Via conference call
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 and willingness to take the chair.
You know, I wasn’t like you, but I remember when my father – when things died in Scranton; the coal dries up. He wasn’t a miner; my great grandfather was. But he wasn’t a miner, but everything else dried up. And he said – I remember how he went home to my grandpa, who had four sons and a daughter, and asked him if it was okay if his wife – my mother Jean – and the three children for a year or so move in with him until … You were fixed down in northern Delaware – a little town called Claymont.
And with that – and he said – I’ll never forget it. He said, “I come home every weekend, Joey. Every weekend. It’s only 147-157 miles. “And I thought,” My God, that’s a million miles. ” I went – I was in third grade, went into fourth. And do you know it’s a –
They used to have a phrase – and it never does – and that is the truth of God. We came to Delaware when, after five years, he was working his way through to buy a small three bedroom house. He always said, “Joey, a job is much more than a paycheck. It’s about – it’s about your pride. It’s about your place in the community. It’s about your ability to look your kids in the eyes. It’s about your dignity. ”And so it is much – so much more.
And when I ran with your help – and I couldn’t have made it – with all the help of the people on this line – you know – you know we’re part of something special because you allowed me to compete.
We – I think we put together one of the most momentous campaigns in modern history. Because from my point of view it was really a struggle for the soul of the nation: basic decency, building the middle class from the bottom up and from the middle instead of waiting for everything to trickle down.
And a lot of you are very successful people, but you shared that view and you gave me the money and contributions to be able to close – you know, I say – I should say “compete”.
And so we are not connected because of me in one of the most momentous first six months in the history of this country – it is about the country; It’s about people rising up.
Think about the past six months. The American rescue plan.
We shot millions and millions in the arms. Pocket checks to hundreds of millions of Americans. And maybe what I’m most proud of: With the help of – halving child poverty through childcare – the Child Tax Credit, we achieved the largest middle-class tax cut of all time.
And 165 million Americans are fully vaccinated. You have over 190 that have at least one shot – one shot.
It is the fastest job growth in the first four months of a previous presidency. Period.
And a forecast economic growth of almost 7 percent – the highest in four decades.
And last week, she – the infrastructure plan I unveiled during my tenure and created with a bipartisan group – had to make some compromises, but it’s going to make a huge difference.
For example, it will change the economy. It’s over – over a trillion dollars. It will eliminate all lead pipes in America so people can have decent drinking water. Build roads up to – up to the snuff so we can build them again, you know, and make sure they’re where the area is now – not – we better have to rebuild them. Childcare. The caring economy. The elderly care. The things the American public wants most.
Man, take a look – and deliver high-speed internet to every American. As I said, supplying every American with clean water.
Building more resilient power grids. Install charging stations for electric vehicles – over 500,000. The largest rail public transit investment since Amtrak was founded 50 years ago.
But, as my father said, it’s about creating well-paying American jobs for millions of middle-class and working-class people. And it’s about our economic competitiveness.
You know, when – as the Democratic Party, I think we’re going to be able to say about these out of year elections, like the chairman said, that we can deliver. We can deliver for the American people. We can bring the country together. We can change your life.
And, you know, it’s about getting everyone involved this time – black, Latin American, Asian American, Native American communities – because I said the administration and our efforts reflect what the country was like.
And as I said, we are in the race for the economy of the 21st century and the rest of the world is not just hanging around and waiting. We have to act quickly.
And the bottom line for me is this: that 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, including human infrastructure, childcare, paid vacation, universal pre-K for two years – and two years of community college.
When I hear, “Well, you know, this is not – this is not investing” – let me tell you, when I was Vice President I was asked to conduct a poll of the Commerce Secretary of the 500 CEOs of the five – Fortune 500 to see what their greatest needs are. We have the 340. Do you know what they said almost to a person? They said, “We need a better educated public.” Well, they don’t educate the public. So what are we going to do?
If I said to you tomorrow, “We can get exorbitant tax cuts for the super-rich” – and many of you are – “or we can make sure that every child goes to kindergarten from the age of three, four and five, not daycare and they have access to community college, so we’re the most educated audience in the world. ”What do you think will best fuel the country’s growth? You know what it is.
So look let me close I – I take too much time. I want to get to know each of you. But you see, we need – the most important thing we need to do is protect the electoral system, protect the sacred suffrage. It is being attacked in a way that I have not seen in my entire career. And I was the man who got the voting right renewal act 25 years ago when I was chairman of the judiciary committee. And it took until the Supreme Court came and said, “No, no, don’t need it anymore.”
It’s about who can vote and whether the vote counts and who can count this vote. We have a system that does both independently and with integrity. But Republicans want to say that a political party can decide whether a vote counts. It’s outrageous. We’re going to fight like hell to keep this from happening. That’s one of the most important things we can do.
There is a lot of work ahead of us. It will not be easy. But I will need you to do it. The DNC will need you. And because – here’s the deal: We won in 2020 as a closed party. Looking ahead to 2022, we must stay united. The American people will wonder if we are helping them and their families and do we understand what they are going through; do we understand your problem? we can deliver for you.
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 arguments – just as the Republican Party today offers nothing but fear, lies and broken promises. We must continue to break through the Republican fog – that the government is not the problem and show that we, the people – we, the people, are always the solution.
We are the most unique country in the history of the world. You have heard me say that before. We are the only country that is organized on the basis of an idea – on an idea, not on religion, ethnicity, geography – on the idea that we take these truths for granted, that all men and women are critically equal and endowed – you know the rest.
But you have to be able to choose. It’s the most important thing we can do. And we have to win races up and down.
You know, in 2018 I was out of office, but I was campaigning in 58 districts – congressional districts that said we couldn’t win. We have won back the United States Congress.
And you see, if we make the right decision in the next few years, people will look back 50 years from now and say, “This was the moment America won the 21st century.” I really think so. But we can’t do it without you. You know, we have to prove that democracies can work.
I close with the words – and the press on the line has heard me say this before – that Xi Jinping and – with whom I met for hours – over 25 hours – 24 hours alone. When I won, he called me to congratulate me. We’ve been on the phone for two hours and, I think, almost 25 minutes.
He, along with other autocrats, believes that things are changing so quickly in the modern world that democracies cannot band together and band together to compete with autocratic governments. He really thinks so. And he decided that by 2045 they will be the strongest military power in the world and the largest economy and the most organized economy in the world.
We have to show that democracies can work and protect. And I think it will affect our influence around the world more than anything.
So we have to do some of these things with others to make it – get it done. And I am convinced that there is not much we cannot do. I think the country is ready. And because of you, I think we’ll make it.
But I want to thank you all. Thank you for all you have done. And you know, we have to prove that we can get democracy working again. It’s all about this.
So, God bless you all for what you have done and will do. And may God protect our troops.
7:29 PM EDT