Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden promised crowds in Bucks and Luzerne counties that he would “work as hard for those who don’t support me as for those who do.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden took the closing argument of his campaign into Trump Country on Saturday, telling Northeastern Pennsylvanians that the president had forgotten them and that he never would because he’s one of them.
In a speech peppered with references to his youth spent in the region, Biden hit Trump on familiar lines and continued to push the narrative that he represents places like Scranton while Trump represents places like Wall Street.
Biden said he knew that some people in the crowd at Dallas High School, which is about a 15-minute drive from Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County, voted for Trump in 2016 because they felt left behind and forgotten. Trump won the county by 26,000 votes in 2016. It hadn’t gone to a Republican since 1988.
Trump, Biden said, promised to be a champion for the forgotten man.
“The truth is, once he got in office, he forgot you,” Biden said, later adding, “You’ll be seen and heard and respected by me.”
Biden’s critique of Trump included the way Trump has treated states like Pennsylvania throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Even though they’re filled with the forgotten voters Trump claimed to champion, they’re run by Democratic governors.
“He’s saying if you live in a state like Pennsylvania—or in Michigan, or in Wisconsin, states with Democratic governors—you’re not his problem,” Biden said. “He’s not responsible for you.”
Biden said he’ll never look at the country that way.
“I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president,” he said. “And I will work as hard for those who don’t support me as for those who do. That’s the job of a president.”
His pitch for the presidency included campaign appearances from his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and rock star Jon Bon Jovi, who played a handful of songs before he talked about why he’s supporting Biden.
“After we get Joe into office, that’s when the healing starts,” he said. “Because we’ve all got to come together and remember that under the great stars and stripes we are all one United States of America.”
The campaign stop was Biden’s second stop in Pennsylvania Saturday; he visited Bucks County earlier in the day.
The effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic were evident at both rallies. They were drive-in events to help keep the crowd socially distanced, though staff sometimes had trouble keeping people in their vehicles. People showed their support by honking their horns.
As he referenced the president’s work on the coronavirus, he portrayed a “dark winter” if America doesn’t start making better choices.
“Experts say we’ll lose nearly another 200,000 lives nationwide in the next few months because [Trump] cares more about the stock market than he does about you, because he refuses to follow science,” Biden said.
“It’s estimated that if we just wore masks, over the next few months we’d save over 100,000 lives.
“And you know what’s really sad about all this? The President knew back in February how deadly this virus was, and he hid it from the country.”
Biden also railed against Trump’s corruption and the tax breaks he gave billionaires.
“Now, even with 30 million Americans with lost jobs or lost hours, he thinks the way to get America’s economy back on track is to give another gigantic multi-billion dollar tax cut to those corporations and the very wealthy,” Biden said, noting that billionaires in the US have seen their wealth increase by more than $700 billion
Biden referenced Trump’s 2016 comment that he paid less in taxes because he’s smart.
“I’m sick and tired of smart guys who let the rest of us pick up the tab,” Biden shouted.
He was fired up.
“I’ve dealt with guys like Trump my whole life. So have you,” Biden said. “Guys who look down on you because they’ve got a lot of money. Guys who think they’re better than you. Guys who inherited everything they ever got in life and then squandered it. Guys who stiff the electricians and the plumbers and the contractors working on their hotels, casinos, and golf courses.”
“Maybe it’s the Scranton in me, but I’ve got a chip on my shoulder,” Biden said at one point.
“You and I know who really built this country,” Biden said. “Working people did. The middle class did. Unions did, like the folks here today and across Pennsylvania.”
Trump and the Republican Party have refused to provide relief to American families, Biden said. They also have refused to increase the federal minimum wage.
Biden brought up the fact that he will be the first president in decades who didn’t attend an Ivy League school.
“I think it’s about time a state school guy gets to go to the Oval Office,” he said. “Because you know what? If I’m sitting there, you will, too.”
Biden ended his speech with force, but turned away from the gloom about the virus and the economy. He talked about his optimism for the country.
“I refuse to postpone the work America must do. There’s nothing beyond our capacity,” he said “There’s no limit to America’s future.”