As Donald Trump sits back, tweets inciting calls to violence over overturning the 2020 election and makes threats as millions face eviction in the middle of winter and a raging pandemic; hunger; poverty (8 million have fallen into poverty just since July); the number of COVID-19 deaths surpass 330,000; every four days, a million more are infected (double the number just from Election Day, likely having much to do with Trump super-spreader rallies and forced in-person voting amid his sabotage of absentee voting); and Trump’s inaction or actual veto of bills that would provide COVID-19 relief and help fund vaccinations, and would cause the entire government to shut down, President-Elect Joe Biden is calling his refusal to sign the bill, passed with overwhelming and bipartisan majority, an “abdication of responsibility” that has “devastating consequences.” That’s an understatement. Here is Biden’s statement:
It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don’t know if they’ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority.
This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences. Today, about 10 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance benefits. In just a few days, government funding will expire, putting vital services and paychecks for military personnel at risk. In less than a week, a moratorium on evictions expires, putting millions at risk of being forced from their homes over the holidays. Delay means more small businesses won’t survive this dark winter because they lack access to the lifeline they need, and Americans face further delays in getting the direct payments they deserve as quickly as possible to help deal with the economic devastation caused by COVID-19. And while there is hope with the vaccines, we need funding to be able to distribute and administer them to millions of Americans, including frontline health care workers.
This bill is critical. It needs to be signed into law now. But it is also a first step and down payment on more action that we’ll need to take early in the new year to revive the economy and contain the pandemic — including meeting the dire need for funding to distribute and administer the vaccine and to increase our testing capacity.
In November, the American people spoke clearly that now is a time for bipartisan action and compromise. I was heartened to see members of Congress heed that message, reach across the aisle, and work together. President Trump should join them, and make sure millions of Americans can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads in this holiday season.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), in remarks at George Washington University regarding the “unprecedented and dangerous moment we are in because of Trump’s unique threats to our democracy” called for unprecedented voter turnout, warning that Trump may well declare victory in Election Night, before the millions of mail-in-ballots are counted, confiscate the ballots to prevent them from being counted, and even instruct Republican legislators to disregard the popular vote and select Trump electors to vote in the Electoral College. If all that, including impeding delivery of mail-in-ballots, calling out thugs to intimidate voters who come to the polls, Trump says he is counting on the Supreme Court, with his third pick already on the court, to hand him the election. Only then, he says, will there be a “peaceful transfer” because there won’t be a transfer at all, but a continuation of power. – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Here are Senator Sanders’ remarks, highlighted, as prepared for delivery:
Saving American Democracy
This country faces an unprecedented set of crises. We are struggling with a pandemic that has already cost us over 200,000 lives.
We have an economy in which we have a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality, where the middle class is being decimated, where millions of workers have lost their jobs and half of our people continue to work paycheck to paycheck — many for starvation wages.
We are living in the moment when climate change is ravaging this planet, leading to massive fires on the West Coast, drought and unprecedented levels of extreme weather disturbances all across the globe.
We are the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people as a right, over 90 million Americans are uninsured or under-insured, and we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.
All of these issues, and others, are enormously important and should be the issues that are being debated in this campaign. But, today, I’m not going to talk about any of them.
What I am going to talk about is something that, in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be discussing. And that is the need to make certain that the President of the United States, if he loses this election, will abide by the will of the voters and leave office peacefully.
What I will be discussing today is the danger that this country faces from a president who is a pathological liar, who has strong authoritarian tendencies, who neither understands nor respects our constitution and who is prepared to undermine American democracy in order to stay in power.
With less than 6 weeks left to go in this campaign it is my fervent hope that all Americans — Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservatives — come together to defend American democracy, our constitution and the rule of law. We must ensure, in this unprecedented moment in American history that this is an election that is free and fair, an election in which voters are not intimidated, an election in which all votes are counted and an election in which the loser accepts the results.
This is not just an election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy – and democracy must win.
The United States is the oldest continuous democracy in the modern world. We held elections in the middle of a Civil War in 1864. We held free and fair elections during World War I, during the Great Depression, and during World War II. After all of those elections, held in extremely difficult circumstances, the loser acknowledged defeat and the winner was inaugurated and took office. That is what America is all about. That’s what democracy is all about.
But today, under Donald Trump, we have a president who has little respect for our constitution or the rule of law. Today, that peaceful transition of power, the bedrock of American democracy, is being threatened like never before.
I am not in the habit of quoting former President Ronald Reagan, but I think something that he said in his first inaugural address makes the point about how important — how precious — is this part of our heritage. I quote: “The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place as it has for almost two centuries and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every 4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.” Unquote.
Protecting this “orderly transfer of authority” as President Reagan characterized it, this miracle, is absolutely essential if we together — all of us, Republicans, Democrats, Independents — want to keep faith with the American ideals we hold so dear and with the sacrifices that so many made in order to protect our democracy.
And in that regard I think it is terribly important that we actually listen to, and take seriously, what Donald Trump is saying.
Several weeks ago, speaking at the Republican National Convention, Trump said, and I quote, “The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election.” What is remarkable about that statement is that he made it at a time when almost every national poll had him behind and when he was trailing in polls in most battleground states.
Think about what that statement means. What he is saying is that if he wins the election, that’s great. But if he loses, it’s rigged, because the only way, the only way, he can lose is if it’s rigged. And if it’s rigged, then he is not leaving office. Heads I win. Tails you lose. In other words, in Trump’s mind, there is no conceivable way that he should leave office.
And just last night Donald Trump went even further down the path of authoritarianism by being the first president in the history of this country to refuse to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election.
When asked by a reporter in the White House briefing room: “Win, lose or draw in this election, will you commit here today for a peaceful transferal of power after the election?” Trump responded:
“We’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster. We want to get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation.”
That’s not his choice. That’s for the American people to determine. Let us be very clear. There is nothing in our constitution or in our laws that give Donald Trump the privilege of deciding whether or not he will step aside if he loses. In the United States the president does not determine who can or cannot vote and what ballots will be counted. That may be what his friend Putin does in Russia. It may be what is done in other authoritarian countries. But it is not and will not be done in America. This is a democracy.
I do understand that Donald Trump is a billionaire, or so he says. I do understand that he was born to a very wealthy family and, from his earliest days, was able to get anything he wanted because his family was rich and his family was powerful. I do understand that when you’re rich and you’re powerful you don’t have to pay taxes like ordinary people and that it’s easy for you to avoid the military draft. I do understand that when you’re rich and you’re powerful you can buy politicians and get hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate welfare for your real estate empire.
But this I also understand. No matter how rich and powerful you may be, no matter how arrogant and narcissistic you may be, no matter how much you think you can get anything you want, let me make this clear to Donald Trump: Too many people have fought and died to defend American democracy. You are not going to destroy it. The American people will not allow that to happen.
Despite all of the evidence, Trump continues to be obsessed with the belief that there is massive voter fraud in this country.
In 2017, after he won the presidency, Trump insisted that he would have won the popular vote, which he lost by 3 million votes, if, quote “millions of illegal votes had not been cast.” There is absolutely no evidence of that being true. In fact, it is totally preposterous to believe that millions of votes, or any significant number of votes at all, were cast illegally. This is an assertion supported by no one. Not Democratic officials. Not Republican officials. No one. And yet that is what Trump said after he won.
There have been numerous studies done on the issue of voter fraud in our country. They have all concluded essentially the same thing. Voter fraud in the United States of America is extremely rare.
An article in the New York Times from December 18, 2016 stated: “In an election in which more than 137.7 million Americans cast ballots, election and law enforcement officials in 26 states and the District of Columbia — Democratic-leaning, Republican-leaning and in-between — said that so far they knew of no credible allegations of fraudulent voting. Officials in another eight states said they knew of only one allegation … In Georgia, where more than 4.1 million ballots were cast, officials said they had opened 25 inquiries into “suspicious voting or election-related activity.” But inquiries to all 50 states (every one but Kansas responded) found no states that reported indications of widespread fraud.”
A report by the Brennan Center for Justice reviewed elections that had been meticulously studied for voter fraud, and found incident rates between 0.0003 percent and 0.0025 percent. The report concluded that it is more likely that an American, quote, “will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls,” unquote.
Even the conservative Heritage Foundation, which maintains a database on election fraud, could only find 143 criminal convictions of mail in voter fraud out of 250 million mail-in votes cast over the past 20 years, a rate of 0.00006%.
But you don’t have to trust me on this issue. Benjamin Ginsburg, one of the leading Republican experts on elections, a man who served as national counsel to the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, a man who played a major role for the Republican Party in the 2000 Florida recount, and who co-chaired the bipartisan 2013 Presidential Commission on Election Administration, recently wrote in the Washington Post, and I quote, “The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there’s no proof of widespread fraud. At most, there are isolated incidents — by both Democrats and Republicans. Elections are not rigged,” unquote.
Let me repeat from one of the Republican Party’s leading experts on elections: “The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there’s no proof of widespread fraud. At most, there are isolated incidents — by both Democrats and Republicans. Elections are not rigged.”
And if even the statement of Mr. Ginsburg is not good enough for you, here is what the Trump administration’s own voting integrity commission reported. According to an analysis of administration documents by the Associated Press, Trump’s commission uncovered, quote “no evidence to support claims of widespread voter fraud,” unquote, and disbanded in 2018.
Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tamped down concerns about mail-in ballots last month, saying, and I quote, “Many parts of our country vote by mail. Oregon, Washington and Colorado have voted by mail for years.”
And yet we have a president who calls mail in ballots “a hoax” and “a scam.”
Trump’s strategy to delegitimize this election and to stay in office if he loses is not complicated. Finding himself behind in many polls, he is attempting massive voter suppression. He and his Republican colleagues are doing everything they can to make it harder and harder for people to vote. In addition, he is sowing the seeds of chaos, confusion and conspiracy theories by casting doubt on the integrity of this election and, if he loses, justifying why he should remain in office.
In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, Trump refused to say that he would leave office if he lost. Asked to give a direct answer on whether he would accept the election results, Trump refused. He said, quote, “I have to see. No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.” Pretty much what he said yesterday.
In the middle of a pandemic Trump made clear that he wants to defund the Postal Service in order to limit the use of mail in ballots.In an interview on August 13, discussing a possible deal for a relief package that would have funded the post office, Trump let the cat out of the bag by admitting that, quote “If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting; they just can’t have it.”
In other words, what Trump is saying to tens of millions of Americans is that at a time when over 200,000 people have already died from the coronavirus, you have a choice: You can either risk your health or even your life by walking into a voting booth or you can’t vote. How disgusting is that?
Amazingly, at the very same time Trump is making completely baseless allegations about voter fraud, last month he urged his supporters in North Carolina to try voting twice, which is a felony.
In order to advance his plan for mass voter suppression, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in Nevada, which fortunately was dismissed, challenging the state’s mail-in voting laws.
In July, Trump used false claims of voter fraud to propose delaying this year’s election, which he does not have the power to do. This was so outrageous that Steven Calabresi, the co-founder of the conservative Federalist Society, wrote that it was, quote “grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate,” unquote.
Last week, Trump told his supporters at a rally in Nevada that he, quote, “was entitled” to serve a third term, which is obviously a violation of the Constitution’s 22nd Amendment.
On Saturday, Trump suggested to his supporters in North Carolina that he might sign an executive order to prevent Joe Biden from becoming president.
Trump has also urged his supporters to become, quote, “poll watchers,” but what he is really saying is he wants his supporters, some of whom are members of armed militias, to intimidate voters. We’re already seeing this in Virginia, where early voters were confronted by Trump supporters, and election officials in Fairfax County said that some voters and polling staff felt intimidated.
On and on it goes. Every day, over and over again, Trump is making it harder for the American people to participate in the political process and is attempting to delegitimize the outcome of this election so that if he loses he can remain in office.
The concerns that I am raising today are not just mine alone, and are not just concerns shared by progressives and Democrats.
Miles Taylor, a lifelong Republican who previously served as chief of staff inside the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security, warned that there is nothing that Trump will not do or say to defeat Biden.
“Put nothing past Donald Trump,” Taylor told The Associated Press. “He will do anything to win. If that means climbing over other people, climbing over his own people, or climbing over U.S. law, he will do it. People are right to be concerned.”
Well, I agree with Mr. Taylor. I am concerned. I am very concerned.
Last week, my former Senate colleague Dan Coats, Trump’s own former Director of National Intelligence, published a piece in the New York Times calling for a high-level bipartisan and nonpartisan commission to oversee the election to reassure all Americans that it has been carried out fairly. Coats wrote, quote, “The most urgent task American leaders face is to ensure that the election’s results are accepted as legitimate. Electoral legitimacy is the essential linchpin of our entire political culture. We should see the challenge clearly in advance and take immediate action to respond.”
I couldn’t agree more. I strongly second Director Coats’ call for this election commission.
Last week as well, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and I sent a letter to Senator McConnell urging him to hold hearings on the issue of election and post-election security. Senator Schumer and I stated, “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”
Majority Leader McConnell: Please respond to that letter. Please establish that bi-partisan committee.
And today I call on every elected official in America whether they be Republican, Democrat or Independent to vigorously oppose voter suppression and voter intimidation, to make sure that every vote is counted, and that no one is declared the winner until those votes are counted.
And to my Republican colleagues in the Congress please do not continue to tell the American people how much you love America if, at this critical moment, you are not prepared to stand up to defend American democracy and our way of life. Stop the hypocrisy.
With or without Donald Trump this election is unique in American history because it’s taking place during a pandemic and a public health crisis.
As a result, states all over America are taking the appropriate steps to ensure more Americans can safely vote by mail in their own homes instead of risking their health or their lives to vote in person.
The result is that this election will see, by far, the largest number of mail in ballots ever.
And let’s be clear. Despite what Donald Trump says, voting by mail is not a new or dangerous idea. Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah conduct their elections almost entirely by mail. California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia and my state of Vermont have pledged to mail ballots to all registered voters for the upcoming election. And many other states are making it easier to vote by mail. Trump himself, as well as members of his administration, have repeatedly voted by mail. Members of the U.S. military have regularly voted by mail since the 1800s.
Given the significant increase in mail in ballots why, you might ask, are Trump and his allies trying to attack the integrity of our vote by mail system?
The answer is simple. A number of studies have shown that for, whatever reasons, Republicans are more likely to vote in person while Democrats are more likely to use mail in ballots.
In fact, one poll found that only about a quarter of Biden supporters would vote in person on Election Day while some two thirds of Trump voters planned to vote in person.
In other words, if Trump can undermine people’s confidence in the validity of votes cast by mail, he will be calling into question the validity of votes that may overwhelmingly support Joe Biden.
Let us consider the following scenario:
On election night, Trump is ahead in many battleground states based on the votes of those who voted in person on election day. All across the television screens people see Trump ahead before they turn in for the night. But as more and more mail in ballots are counted, Trump’s lead falls. Trump then announces, with no proof, that there has been massive mail in ballot fraud and that these votes should not be counted – and that he has won the election.
In other words, Trump may well announce that he has won the election before all of the votes are counted and that large numbers of mail in ballots should be discarded.
Furthermore, in states where Republicans control the legislature, it is possible that the election results will be ignored because of false accusations of voter fraud and that the legislature itself will use its power to appoint electors pledged to vote for Trump, overriding the will of the people.
And, in the midst of all of this, with the death of Justice Ginsburg, Trump is attempting to push through a Supreme Court Justice who may very well cast a vote in a case that will determine the outcome of this election. He is doing that at a time when early voting has already begun and millions of ballots will have already been cast.
In this unprecedented moment what can we as a people do in the struggle to preserve American democracy?
First, it is absolutely imperative that we have, by far, the largest voter turnout in American history and that people vote as early as possible.
As someone who is strongly supporting Joe Biden, let’s be clear: A landslide victory for Biden will make it virtually impossible for Trump to deny the results and is our best means for defending democracy.
Second, with the pandemic and a massive increase in mail in voting, state legislatures must take immediate action now to allow mail in votes to be counted before Election Day – as they come in.
In fact, 32 states allow for the counting or processing of absentee ballots – verifying signatures for example – before Election Day. All states should do the same. The faster all ballots are counted, the less window there is for chaos and conspiracy theories.
Third, the news media needs to prepare the American people to understand there is no longer a single election day and that it is very possible that we may not know the results on November 3rd.
Fourth, social media companies must finally get their act together and stop people from using their tools to spread disinformation and to threaten and harass election officials.
Fifth, in the Congress and in state legislatures hearings must be held as soon as possible to explain to the public how the election day process and the days that follow will be handled. As we count every vote, and prevent voter intimidation everything possible must be done to prevent chaos, disinformation, and even violence.
Lastly, and most importantly, the American people, no matter what their political persuasion, must make it clear that American democracy will not be destroyed. Our country from its inception and through the sacrifices of millions has been a model to the world with regard to representative government. In 1863, in the midst of the terrible Civil War, Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg stated that this government “of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
That was true then. That is true today. Regardless of what Donald Trump wants the American people will preserve democracy in our country.
While Trump continues to deny climate change as a “hoax” (one perpetrated by China to hurt US business), minimize the destruction to life and livehood of the wildfires setting the West ablaze that he blamed on California’s “failure” to adequately rake the forest floor, actively denigrate public health experts while promoting conditions for the super-spread of coronavirus, and call for Obama to be jailed for treason, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president, spoke out on the urgency to address the existential climate crisis and how he would address it.
“The unrelenting impact of climate change affects every single one of us…It requires action, not denial. It requires leadership, not scapegoating…
“Our response should be grounded in science. Acting together. All of us. But like with our federal response to COVID-19, the lack of a national strategy on climate change leaves us with patchwork solutions…
“But if Trump gets a second term, these hellish events will become more common, more devastating, and more deadly.
“If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires? How many suburbs will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?
“If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze? ..
“And from the pandemic, the economic freefall, the racial unrest, and the ravages of climate change, it’s clear that we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America.
“Like the pandemic, dealing with climate change is a global crisis that requires American leadership.
“It requires a president to meet the threshold duty of the office — to care for everyone. To defend us from every attack – seen and unseen. Always and without exception. Every time.”
Here is a highlighted transcript of Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks as prepared for delivery in Delaware:
As a nation, we face one of the most difficult moments in our history. Four historic crises. All at the same time.
The worst pandemic in over 100 years, that’s killed nearly 200,000 Americans and counting.
The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, that’s cost tens of millions of American jobs and counting.
Emboldened white supremacy unseen since the 1960s and a reckoning on race long overdue.
And the undeniable, accelerating, and punishing reality of climate change and its impact on our planet and our people — on lives and livelihoods — which I’d like to talk about today.
Jill and I continue to pray for everyone in California, Oregon, Washington, and across the West as the devastating wildfires rage on — just as we’ve held in our hearts those who’ve faced hurricanes and tropical storms on our coasts, in Florida, in North Carolina, or like in parts of New Orleans where they just issued an emergency evacuation for Hurricane Sally, that’s approaching and intensifying; Floods and droughts across the Midwest, the fury of climate change everywhere — all this year, all right now.
We stand with our families who have lost everything, the firefighters and first responders risking everything to save others, and the millions of Americans caught between relocating during a pandemic or staying put as ash and smoke pollute the air they breathe.
Think about that.
People are not just worried about raging fires. They are worried about breathing air. About damage to their lungs.
Parents, already worried about Covid-19 for their kids when they’re indoors, are now worried about asthma attacks for their kids when they’re outside.
Over the past two years, the total damage from wildfires has reached nearly $50 Billion in California alone.
This year alone, nearly 5 million acres have burned across 10 states — more acres than the entire state of Connecticut.
And it’s only September. California’s wildfire season typically runs through October.
Fires are blazing so bright and smoke reaching so far, NASA satellites can see them a million miles away in space.
The cost of this year’s damage will again be astronomically high.
But think of the view from the ground, in the smoldering ashes.
Loved ones lost, along with the photos and keepsakes of their memory. Spouses and kids praying each night that their firefighting husband, wife, father, and mother will come home. Entire communities destroyed.
We have to act as a nation. It shouldn’t be so bad that millions of Americans live in the shadow of an orange sky and are left asking if doomsday is here.
I know this feeling of dread and anxiety extends beyond just the fires. We’ve seen a record hurricane season costing billions of dollars. Last month, Hurricane Laura intensified at a near-record rate just before its landfall along Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.
It’s a troubling marker not just for an increased frequency of hurricanes, but more powerful and destructive storms. They’re causing record damage after record damage to people’s homes and livelihoods.
And before it intensified and hit the Gulf Coast, Laura ravaged Puerto Rico — where, three years after Hurricane Maria — our fellow Americans are still recovering from its damage and devastation.
Think about that reality.
Our fellow Americans are still putting things back together from the last big storm as they face the next one.
We’ve also seen historic flooding in the Midwest — often compounding the damages delivered by last year’s floods that cost billions dollars in damage.
This past spring Midland, Michigan experienced a flood so devastating — with deadly flash flooding, overrunning dams and roadways, and the displacement of 10,000 residents — that it was considered a once-in-500-year weather event.
But those once-in-many-generations events? They happen every year now.
The past ten years were the hottest decade ever recorded. The Arctic is literally melting. Parts are on fire.
What we’re seeing in America — in our communities — is connected to that.
With every bout with nature’s fury, caused by our own inaction on climate change, more Americans see and feel the devastation in big cities, small towns, on coastlines and farmlands.
It is happening everywhere. It is happening now. It affects us all.
Nearly two hundred cities are experiencing the longest stretches of deadly heat waves in fifty years. It requires them to help their poor and elderly residents adapt to extreme heat to simply stay alive, especially in homes without air conditioning.
Our family farmers in the Midwest are facing historic droughts.
These follow record floods and hurricane-speed windstorms all this year.
It’s ravaged millions of acres of corn, soybeans, and other crops. Their very livelihood which sustained their families and our economy for generations is now in jeopardy. How will they pay their bills this year? What will be left to pass on to their kids?
And none of this happens in a vacuum.
A recent study showed air pollution is linked with an increased risk of death from COVID-19.
Our economy can’t recover if we don’t build back with more resiliency to withstand extreme weather — extreme weather that will only come with more frequency.
The unrelenting impact of climate change affects every single one of us. But too often the brunt falls disproportionately on communities of color, exacerbating the need for environmental justice.
These are the interlocking crises of our time.
It requires action, not denial.
It requires leadership, not scapegoating.
It requires a president to meet the threshold duty of the office — to care for everyone. To defend us from every attack – seen and unseen. Always and without exception. Every time.
Because here’s the deal.
Hurricanes don’t swerve to avoid “blue states.” Wildfires don’t skip towns that voted a certain way.
The impacts of climate change don’t pick and choose. That’s because it’s not a partisan phenomenon.
And our response should be the same. Grounded in science. Acting together. All of us.
But like with our federal response to COVID-19, the lack of a national strategy on climate change leaves us with patchwork solutions.
I’m speaking from Delaware, the lowest-lying state in the nation, where just last week the state’s Attorney General sued 31 big fossil fuel companies alleging that they knowingly wreaked damage on the climate.
Damage that is plain to everyone but the president.
As he flies to California today, we know he has no interest in meeting this moment.
We know he won’t listen to the experts or treat this disaster with the urgency it demands, as any president should do during a national emergency.
He’s already said he wanted to withhold aid to California — to punish the people of California — because they didn’t vote for him.
This is yet another crisis he won’t take responsibility for.
The West is literally on fire and he blames the people whose homes and communities are burning.
He says, “You gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests.”
This is the same president who threw paper towels to the people of Puerto Rico instead of truly helping them recover and rebuild.
We know his disdain for his own military leaders and our veterans.
Just last year, the Defense Department reported that climate change is a direct threat to more than two-thirds of our military’s operationally critical installations. And this could well be a conservative estimate.
Donald Trump’s climate denial may not have caused the record fires, record floods, and record hurricanes.
But if he gets a second term, these hellish events will become more common, more devastating, and more deadly.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump warns that integration is threatening our suburbs. That’s ridiculous.
But you know what’s actually threatening our suburbs?
Wildfires are burning the suburbs in the West. Floods are wiping out suburban neighborhoods in the Midwest. And hurricanes are imperiling suburban life along our coasts.
If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires? How many suburbs will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?
If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze?
If you give a climate denier four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised when more of America is under water?
We need a president who respects science, who understands that the damage from climate change is already here, and, unless we take urgent action, will soon be more catastrophic.
A president who recognizes, understands, and cares that Americans are dying.
Which makes President Trump’s climate denialism — his disdain of science and facts — all the more unconscionable.
Once again, he fails the most basic duty to this nation.
He fails to protect us.
And from the pandemic, the economic freefall, the racial unrest, and the ravages of climate change, it’s clear that we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America.
What he doesn’t get is that even in crisis, there is nothing beyond our capacity as a country.
And while so many of you are hurting right now, I want you to know that if you give me the honor of serving as your President, we can, and we will, meet this moment with urgency and purpose.
We can and we will solve the climate crisis, and build back better than we were before.
When Donald Trump thinks about climate change he thinks: “hoax.”
I think: “jobs.”
Good-paying, union jobs that put Americans to work building a stronger, more climate resilient nation.
A nation with modernized water, transportation and energy infrastructure to withstand the impacts of extreme weather and a changing climate.
When Donald Trump thinks about renewable energy, he sees windmills somehow causing cancer.
I see American manufacturing — and American workers — racing to lead the global market. I also see farmers making American agriculture first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, and gaining new sources of income in the process.
When Donald Trump thinks about LED bulbs, he says he doesn’t like them because: “the light’s no good. I always look orange.”
I see the small businesses and master electricians designing and installing award-winning energy conservation measures.
This will reduce the electricity consumption and save businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in energy costs.
While he turns us against our allies, I will bring us back into the Paris Agreement. I will put us back in the business of leading the world on climate change. And I will challenge everyone to up the ante on their climate commitments.
Where he reverses the Obama-Biden fuel-efficiency standards, he picks Big Oil companies over the American workers.
I will not only bring the standards back, I will set new, ambitious ones — that our workers are ready to meet.
And I also see American workers building and installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the country and American consumers switching to electric vehicles through rebates and incentives.
Not only that, the United States owns and maintains an enormous fleet of vehicles — and we’re going to harness the purchasing power of our federal government to make sure we are buying electric vehicles that are made and sourced by union workers right here in the United States of America.
All together, this will mean one million new jobs in the American auto industry.
And we’ll do another big thing: put us on a path of achieving a carbon-pollution free electricity sector by 2035 that no future president can turn back.
Transforming the American electricity sector to produce power without carbon pollution will be the greatest spur to job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st Century. Not to mention the positive benefits to our health and our environment.
We need to get to work right away.
We’ll need scientists at national labs and land-grant universities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to improve and innovate the technologies needed to generate, store, and transmit this clean electricity.
We’ll need engineers to design them and workers to manufacture them. We’ll need iron workers and welders to install them.
And we’ll become the world’s largest exporter of these technologies, creating even more jobs.
We know how to do this.
The Obama-Biden Administration rescued the auto industry and helped them retool.
We made solar energy cost-competitive with traditional energy, and weatherized more than a million homes.
We will do it again — bigger and faster and better than before.
We’ll also build 1.5 million new energy-efficient homes and public housing units that will benefit our communities three-times over — by alleviating the affordable housing crisis, by increasing energy efficiency, and by reducing the racial wealth gap linked to home ownership.
There are thousands of oil and natural gas wells that the oil and gas companies have just abandoned, many of which are leaking toxins.
We can create 250,000 jobs plugging those wells right away — good union jobs for energy workers. This will help sustain communities and protect the environment as well.
We’ll also create new markets for our family farmers and ranchers.
We’ll launch a new, modern day Civilian Climate Corps to heal our public lands and make us less vulnerable to wildfires and floods.
I believe that every American has a fundamental right to breathe clean air and drink clean water. But I know that we haven’t fulfilled that right.
That’s true of the millions of families struggling with the smoke created by these devastating wildfires right now.
But it’s also been true for a generation or more in places — like Cancer Alley in Louisiana or along the Route 9 corridor right here in Delaware.
Fulfilling this basic obligation to all Americans — especially Black, Brown, and Native American communities, who too often don’t have clean air and clean water — is not going to be easy.
But it is necessary. And I am committed to doing it.
These aren’t pie-in-the-sky dreams. These are concrete, actionable policies that create jobs, mitigate climate change, and put our nation on the road to net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.
Some say that we can’t afford to fix this.
But here’s the thing.
Look around at the crushing consequences of the extreme weather events I’ve been describing. We’ve already been paying for it. So we have a choice.
We can invest in our infrastructure to make it stronger and more resilient, while at the same time tackling the root causes of climate change.
Or, we can continue down the path of Donald Trump’s indifference, costing tens of billions of dollars to rebuild, and where the human costs — the lives and livelihoods and homes and communities destroyed — are immeasurable.
We have a choice.
We can commit to doing this together because we know that climate change is the existential challenge that will define our future as a country, for our children, grandchildren, and great-children.
Or, there’s Donald Trump’s way — to ignore the facts, to deny reality that amounts to full surrender and a failure to lead.
It’s backward-looking politics that will harm the environment, make communities less healthy, and hold back economic progress while other countries race ahead.
And it’s a mindset that doesn’t have any faith in the capacity of the American people to compete, to innovate, and to win.
Like the pandemic, dealing with climate change is a global crisis that requires American leadership.
It requires a president for all Americans.
So as the fires rage out West on this day, our prayers remain with everyone under the ash.
I know it’s hard to see the sun rise and believe today will be better than yesterday when America faces this historic inflection point.
A time of real peril, but also a time of extraordinary possibilities.
I want you to know that we can do this.
We will do this.
We are America.
We see the light through the dark smoke.
We never give up.
May God bless our firefighters and first responders.
Governor Andrew Cuomo in his daily briefing in which noted that New York State’s COVID-19 infection rate has been below 1 percent for 32 straight days., laid out a searing attack on Donald Trump, charging that Trump is waging war on Democratic-lead cities.
“Trump is actively trying to kill New York City,” Cuomo declared. “It is personal. I think it’s psychological. He is trying to kill New York City…
“We lose more people per day to COVID than any nation on the globe. You know who did that? Donald Trump’s incompetence. And now they won’t provide federal funding to help repair the damage from the ambush they created…
“The federal government must provide a response; if they don’t provide a response the national economy will suffer for years. Every economist says that They don’t want to provide a response, why? Because they’re playing politics. They don’t want to help Democratic states. They don’t want to help Democratic cities.”
Cuomo put it into the context of Trump administration’s failure to take measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus which came into New York and the Northeast from Europe, not China, causing untold emotional and economic harm, and now doing everything possible to prevent the city and state from recovering economically.
Here are his highlighted remarks –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The good news is this: reopening is proceeding and our strategy is working. New Yorkers are doing a better job than any state in the United States of America— period— and I’m proud to be a New Yorker. The bad news is we have after-effects of COVID, social after-effects. We have economic issues. we have quality-of-life issues. We have increasing crime issues. We have habitability issues.
I can’t tell you how many phone calls I get from people, especially in New York City, who are literally worried about the degradation of New York City— and much of it stems from the economic problems. And Washington is doing absolutely nothing. They’re going back and forth with gridlock. This was the last piece of legislation that they were supposed to pass to handle the aftermath of COVID and they haven’t done it. The Republican Senate doesn’t want to fund state and local governments and that’s the sticking point. Not to fund state and local governments, but to provide all the money that they did to businesses— but you’re not going to provide funding to state local governments, who basically support police, fire, hospitals and schools is just totally ludicrous to me. And it starts with the President.
There was a headline in the Daily News once: “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” and the city was outraged Ford wouldn’t provide financial resources. What Ford did pales in comparison to what Trump is doing; not only did he tell New York City to “drop dead,”
Trump is actively trying to kill New York City. It is personal. I think it’s psychological. He is trying to kill New York City.
He passed SALT, which was targeted just at New York City tax reform; it cost us $14 billion.
He’s refused to fund the extension of the Second Avenue Subway from 96th to 125th Street. Every prior administration has funded the Second Avenue Subway. It is always been a federal-state partnership. Only this President, a former New Yorker, refuses to fund the Second Avenue Subway— even after we opened it up to 96th Street and did an amazing turn-around on the construction project that everybody celebrated.
He won’t approve the AirTrain to LaGuardia. And you want to talk about really ironic, repugnant logic? You know why he won’t approve the AirTrain to LaGuardia? He says he has to do an Environmental Review statement. The same President who has lamented about the delay of Environmental Reviews and how they take so long, and how they stop development and how bad the SEQRA is and how the environmentalists are all full of baloney when it comes to ANWAR. Now he says, “I can’t approve the AirTrain from LaGuardia that’s been talked about for decades because I have to do an Environmental Review. Now Trump, as the environmental bureaucrat. How incredible is that?
He won’t approve congestion pricing for the MTA. What does he have to do with congestion pricing? Nothing! It is just gratuitous. It is just gratuitous. There is no federal involvement with congestion pricing. Their approval is purely technical and it’s been over a year— we passed it in New York State. He won’t approve it.
He won’t rebuild the tunnels between New York and New Jersey that are dangerous. They’re Amtrak tunnels. Do you know who owns Amtrak? Who owns Amtrak? The federal government owns Amtrak. They’re his tunnels. They’re decaying. I went to the tunnel; I took a video of water seeping into the tunnel. I took a video of bricks crumbling. I sent them the video. He watched the video. Still, no money to fund the Amtrak tunnels.
This weekend, they stopped FEMA funding from cleaning schools and trains. “We want students to go back; we want schools to reopen.” But you don’t want to clean the schools? Students should go back to a dirty school? Is that what you want your child to do? Gratuitous and arbitrary, and now no federal funds for New York City and New York State post-COVID.
Donald Trump caused the COVID outbreak in New York. That is a fact. It’s a fact that he admitted and the CDC admitted and Fauci admitted. “The China Virus, the China Virus, the China Virus.” It was not the China Virus; it was the European Virus that came to New York. They missed it. They missed it. The China Virus went to Europe. It got on a plane and went to Europe. They never even thought of the possibility and then 3 million Europeans got on a plane and came to New York and they brought the virus. January: they brought the virus. February: they brought the virus. March: they brought the virus. And in mid-March, the federal government does a travel ban from Europe. Mid-March. Too little too late, Mr. President. He caused the COVID outbreak in New York. Donald Trump and his incompetent CDC and his incompetent NIH and his incompetent Department of Homeland Security.
Department of Homeland Security- “We’re going to protect the people of this nation “We’re not going let the immigrants come across the southern border; we’re going to create a wall” Why didn’t you stop the virus? The virus killed many more Americans than anything you were worried about on the southern border. This nation loses more people per day to COVID than any nation on the globe. Do you hear that point?
We lose more people per day to COVID than any nation on the globe. You know who did that? Donald Trump’s incompetence. And now they won’t provide federal funding to help repair the damage from the ambush they created. That’s where we are.
The federal government must provide a response; if they don’t provide a response the national economy will suffer for years. Every economist says that They don’t want to provide a response, why? Because they’re playing politics. They don’t want to help Democratic states. They don’t want to help Democratic cities.
This is a war on cities: New York City, Portland, Chicago. Right? These are the enemies from the president’s point of view. Look at his tweets. “These are the locations and the outposts of the enemies, so don’t provide them any funding even though we caused the COVID virus. It is an unsustainable position for the federal government.
Either this president will figure it out or the next president will figure it out. If Congress doesn’t figure it out, there will be mayhem in this country and there will be a different Congress in January. That is my political opinion. In the interim we have to be smart. We’ve gone through tough times before, New York, we had the fiscal crisis of the 70s; post 9/11 – I experienced it was a whole disruptive period – we went through the Great Recession, but we have to be smart we have to be smart we have to be financially smart and we’re going to have to come together and figure this out in the interim before we have a federal government that is sane and functional.
The good news is, this is going to be a challenge, yes, but nothing like the challenge we just went through. COVID was the challenge of our lifetime. COVID was the challenge of our lifetime. I hope and pray. But compared to what we went through with COVID, dealing with the fiscal crisis is a mere bump and we’ll get through it, and we’ll get through it together because we’re New York Tough, Smart, United, Disciplined and most of all: Loving.
The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at forward.ny.gov.
In the 2016 campaign, Trump, whose real estate business was sanctioned by the Department of Justice for discriminating against Blacks, absurdly told Black Americans, “What have you got to lose?” Well, in 2020, it is clear: your lives and your livelihoods. Blacks are disproportionately sickened and dying of COVID-19 and climate crises and are the victims of police brutality, killed by police and self-appointed vigilantes, in accelerated numbers.
While the Trump campaign parade Black Americans and people of color at the Republican National Convention and thousands assemble for a new March o n Washington in person and virtually, the Biden Campaign issued an indictment of how Trump has failed Black Americans and what a Biden administration would do to empower Black Americans.
Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris issued a statement on the 57th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom:
“The murder and violence toward Black Americans of the 1960s is happening today in broad daylight for the world to witness,” . A pandemic and economic crisis lays bare the systemic racism that still plagues our way of life. And instead of seeking to heal and unite, too many in our nation seek to inflame and divide.
“We’re in an ongoing battle for the soul of our nation. We condemn the violence. We cannot afford our cities and the bonds between us to be burned, broken, and scarred any further. We have to root out the racism, hate, and the vengeance.
“As our late friend John Lewis said with his final words, we must lay ‘down the heavy burdens of hate at last.’ We need to treat one another with the respect and dignity that each one of us deserves.
“And we must channel the spirit of this day 57 years ago as we’ve seen so many people of every age, race, and station do across the country over the last few months, and again this morning on the National Mall.
“With wisdom, courage, and faith, we must not turn away.
“We must choose the light and overcome.”
FACT SHEET: Trump Has Failed Black Americans
Trump has failed to deliver results for Black communities since Day One of his Administration. His failure to control COVID-19 has hurt Black Americans even more, leaving the community bearing the disproportionate brunt of COVID infections, deaths, and job loss. And, Trump’s failure to get the virus under control has worsened the economic crisis. It didn’t have to be this bad, and Black families are paying the price with their lives and livelihoods. Trump has:
Failed to address the racial disparities in the coronavirus pandemic and overseen a corrupt recovery that passed over Black small business owners. Trump didn’t have a plan to address COVID-19 and still doesn’t today. It didn’t have to be this bad — particularly for Black Americans and other people of color, who are disproportionately getting sick. Black unemployment hit 14.6%, and the unemployment gap between Black and White Americans widened further last month. And, Trump botched the delivery of assistance to small businesses, cutting out Black-and other minority-owned businesses in particular.
Sabotage Black Americans’ health care. Obamacare has saved the lives of countless Black Americans, increasing the number of insured by millions and prohibiting insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions like asthma, cancer, and diabetes. Now, Trump is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down that landmark law, leaving millions without coverage in the middle of a deadly pandemic.
Put the wealthy and well-connected ahead of Black workers and communities. Trump has watered down key wage and workplace protections. He promised to veto a $15 minimum wage, and proposed a tip-pooling rule that would’ve let employers pay many non-tipped workers even less than today. He let federal contractors break laws requiring them to give workers of color a fair shot, and tried to let companies hide the truth when they don’t pay Black workers equal wages. And, Trump has done just as badly by Black entrepreneurs: he tried to slash funding for and even eliminate the federal agency that’s wholly dedicated to developing minority-owned businesses. Wealthy investors and Trump associates have reaped the benefits of Trump’s Opportunity Zones, while communities of color they’re supposed to help have been left behind.
Undercut the path to homeownership and affordable housing for Black Americans. Trump is trying to make it harder to fight housing discrimination and easier for lenders to exclude communities of color. He rolled back the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which fought racial bias in housing. He repeatedly called for cuts to affordable housing programs, slamming Black families, which have lower homeownership rates and are more likely to be low-income renters. And, Trump called for drasticcuts to subsidized housing and voucher programs, and for changes that would raise rents for low-income families.
Reversed work for racial equity in education. Trump and Betsy DeVos revoked rules designed to protect students of color from racial bias in school discipline. They did away with measures meant to help schools to diversify or implement inclusive affirmative action plans. And, Trump abandoned his promise to help students manage crippling college loans, leaving Black Americans three times more likely to default on that debt.
Highlights: How Joe Will Empower Black Americans
For too long, Black Americans have lived with a knee on their neck. Joe Biden knows they’ll never have a fair shot at the American Dream, so long as entrenched disparities are allowed to quietly chip away at opportunity. With Senator Kamala Harris, he will rebuild our economy in a way that finally brings everyone along—and that starts by rooting out systemic racism from our laws, policies, institutions, and hearts. Highlights of Joe’s plans include:
Create wealth in the Black community. The typical white family holds approximately ten times more wealth than the typical Black family. Joe’s plan to Build Back Better will close the racial wealth gap, opportunity gap, and jobs gap. He will create millions of good-paying jobs, increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, end paycheck discrimination, provide affordable child care for families, and leverage more than $150 billion in new capital and opportunities in economically disadvantaged areas, especially for Black owned small businesses and other small businesses that have been structurally excluded for generations. Because homeownership is key to building wealth, he’ll create a $15,000 down-payment tax credit for first-time home buyers. And Joe will set a goal that disadvantaged communities – including many Black communities – receive 40% of the overall benefits of his spending on infrastructure and clean energy.
Tackle health inequities. Black Americans are dying from COVID-19 at a higher rate than whites, shedding light on the long-standing, pervasive disparities across our health care system. Joe will protect and build on Obamacare to ensure access to high-quality, affordable care beyond the crisis, including by providing Black Americans with a new health insurance option – a public option. He’ll also ensure Black communities have clean air to breathe and water to drink, and healthy foods to eat.
Address racial inequity in our education system. Joe will eliminate the funding gap between white and non-white districts, improve teacher diversity, and provide high-quality, universal preschool for all three and four-year-olds. He will invest over $70 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions to lower students’ costs, establish research centers, build high-tech labs, and more. Joe will also ensure Black Americans can attend community college without debt and make public colleges and universities tuition-free for families earning under $125,000 (including 90% of Black families). And he’ll relieve student debt, especially key for Black students who hold more debt and are three times more likely to default on loans than white borrowers. He’ll forgive undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from public colleges and private HBCUs and MSIs for Americans earning up to $125,000.
Root out systemic racism in our police departments and justice system. Joe will outlaw choke holds, create a model use of force standard and a national police oversight commission, and push police departments to review their hiring, training, and de-escalation practices. He’ll expand and use the authority of the Justice Department, created by legislation he authored, to address systemic misconduct in police departments and prosecutors’ offices. He’ll also invest in public defenders’ offices, eliminate the death penalty and mandatory minimums, and end cash bail and private prisons. He’ll decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all cannabis use convictions, and end incarceration for drug use alone.
Just before Donald Trump gives his Republican National Convention speech from the White House, in violation of “norms” and law that prohibits using government facilities for politics, when it is widely anticipated that Trump will smear Joe Biden with lies, Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic candidate for Vice President, delivered a speech in Washington DC drawing the contrast between Trump’s failure and what Joe Biden brings to the office of President. Here is a highlighted transcript:
On this eve of the 57th March on Washington, I will speak about the recent events in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The wildfires raging across the California coast to the Rocky Mountains. The storm which is working its way through Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.
And most of all—about who we are as a country.
We are a nation that, at its best, loves, protects, and helps our fellow Americans.
Today, we see pain, hurt, and destruction in the ashes of wildfires and the damage of Hurricane Laura.
We encourage everyone to continue following guidance from your local authorities to stay safe.
And Joe and I pledge to be there for those whose lives have been turned upside down.
Those who will need help from neighbors, strangers, and our government to make it through, to build back, to restore your lives and your communities.
We also see pain, hurt, and destruction in the aftermath of yet another Black man shot by police.
Jacob Blake, shot 7 times in the back in broad daylight in front of his 3 young sons. 7 times… in the back… in broad daylight… in front of his 3 sons.
As Vice President Biden put it, the shots fired at Mr. Blake pierced the soul of our nation.
It’s sickening to watch. It’s all too familiar. And it must end.
Thankfully, he is alive today. But he is fighting for his life and shouldn’t have to be.
My heart goes out to the Blake family, as they endure an ordeal that is tragically common in our country.
Joe and I spoke with them yesterday. They are an amazing group of people with extraordinary courage.
Even in their pain and grief, even as they seek justice for their son—they spoke about the need to end the violence and heal our nation.
I’ve had conversations like this with far too many mothers and fathers—but you will see and hear no one with more courage, more character, and more moral clarity.
People are rightfully angry and exhausted. And after the murders of Breonna, George, Ahmaud, and so many others, it’s no wonder people are taking to the streets. And I support them.
We must always defend peaceful protest—and peaceful protestors.
We should not confuse them with those looting and committing acts of violence, including, the shooter who was arrested for murder.
And make no mistake, we will not let these vigilantes and extremists derail the path to justice.
Here’s my promise to those mothers and fathers, and all who stand with them:
In a Biden-Harris Administration, you will have a seat at the table—in the Halls of Congress, and in the White House.
We all grew up reciting the pledge of allegiance, but now, we must give real meaning to its words.
One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Justice. Let’s talk about that. Because the reality is that the life of a Black person in America has never been treated as fully human—and we have yet to fulfill that promise of equal justice under law.
We will only achieve that when we finally come together to pass meaningful police reform and broader criminal justice reform, and acknowledge, yes acknowledge, and address systemic racism.
We will only come closer to achieving that when we finally come together.
We have come a long way in our country towards building a more perfect Union, and the time is now—right now—to take the next step forward.
And even as we experience this reckoning with racial injustice, we must also confront another crisis:
The pandemic that has torn apart so many lives.
The numbers that define this crisis are staggering.
We cannot look the other way or allow ourselves to become numb to them.
Nearly 6 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
180,000 lives lost.
More than 50 million claims for unemployment this year alone.
We need to see—and we need to hear—what’s happening in our country.
The quiet desperation that has taken over so many lives in America.
The family packing into their car at 5 in the morning—hoping the local food bank still has something left when they get to the front of the line.
The 50-year old store manager who’s been laid off—and knows he can’t pay the rent on the 1st of the month.
The mothers and fathers stretched to the breaking point—working from home while helping their kids with online classes—just trying to hold it all together.
The small business owners—economic engines of our communities—who are shutting their doors every day.
The nurse getting ready for her afternoon shift—who has seen so much suffering and death in recent months—and wonders how much more she can bear to witness.
The family grieving the loss of their grandmother who has been in a nursing home—who they couldn’t even visit over the last three months of her life.
The alarming and disproportionate rate at which Black, Latino, and Indigenous families are contracting and dying of COVID-19.
That is the reality of America right now. A reality completely absent from this week’s Republican National Convention.
Because unlike the Democratic convention, which was clear-eyed about the challenges we are facing and how we will tackle them…
The Republican convention is designed for one purpose—to soothe Donald Trump’s ego. To make him feel good.
But here’s the thing, he’s the President of the United States. And it’s not Supposed to be about him.
It’s supposed to be about the health, and the safety, and the well-being of the American people.
And on that measure, Donald Trump has failed.
You see, at its most basic level, Donald Trump doesn’t understand the presidency.
He thinks it’s all about him. Well, it’s not. It’s about you. It’s about all of us. The People.
As a lawyer and advocate, when I would rise to speak in a courtroom, I’d say the following words:
Kamala Harris for the people.
And that is why I stand here today—to speak for the people.
Because we know the truth.
Donald Trump has failed at the most basic and important job of a President of the United States.
He failed to protect the American people. Plain and simple.
Trump showed what we, in the legal profession, would call a reckless disregard for the well-being of the American people.
A reckless disregard for the danger a pandemic would pose to American lives. For the devastation it would do to our economy. For the damage it would do to communities of color who have been subjected to structural racism for generations.
For the chaos that would upend our daily lives… make it impossible for many of our kids to go to school… make it impossible to live normally and with certainty.
He never appreciated that a President swears an oath before God and country to protect America against threats seen and unseen.
It’s his duty. It’s his obligation to protect us.
And yet, he has failed. Miserably.
Here’s the thing, Donald Trump’s incompetence is nothing new.
That has always been on full display. But in January of this year, it became deadly.
That’s when the threat of a virus that would endanger the world first emerged.
Trump dismissed the threat. Joe Biden, sounded the alarm.
It would be the beginning of a pattern that persists to this day.
Trump telling us not to worry, that the virus will, quote, “disappear,” that a quote, “miracle” is coming.
Joe Biden, saying we need a plan, a national strategy, a President who is willing to lead, willing to be a role model for our nation. For our children.
Trump still doesn’t have a plan.
Joe Biden, released his first plan in March.
Here’s what you have to understand about the nature of a pandemic.
It’s relentless. You can’t stop it with a tweet. You can’t create a distraction and hope it’ll go away. It doesn’t go away. By its nature, a pandemic is unforgiving.
If you get it wrong at the beginning, the consequences are catastrophic. It’s very hard to catch up. You don’t get a second chance at getting it right.
Well, President Trump got it wrong in the beginning.
And then, he got it wrong again… and again.
And the consequences have been catastrophic.
And here’s why Trump has been so unwilling and unable to deal with this crisis:
First, he was fixated on the stock market over fixing the problem.
He tweeted about it consistently during this period.
He was convinced that if his administration focused on this virus, it would hurt the market and hurt his chances of being reelected.
That mattered more to him than saving American lives.
Second, right at the moment that we needed Donald Trump to be tough on the Chinese government, he caved.
On January 24th, he praised the transparency of the Chinese government.
He said, quote, “China has been working hard to contain the coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well.”
But they weren’t being transparent. They blocked public health inspectors from the CDC, from getting the access and information they needed to protect American lives.
Donald Trump stood idly by. And folks, it was a deadly decision.
Instead of rising to meet the most difficult moment of his presidency, Donald Trump froze. He was scared. He was petty and vindictive.
On a call with governors across the country on March 16th, he told them it wasn’t his job to get personal protective equipment to frontline workers.
He said, quote: “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment, try getting it yourselves.” Unquote.
On that day…we had about 5,000 cases as a nation.
Today… we have nearly 6 million.
Even now—some eight months into this crisis—Donald Trump still won’t take responsibility. He still won’t act.
The tragedy in all of this is… it didn’t have to be this bad.
Just look around. It’s not like this in the rest of the world.
All we needed was a competent president—one who was willing to listen, willing to lead, take responsibility, have a plan, do their job.
Joe Biden will be that president.
He’s got a national strategy.
He’s more than ready to lead.
Every month since March as this pandemic has unfolded, Joe Biden has updated the steps he would take to save American lives. And he’s done it based on what every scientist, every expert, every economist, said we should be doing.
As President, Joe Biden will put a plan into effect on day one.
Develop and deploy rapid tests with immediate results.
Make sure testing, treatments, and ultimately, a vaccine reach all Americans, including communities of color, who have historically been left behind.
Manufacture the medical supplies and protective equipment we need.
And make them right here—in America, so we’re never again at the mercy of China and other foreign countries to protect our own people.
Joe and I will make sure our schools have all the resources they need—to be open, safe, and effective.
Put politics aside—and not silence the experts—so the public gets the information they need and deserve.
And put in place a nationwide mask Mandate—in Joe’s words, it’s not a burden to protect each other.
Because he knows we’re all in this together.
Donald Trump says there’s nothing he could have done to prevent all this death.
Here’s the truth:
Barack Obama and Joe Biden had a program called PREDICT that tracked emerging diseases in places like China. I’m going to repeat that. The program tracked emerging diseases in places like China. Trump cut it.
They dedicated a team on the National Security Council to global health security and biodefense. Donald Trump eliminated it.
They implemented standards for nursing homes to improve infection control. Trump is erasing them.
Before the virus hit, Trump made our country vulnerable. After it was struck, he failed to do what was necessary.
As it continues, he’s making it worse every day.
Just this week, the Social Security Administration said a cut to Social Security like the one Trump is proposing would end disability benefits within one year and end All benefits within 3 years.
Let me be as clear as possible, if Donald Trump’s extreme proposal goes into effect, the checks that America’s seniors rely on to pay your bills, to buy your medicine—to live—will stop coming.
The very people who have suffered so greatly in this crisis.
And in the middle of a health crisis made worse by his own actions, Donald Trump is in court right now trying to throw out the entire Affordable Care Act, including the protections it provides for people with pre-existing conditions.
That means, if you are fortunate enough to survive COVID-19, insurers could deny you coverage for treating any long-term effects.
Now President Trump, won’t tell you any of this at the Republican convention tonight.
And we all know he’s not changing.
The president he has been—is the president he will be.
But we have a chance to right these wrongs and put America on a better path forward.
One where the leaders we elect listen to the experts and follow the best medical guidance to keep us and our families healthy and safe.
One where we take meaningful action against systems and traditions of oppression.
One where we stop fanning the flames of hate and division, and treat one another with the respect and dignity that each one of us deserves.
As Joe Biden said in his acceptance speech, we have a choice between the light and the dark.
Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for President, following Vice President Mike Pence’s speech to the Republican National Convention extolling “Donald Trump’s America,” offered this statement:
Last night, Vice President Mike Pence stood before America and with a straight face said, “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”
The violence you’re seeing in Donald Trump’s America.
Did Mike Pence forget Donald Trump is president? Is Donald Trump even aware he’s president? These are not images from some imagined “Joe Biden’s America” in the future. These are images from Donald Trump’s America today. The violence we’re witnessing is happening under Donald Trump. Not me. It’s getting worse, and we know why.
Donald Trump refuses to even acknowledge there is a racial justice problem in America. To solve this problem, first we have to honestly admit the problem. But he won’t do it. Instead of looking to calm the waters, he adds fuel to every fire. Violence isn’t a problem in his eyes – it’s a political strategy. And the more of it, the better for him.
One of his top White House advisors said it flat out earlier today. “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order.” The better it is.
I have made it clear. There is no place for violence, looting, or burning. None. Zero.
All it does it hurt the communities reeling from injustice – and it destroys the businesses that serve them – many of them run by people of color who for the first time in their lives have begun to build wealth for their family.
But while I have condemned all forms of violence – police violence, lawless violence and violence perpetrated by extreme, right-wing militia groups – like the groups the 17-year-old just arrested in Illinois for murdering two people in Wisconsin is reputed to have been aligned with. Trump doesn’t speak out against these extreme right-wing groups. Instead – as he did about Charlottesville – he embraces them.
If you’re worried about the violence you’re witnessing, you better be worried about the armed militias – often aligned with white supremacists and white nationalists and Neo-Nazis and the KKK – who are often the source of the biggest trouble.
I am sure Donald Trump will stand before America and say the same things his vice president said last night. And when he does, remember: every example of violence he decries has happened on his watch. Under his leadership. During his presidency.
And of course, as has been true all week, I’m sure there will barely be a mention of what more than 300 million Americans fear the most right now – contracting COVID-19. 180,000 Americans have lost their lives under this president to this virus.
And there will almost certainly be no mention of the catastrophic impact his failure to deal with the virus has had on this nation’s economy – the millions of people who have lost their jobs, their health care, their homes, their small businesses.
So when Donald Trump says tonight you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America, look around and ask yourself: How safe do you feel in Donald Trump’s America?
Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who lost both legs when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down in Iraq, addressed the Democratic National Convention on Joe Biden’s longtime and genuine support for active military, their families, and veterans, both because he lived the experience and because he brings a genuine compassion, dignity, integrity to leadership. She offered some of the most damning accusations against the incumbent Donald Trump, calling him “Coward-in-Chief who won’t stand up to Vladamir Putin, read his daily intelligence briefings or even publicly admonish adversaries for reportedly putting bounties on our troops’ heads.
“As President, Joe Biden would never let tyrants manipulate him like a puppet. He would never pervert our military to stroke his own ego. He would never turn his back on our troops or threaten them against Americans peacefully exercising their Constitutional rights. Joe Biden would stand up for what’s right… stand tall for our troops… and stand strong against our enemies. Because unlike Trump, Joe Biden has common decency.”
Here are Senator Duckworth’s highlighted remarks:
Good evening. I’m Tammy Duckworth.
When I first enlisted in the Army, I was eager to serve my country… yet anxious whether I’d be able to earn my way into the ranks.
But I earned my wings and later commanded my own air assault unit, learning that serving—and leading—in the military is both a privilege and a sacrifice.
To be a commander, you must always put your Troops first—because one day, you may order them to sacrifice everything for our great nation.
To do that, leaders must command their Troops’ respect—and be worthy of their pledge to protect and defend our Constitution, no matter the cost.
But military service doesn’t just take sacrifice from those in uniform—it’s required from their families, too.
My husband Bryan was the one who rushed to Walter Reed after I was wounded in Iraq.
He was the one holding my hand, waiting for me to wake up…
…when I finally did, he was my rock, getting me through those hours… weeks… months of unspeakable pain and unending surgeries.
He was my anchor as I relearned to walk, helping me through every step… every stumble.
Our military spouses hold their families together… praying for their loved one’s safety wherever they’re deployed, serving as caregivers to our disabled servicemembers, then picking up the pieces and starting again whenever the next tour… or the next war… arises.
Joe Biden understands these sacrifices, because he’s made them himself.
When his son Beau deployed to Iraq, his burden was also shouldered by his family.
Joe knows the fear military families live with because he’s felt that dread of never knowing if your deployed loved one is safe.
He understands their bravery because he had to muster that same strength every hour of every day Beau was overseas.
That’s the kind of leader our servicemembers deserve: one who understands the risks they face and who would actually protect them by doing his job as Commander-in-Chief.
Instead they have a Coward-in-Chief who won’t stand up to Vladamir Putin, read his daily intelligence briefings or even publicly admonish adversaries for reportedly putting bounties on our troops’ heads.
As President, Joe Biden would never let tyrants manipulate him like a puppet.
He would never pervert our military to stroke his own ego.
He would never turn his back on our troops or threaten them against Americans peacefully exercising their Constitutional rights.
Joe Biden would stand up for what’s right… stand tall for our troops… and stand strong against our enemies.
Because unlike Trump, Joe Biden has common decency.
He has common sense.
He can command… from both experience and from strength.
Donald Trump doesn’t deserve to call himself Commander-in-Chief for another four minutes—let alone another four years.
Our troops deserve better.
Our country deserves better.
If you agree, text “MORE” to 3-0-3-3-0 to elect Joe Biden: a leader who actually cares enough about America to lead.
Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for President, issued a forceful statement decrying the Trump administration’s failure to protect America’s election and democracy from foreign interference, warning how the threat undermines America’s sovereignty and describing what he would do – indeed, what a functioning President and government should do – immediately upon taking office . Here is his statement:
Foreign interference in the U.S. electoral process represents an assault on the American people and their constitutional right to vote. When foreign states direct hackers, trolls, money launderers, and misinformation to subvert or cast doubt on our elections, they threaten America’s sovereignty, democratic institutions, and national security. They undermine the vote and the voice of every U.S. citizen. They attack our very way of life.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has concluded that the Kremlin’s interference in past elections represented “only the latest installment in an increasingly brazen interference by the Kremlin on the citizens and democratic institutions of the United States.” Despite the exposure of Russia’s malign activities by the U.S. Intelligence Community, law enforcement agencies, and bipartisan Congressional committees, the Kremlin has not halted its efforts to interfere in our democracy. In Senate testimony on July 23 2019, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified that Russia was “absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections.” And on March 27, 2020, the State Department held a briefing describing how Russia was recklessly spreading disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia is not the only foreign actor seeking to interfere in our democracy. Increasingly, other states have shown an interest in copying Russia’s tactics.
Congress passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017. The Trump administration has thus far failed to make adequate use of these authorities to counter and deter foreign election interference. Instead, President Trump has repeatedly denied that Russia interfered in our elections, most egregiously during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, 2018.
In spite of President Trump’s failure to act, America’s adversaries must not misjudge the resolve of the American people to counter every effort by a foreign power to interfere in our democracy, whether by hacking voting systems and databases, laundering money into our political system, systematically spreading disinformation, or trying to sow doubt about the integrity of our elections.
That is why, today, I am putting the Kremlin and other foreign governments on notice. If elected president, I will treat foreign interference in our election as an adversarial act that significantly affects the relationship between the United States and the interfering nation’s government. I will direct the U.S. Intelligence Community to report publicly and in a timely manner on any efforts by foreign governments that have interfered, or attempted to interfere, with U.S. elections. I will direct my administration to leverage all appropriate instruments of national power and make full use of my executive authority to impose substantial and lasting costs on state perpetrators. These costs could include financial-sector sanctions, asset freezes, cyber responses, and the exposure of corruption. A range of other actions could also be taken, depending on the nature of the attack. I will direct our response at a time and in a manner of our choosing.
In addition, I will take action where needed to stop attempts to interfere with U.S. elections before they can impact our democratic processes. In particular, I will direct and resource the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Department of State, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Foreign Interference Task Force to develop plans for disrupting foreign threats to our elections process. This will be done, wherever possible, in coordination with our allies and partners, so that we are isolating the regimes that seek to undermine democracies and civil liberties.
I have no desire to escalate tensions with Russia or any other country. I would prefer to focus the full energies of my administration on bringing the international community together to fight COVID-19 and the economic pain it has caused, and to tackle other pressing issues of international concern. But if any foreign power recklessly chooses to interfere in our democracy, I will not hesitate to respond as president to impose substantial and lasting costs.
Demonstrating yet again the stark contrast between the malevolent ineptitude of Trump and the competence, care and concern of Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president has issued his own plan to reopen schools safely in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic. Trump’s only plan: damn the science, bully public schools to reopen or lose federal funding, impede testing and keep COVID-19 cases and fatalities secret from the public. This is from the Biden campaign: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Joe Biden’s Roadmap to Reopening Schools Safely
Educators, students, and families have done an incredible job in difficult circumstances over the last four months. Everyone wants schools to fully reopen for in-person instruction. Creating the conditions to make it happen should be a top national priority. Joe Biden believes that the decision about when to reopen safely should be made by state, tribal, and local officials, based on science and in consultation with communities and tribal governments. It should be made with the safety of students and educators in mind. And, it should be made recognizing that if we do this wrong, we will put lives at risk and set our economy and our country back.
The challenge facing our schools is unprecedented. President Trump has made it much worse. We had a window to get this right. And, Trump blew it. His administration failed to heed the experts and take the steps required to reduce infections in our communities. As a result, cases have exploded. Now our window before the new school year is closing rapidly, and we are forced to grapple with reopening our schools in an environment of much greater risk to educators, students, and their families than there would have been if America had competent leadership.
Over a month ago, Biden identified key steps that Donald Trump needed to take to reopen our schools safely. Trump has taken none of them. In fact, he’s done the opposite. He has threatened to force schools to reopen for in-person instruction without the basic resources they need to keep students, educators, and communities safe. If Trump had actually done his job as President, the decisions facing our schools would look fundamentally different.
Joe Biden has a simple five-step roadmap to support local decision-making on reopening schools safely and to help students whose learning was interrupted:
Get the Virus Under Control: Months into this crisis, infection rates are spiking across the country, personal protective equipment (PPE) is still in short supply, and hospitalizations and deaths are unacceptably high. We have only weeks to go before the school year begins, and we have no plan, no leadership, and no additional resources to fight this crisis. We do not have sufficient testing, adequate contact tracing, or reliable supply chains. It is outrageous that Trump forced educators, parents, and caregivers into this situation. If we want to reopen schools safely, we need to get cases down in states and communities across America. Now. That means mask wearing and appropriate social distancing guidelines that match the virus trajectory in a community. In addition, Biden has laid out comprehensive plans on March 12, April 27, and June 11, among others, to:
Implement nationwide testing-and-tracing, including doubling the number of drive-through testing sites;
Establish a sustainable supply chain for PPE, including fully utilizing the Defense Production Act to ensure enough masks for every school in America every day;
Protect older Americans and others at high risk;
Provide small businesses with the resources they need to reopen safely.
Set National Safety Guidelines, Empower Local Decision-Making: The Trump Administration’s chaotic and politicized response has left school districts to improvise a thousand hard decisions on their own. Schools need clear, consistent, effective national guidelines, not mixed messages and political ultimatums. Biden would task the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other federal agencies with establishing basic, objective criteria to guide state, tribal, and local officials in deciding if and how reopening can be managed safely in their communities, including:
Decisions on reopening have been tied to the level of risk and degree of viral spread in the community. Biden agrees with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and AASA, the School Superintendents Association, that “schools in areas with high levels of COVID-19 community spread should not be compelled to reopen against the judgement of local experts.”
Emergency funding needs have been met so that schools have the resources to reconfigure classrooms, kitchens, and other spaces, improve ventilation, and take other necessary steps to make it easier to physically distance and minimize risk of spread.
Schools have taken necessary precautions to foster a culture of health and safety and protect educators and students, including reducing class size, limiting large gatherings, and providing safe environments for eating.
Schools have ready access to enough masks and other PPE for every student and educator every day, if they need it.
Reasonable accommodations have been made for at-risk educators and students, in collaboration with educators, their unions, parents, and caregivers.
State and local officials have shared a plan for regularly communicating about school decisions and resources with parents, caregivers, educators, and the community.
The federal government has issued reopening guidelines, free from political interference, in greater detail to answer basic questions that schools have, including: How low does the community infection rate need to be to reopen and at what point should schools shut down again if cases rise? What are safe maximum class sizes? If schools cannot accommodate everyone, who should return to the classroom first? The current lack of clarity is paralyzing for schools.
Provide Emergency Funding for Public Schools and Child Care Providers: Schools urgently need emergency financial support, but what they have gotten from Trump is bluster and bullying and, worse, threats to further slash their funding. As a result of Trump’s failure to lead, states could face drastic budget shortfalls totalling $555 billion over state fiscal years of 2020-2022. Left unaddressed, these shortfalls could result in significant layoffs. According to one analysis, just a conservative 5% decrease in state education funding would result in the loss of almost 28,000 school positions, including teachers, counselors, social workers, and school psychologists.
As President, Biden will always put our children, educators, and families first. He believes public schools, especially Title I schools – should have all the resources they need to safely return to in-person instruction and support all students. Biden is:
Calling on Trump and Senate Republicans to pass the education funding in the HEROES Act, which the House passed months ago. This bill includes roughly $58 billion for local school districts to stabilize public education and save jobs. Over four months ago, Biden called for a renewable fund for state, tribal, and local governments to help prevent budget shortfalls and protect that relief from exactly the kind of political brinkmanship we are seeing from Trump and Republicans leaders today. It is past time to get it done.
Calling on the Congress to pass a separate emergency package to ensure schools have the additional resources they need to adapt effectively to COVID-19. School officials estimate that districts will need about $30 billion to put in place the changes needed to reopen safely. This package should include funding for child care providers and public schools — particularly Title I schools and Indian schools — for personal protective equipment; public health and sanitation products; custodial and health services; and alterations to building ventilation systems, classrooms, schedules, class size, and transportation. And, an additional roughly $4 billion is needed to upgrade technology and broadband. Biden has previously announced that, as President, he will ensure schools have the resources to double the number of psychologists, counselors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals in schools so our kids get the mental health care they need. That’s more important now than ever before, as kids grapple with the stress and trauma of our economic and public health crisis.
Ensuring High-Quality Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic: We are continuing to learn how to best support students, educators, and their families through this challenging time. Biden would mobilize a large-scale U.S. Department of Education effort to work with practitioners to develop, adopt, and share the latest tools and best practices to ensure high-equality learning during this pandemic. This effort would include:
Delivering high-quality remote and hybrid learning with a special emphasis on students with disabilities, English-language learners, and students who do not have access to specific technology, such as broadband and devices. This includes dedicated time and resources for our educators to pursue professional development opportunities tailored to the unique circumstances of this crisis.
Creating a Safer Schools Best Practices Clearinghouse to help schools and child care providers across the country and around the world share approaches, protocols, and tools for reopening safely.
Providing tools and resources for parents and other caregivers to help them make informed decisions on sending their children to school, help their children cope with the stress of this pandemic, and assist them with their children’s remote learning.
Ensuring tailored remote teaching assignments and educational plans for educators and students who are at greater risk to COVID-19 or live with a family member who is.
Working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health to share with educators and families evolving scientific insights into how COVID-19 affects children.Biden has called for scaling up COVID-19 pediatric research partnerships to address glaring gaps in our knowledge.
Closing the COVID-19 Educational Equity Gap: Despite the best efforts of educators, students, and families, this crisis, coupled with long-standing racial inequities, has led many students, especially low-income students and students of color, to struggle and fall behind. New research shows that some students could even lose an entire year of academic gains. As President, Biden would:
Direct a White House-led initiative to identify evidence-based policy solutions that address gaps in learning, mental health, social and emotional well-being, and systemic racial and socioeconomic disparities in education that the pandemic has exacerbated. Biden would invite participation from a dedicated group of health experts, including mental health professionals and neuroscientists; educators, including early educators, and their unions; school technology practitioners and experts; civil rights advocates; Indian education experts; foundations and the private sector; and families, students, and community advocates. Biden would request its recommendations on an accelerated time frame in order to provide guidance to states, tribal, and local governments as quickly as possible.
Launch a COVID-19 Educational Equity Gap Challenge Grant to encourage states and tribal governments – in partnership with the education and broader community – to develop bold plans that adopt evidence-based policy recommendations and give all of our students the support they need to succeed.
Support community schools. Community schools work with families, students, teachers and community organizations to identify families’ unmet needs and then develop a plan to leverage community resources to address these needs in the school building, turning schools into community hubs. They provide holistic services like health and nutrition, mental health, and adult education– services that are especially critical during and after COVID-19 to address the social, emotional, academic, and health needs of students in a comprehensive way. Biden will provide resources to expand this model.