's Interstate Highway Act.
We got a little help. We did get some help from some Republicans who passed the bill, and I'm thankful for that. But the truth is, there's a lot more Republicans taking credit for a bill that they actually voted against. You see it all over America.
Right here in Maryland, you got a Republican congressman named Andy Harris.
AUDIENCE: Booo -
THE PRESIDENT: Now, ol' Andy is out there touting funding for a key dredging project in his district that he voted against.
AUDIENCE: Booo -
THE PRESIDENT: It's happening all over. Maybe he'll - as we say in Southern Delaware, "Maybe the boy will get some religion." (Laughter.)
Look, folks, we passed the CHIPS and Science act, a groundbreaking law. (Applause.) We're going to once again manufacture semiconductors - that we invented - that power everything in our lives, right here in America. (Applause.)
This law will create tens of thousands of construction jobs, bring billions of dollars in investment to America, and revitalize American manufacturing.
Look, folks, it means - it means we're going to build the future in America - (applause) - with American workers, in American factories, producing American-made products. (Applause.)
We took on the NRA.
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: We took on the NRA, and we beat them. (Applause.)
We just passed the first significant gun safety legislation in 30 years in this country. (Applause.)
And I promise you, we're not stopping here. I'm determined to ban assault weapons in this country. (Applause.) I did it once before, and we will do it again. (Applause.)
We're going to do it for those families in Buffalo, Uvalde, Newtown, El Paso, Parkland, Charleston, Las Vegas, Orlando. I've been almost every one of those places to meet with those parents. We all got to do it. We're going to do it for all our kids gunned down on our streets every single day - every day that never make the national news.
Folks, we're going to do it for your kids who are learning how to read and write in school instead of learning how to duck and cover. (Applause.)
So this November - this November, you have to ask every candidate, "Are you for banning assault weapons or not?" And if you're not, we're not going to vote for you. Period. (Applause.)
In my State of the Union Address, I put forward a Unity Agenda that included taking care of our veterans. (Applause.) Especially our veterans who had been exposed to burn pits like my son, who got the Conspicuous Service medal as well as -
Well, I don't want to start talking about my son, but he spent a year in Iraq. He was only about 200 yards from one of the burn pits. These pits the size of football fields - 8, 9, or 10 feet deep - in Afghanistan and Iraq, incinerated - that incinerates wastes of war: tires, poisonous chemicals, jet fuels, and so much more. So much more. Our soldiers breathed in that toxic smoke and came home with headaches, numbness, dizziness, cancer.
I just signed into law the PACT Act to take care of those veterans who were exposed to those burn pits. (Applause.) It's the least - it's the least we could do for them.
I believe a nation has many obligations, but only one truly sacred obligation: to equip the women and men we send to battle and take care of them and their families when they return home. (Applause.)
Army Captain Wes Moore understands that. He saw it like my son saw it.
We've done all this, but then our critics say "inflation." You mean the global inflation caused by the worldwide pandemic and Putin's war in Ukraine?
We're making progress since I took office. This year, gas prices are down more than a dollar this summer, and we're going to keep it going down. (Applause.)