President Joe Biden delivered a stark closing speech at Bowie State University on November 7 – the eve of the midterm elections – promoting the candidacy of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore.
“Today we face an inflection point… We know in our bones that our democracy’s at risk and we know that this is your moment to defend it,” Biden warned crowds of supporters at Bowie State University in Maryland.
“I want you to know, we’ll meet this moment. Remember, the power in America lies where it always does: in your hands, the hands of the people.”
Biden noted that Moore’s opponent, Republican state Del. Dan Cox, supported a rally on January 6, 2021, that preceded the storming of the US Capitol after Trump lost the 2020 election.
”Wes’ opponent supported that mob,” Biden said. “You can’t only love your country when you win.”
According to reports, Cox wrote on social media during the Capitol riot that Vice President Mike Pence was “a traitor.” Media also reported Cox arranged for buses to take people to a “Stop the Steal” rally. He has said he left the event and did not take part in the march to the Capitol. Credit: Joe Biden via Storyful
[CHANTING "LET'S GO JOE"]
JOE BIDEN: Hello Maryland.
My name is Joe Biden. I'm Jill Biden's husband. It's great to be at Bowie State. One of our nation's great HBCUs. I was at my home HBCU, Delaware State, talking to students about our plan to relieve student debt. And by the way, you got to forgive me but I got my start at Delaware State.
I don't want to hear it now. I like y'all but. All kidding aside, my family is my dad's looking down and smiling because he's from Baltimore. And I kid. I kid your Congressman that your eastern shore is Delaware's western shore. Look, talking about my historic commitment to HBCUs, that includes a $5.8 billion I put in the budget for HBCUs.
You know why? HBCUs don't have the endowments other have. But guess what? You're just as smart, you're just as bright, you're just as good as any college in America. And that money, that money is to build laboratories and other things for the future that you need to have access to. But look folks let me tell you. One of the great ways to honor HBCUs is to vote. Is to vote.
Here in Maryland, you got some great people to vote for. Chris Van Hollen is up for re-election this year and he's a great Senator. A hell of a guy, make a great team with Ben Cardin. And they both are strong principled and effective. And they got great congressional delegation, Steny Hoyer. So many others. Look. Keep them. You need them. I need them.
And of course, you got that next governor what's his name? Wes Moore. That guy is a real deal, man. And just heard from Jill, he's a combat veteran. Man, a Rhodes scholar. I've always worried about Rhodes scholars though you know? So damn smart I wonder about it, you know? But all kidding aside Rhodes scholar, poverty leader. Was a leader who will build Maryland that leaves no one behind and I believe that.
He will be a great and historic governor of Maryland. They'll remember him. Folks, you got one day until one of the most important elections. You heard this time and again I almost feel guilty repeating it. Our lifetimes are going to be shaped by what happens the next year to three years. It's going to shape what the next couple of decades look like for real.
And back in August, I came to Rockville to kick off the campaign season with West. And we're here in Bowie to close it out with West. And all of you. And let's be clear, this election is not a referendum. It's a choice. It's a choice between two very different visions of America. I said from the beginning my objective. My objective when I ran was to build an economy from the bottom up of the middle out. Not its fundamental shift and it's working from the mirror Republican proposals, the trickle down economics.
You saw what happened last time under my predecessor. He was the first President since Hoover, since Herbert Hoover. I tell you what. Let him sing. Let the man sing. Look. That's a-- look. He was the first President since Herbert Hoover to lose jobs over the course of his presidency. Unemployment was at 6.4%. We lost manufacturing jobs. Nationwide, hundreds of thousands of small businesses closed and the country in a pandemic with no plan out. Only 3.5% million people were vaccinated the day I got elected.
Now we have fully vaccinated 220 million people. So we moved. Our approach is working. Since I came to office we've created 10 million new jobs. 3.75% unemployment. And folks, Black unemployment has dropped from 9.2% to 5.9% and going down. Now we're making things here in America again. We're shipping American made products overseas instead of shipping American jobs overseas.
We created 700,000 manufacturing jobs and create thousands more with the CHIPS and Science Act companies. Are investing billions of dollars creating thousands of good paying jobs. Look, but for all the progress, we know a lot of families are still struggling. That's why with the help of your members of Congress, I signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act.
Here's what it's going to do. It's going to reduce the cost of everything that folks in Maryland have to pay for every month from giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prescription prices. The VA has that power now and it's cut drug prices in half. We're going to do the same with Medicare. Big Pharma always, always, always stopped it but not this year. This year, Big Pharma lost and the American people won.
Those of you who have moms and dads or grandparents, they're paying a lot of money for the prescriptions, even on Medicare. But we set a $2,000 a year cap and can never charge more than that total for the year, even if their drugs cost $8,000, $10,000, $12,000 $15,000. Like a lot of cancer drugs do and by the way how many I know somebody who has diabetes and needs insulin. Well, guess what? We're paying $400 or $600 a month but we're limiting the price of $35. $35. Period. And we passed it.
[CHANTING "LET'S GO JOE"]
Hey. Hey. Hey man. Don't jump you look crazy enough to jump. Don't jump. Don't jump. Look. And we're coming. And we're coming to make sure that $35 a month is for everybody. That starts in January. Look, folks, we got to make things affordable for people. We got to make sure we're making big investments. Having to deal with the climate crisis.
The MAGA Republicans and that guy up in the balcony, they're threatening to jump. They don't understand we have a climate crisis. Look, we're going to save. This expert say we'll save an average of $500 in energy costs for people. And we're going to do this all while reducing the Fed, know these Republicans talk about big spending Democrats. Guess what? I cut the federal budget by what $1 trillion and $400 billion in one year. One year. It never happened before.
Last year, we cut it by $350 billion. Look, we did it all without raising taxes on a single person making less than $400,000. And I don't want you to hear from Republicans who blew up the deficit. Remember, these are the guys who passed a $2 trillion tax cut benefiting the wealthy and big corporations and didn't pay for a penny of it. And look, we're the ones bringing down the deficit, allowing us to afford to provide ordinary hardworking Americans a little break.
And we're finally making sure that the biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share. I just signed a law saying that they've got to pay a minimum of 15%. A lot of nurses, doctors, they pay a lot less more than 15%. But here, those days are over where corporations are paying zero in taxes. In 2020, 55 fortune 500 companies made $40 billion. 40% billion. And they didn't pay a single penny. Not a single penny.
Well look. Because we just never so much were in a position to help families, working families, middle class families caught in a global crossfire of a pandemic and Putin's aggressive war in Ukraine. We're here at one of the great HBCUs in America. And because, and because I acted I'm able to reduce your debt by $20,000, $10,000 for debt relief and another $10,000 if you had a Pell Grant. And 90% of all the folks who get this relief earn less than $75,000 a year.
Folks. So you can make a down payment on a home, you'll be able to start a business, just give you some breathing room. And what do the MAGA Republicans and his opponent talking about student debt? They're trying to stop it. The hypocrisy is unbelievable. MAGA Republicans who took hundreds of thousands of dollars even millions of dollars in pandemic relief loans had their loans forgiven are trying to block this relief.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, that great American. She and her husband received $183,000 in debt relief cash to pay for their business. And then there's another. She said it's completely unfair to forgive student loans for working middle class families. Come on, man. Another Republican, another Republican Vern Buchanan of Florida said this my plan was reckless yet he was forgiven $2 million in a loan. $2 million. Federal money.
Who the hell do they think they are? Folks. That's some of the big stuff we've done. Now let's look at the Republicans. Do you know what their number one priority is if they take control of the House? They're saying it out loud They want to get rid of everything we just did, the power we just gave Medicare to negotiate lower prices gone. The $2,000 cap on prescription drugs, gone. The $35 a month cap in insulin, gone. Tax credits for lower energy costs, gone. 15% corporate tax minimum tax, gone. The $800 savings for health premiums we got for the Affordable Care Act, gone.
Look folks it gets worse from there. And here's what else are doing. They're coming after your parents and all of your Social Security and Medicare. Who do you think-- you probably think I'm kidding? But don't listen to me, listen to them. This is what they had to say. This guy, I'm reading from a plan by the Senator from Florida, Rick Scott, who's in charge of electing Republican senators.
This is their plan, OK? It says all federal legislation sunsets in five years. The law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again. And along came a guy named Ron Johnson, he says four years, five years is too long to wait. Every single year should be on the chopping block. What is going to happen? You've been paying for Social Security since you've been 16 years old in your paycheck.
Folks, if Congress doesn't keep vote to keep it, it goes away. It's not just Social Security, Medicare. They want to put veterans' benefits, everything on the line. But look, look but if Democrats keep control of Congress, we're going to make sure veterans are always cared for. And you damn well know Army Captain Wes Moore will always have the back of our veterans.
One more thing about veterans. I signed a thing called the PACT Act, the most significant law in our nation's history it helps millions of veterans exposed to toxic substances, like the firefighters were at 9/11. Only these were those veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan exposed to burn pits the size of football fields, 8 to 10 feet deep full of waste water, tires, poisonous chemicals, jet fuel, and so much more. I was in and out of Iraq 30 some times, and Afghanistan. And my son was there. My son was a captain, a major in the United States Army, won the Bronze Star. Since you're waving, hi.
Won the Bronze Star and the conspicuous Service Medal. But his hooch was less than a couple of yards in those burn pits. He went in great shape and came home with stage four glioblastoma and died. The law guarantees health care to expose those exposed to the burn kids and tuition benefits for their families in their systems. That's the least we can do. But these guys don't like it.
But folks, there's more. Republicans in Congress led by South Carolina Lindsey Graham already introduced legislation to ban, to ban the right to choose. States are already passing bans without exception for rape or incest, or even the life of the mother. Wes' opponent has introduced 14 bills to limit the right to choose, 14 times. If you elect West for governor, he's going to make sure the right toes choose is protected for every woman in Maryland.
If the Republicans gained control of Congress and pass a nationwide ban on abortion, I will veto it. Folks if we elect Chris Van Hollen, elect two more Democrats and keep control of the House, we're going to codify Roe v. Wade in January and make it a law of the land. And I love how these Republicans talk about fighting crime. On a federal level, we passed the most significant gun safety legislation nearly 30 years. And we're coming back to do what I was able to do in the 90s, that is ban assault weapons.
Wes Moore is a combat vet. He knows what responsible, what responsible gun ownership is. He'll ban ghost guns investing in community based violence prevention programs. Maryland's largest police Union and Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed Wes Moore because he actually has a plan to keep Maryland families safe. Wes' opponent won't stand up to his own party. He won't stand up to the NRA. And he is the guy. This is the guy raffling off an AR-15 at a campaign event. Give me a break for God's sake.
He's concerned about public safety? Look folks, as I spoke about it last week, democracy is on the ballot. Political violence and intimidation are on the rise all across America. And you remember January 6 the angry mob that stormed the US Capitol attacked law enforcement hunted down elected officials, erected gallows to hang Vice President Pence. But Wes' opponent supported that mob. He organized buses and paid for them to go to the Capitol because he thought the election was stolen.
He tweeted that Mike Pence was a traitor. Think about that. For Wes Moore, patriotism meant leaving his family and putting on a country's uniform and leading his fellow soldiers in combat. His opponent pitching me putting on a baseball cap, inviting people to attack the Capitol, you can't be pro-American and pro insurrection. It's real simple. And folks, there are more than 300 election deniers running on the Republican ticket this year. And Wes' opponent is one of them.
These election desires are not only trying to deny you your right to vote, but trying to deny you your right to have your vote counted. With this election, these deniers, there's only two outcomes in their view of the election. One either they win or they were cheated. One of the two, that's their view. But let me tell you something. You can't only love your country when you win.
Wes knows what patriotism means. His opponent was described his opponent as far outside the mainstream. It'd be dangerous in the governor's office. Well even the current Republican governor agrees with Wes. Look up what Larry Hogan has said about Wes' opponent. Folks this is serious stuff. Let me close with this. Today, we face an inflection one of those moments that comes around every three or four generations. We know in our bones that our democracy is at risk. And we know that this is your moment to defend it, preserve, or protect it, choose it.
And I want you to know we'll meet this moment. Remember, the power in America lies where it always does, in your hands, the hands of the people. And especially with young people in this nation like all of you here. I mean it. I'm optimistic because I believe your generation represents the best educated, most talented, least prejudiced generation in American history.
And in 2020, many of you voted for the first time, voted for the first time. And guess what? Look at what you did when you exercise your power? You elected Kamala Harris, the first woman Vice President. And your vote allowed me to put the first Black woman in history on the United States Supreme Court.
And with your your vote I'm keeping the promise, but my promise, no one should be in jail for the mere possession of marijuana. And their record, their record should be expunged. Remember, the power's in your hands. You're one of the reasons why I've never been more optimistic about America's future. Look, America is reasserting ourselves leading the world in the 21st century.
As I travel this country and the world, I see great nation because I know we're a good people. We just have to remember who in the hell we. Are the United States of America. And there's nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together. So vote. Get out to vote. God bless you all and may God protect our troops. Thank you, thank you, thank you.