Speeches and Remarks

Remarks by Vice President Harris on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 23:55

Room 350
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

4:47 P.M. EDT

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Please, have a seat.  Good afternoon.  Good afternoon.  Good afternoon. 

What an extraordinary group of leaders I see.  It’s so good to be with everyone, and thank you. 

And thank you to Jen.  She has been — I mean, just — like, we are just doing this thing together, Jen.  And you have been so wonderful.  You have been such a power in our administration on fighting for gender equity, and I thank you for that and for the introduction.

And to all our distinguished guests, thank you for being here.

     I especially thank the survivors and advocates that are with us today: Kolbassia, Oleksandra, Amit, and Nadia, whose Nobel Peace Prize on the topic of sexual violence is an extraordinary testament to her global leadership. 

Every day, each of you brings to light the atrocity of conflict-related sexual violence.  You, in particular, are fearless advocates in the fighter — in the fight for justice, and you remind us of the resilience of survivors. 

     President Joe Biden and I stand with you in solidarity and with all the survivors around the world. 

     So, sexual violence has been a tactic of war since ancient times.  Throughout history, those who have waged war have specifically targeted and violated women and girls to exert dominance and power over their bodies and to humiliate and terrorize and subdue entire populations.  And sexual violence remains a gruesome part of modern conflict around the globe. 

     In Ukraine, Russian forces have raped women in occupied territories.  In Iraq, when ISIS seized territory a decade ago, they forced women and girls into sexual slavery as they massacred thousands.  In Sudan, the ongoing conflict includes paramilitary forces terrorizing women and girls through sexual violence.  In Haiti, gangs have used sexual assault to rape and coerce communities into submission.  And we’ve seen similar horrors in South Sudan, in Ethiopia, Central African Republic, and the DRC. 

     My heart breaks for the trauma and pain inflicted in each of these conflicts. 

     And October 7, last year, Hamas committed horrific acts of sexual violence.

     Sheryl, I thank you for all your work to bring to light the horrors of this issue and for your film about what happened on October 7.  In the days after October 7, I saw images of bloodied Israeli women abducted.  Then it came to light that Hamas committed rape and gang rape at the Nova Music Festival, and women’s bodies were found naked from the waist down, hands tied behind their back, and shot in the head. 

     I’ve heard the stories from a former hostage of what she witnessed and heard in captivity.  And I just met with Amit, a survivor who has bravely come forward with her account of sexual violence while she was held captive by Hamas. 

     These testimonies, I fear, will only increase as more hostages are released.  We cannot look away, and we will not be silent. 

     My heart breaks for all these survivors and their families and for all the pain and suffering over the past eight months in Israel and in Gaza. 

We are deeply concerned by all reports of sexual violence and degradation, and we mourn every innocent life lost in this conflict.  It is devastating, which is why President Biden and I have made clear: Hamas needs to accept the deal that is on the table for a ceasefire, which would bring the hostages home and lead to a permanent end to hostilities. 

     Specifically, on the issue of conflict-related sexual violence, in recent years, the international community has made great progress on recognizing that it is an attack on peace, stability, and human rights.  And the United States has been proud to lead the way at the United Nations and around the world by providing rape kits and healthcare for survivors, training militaries and peacekeepers, and supporting the appointment of a Special Representative to the U.N. Secretary General to monitor this issue. 

     But that is not enough.  It’s not enough.  The crimes persist.  And globally, our system of accountability remains inadequate.  More must be done. 

And it is the responsibility of all of us — governments, international organizations, civil society, and individual citizens — to actively confront conflict-related sexual violence and to work to rid our world of this heinous crime and to do what is necessary to hold perpetrators accountable. 

     And it starts, of course, with awareness and acknowledgement.  We must speak truth about the prevalence of conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls and men and boys.  All of these crimes are too often ignored.  The U.N. estimates that for each rape documented in connection with a conflict, there are 10 to 20 cases that go undocumented. 

     Conflict-related sexual violence must be condemned, unequivocally, wherever and whenever it occurs.  And we must fortify systems to prioritize action — systems that support survivors, effectively collect evidence, and promote investigation. 

     That is one of the reasons why our administration is launching the Dignity in Documentation Initiative to improve documentation of these crimes.  For far too long, systems, whether law enforcement or judicial, have not sufficiently addressed conflict-related sexual violence.  And for far too long, the consequences, then, stopped at mere condemnation — which, of course, is important, but stopped there, rather than going to accountability. 

     We have to change that.  We must condemn, of course, this conduct.  But there must be accountability.  So, we have committed, as an administration, to move the system from only condemnation to consequences. 

Thanks to the leadership of our administration, we have made it the policy of the United States to use all of our diplomatic, financial, and legal tools to punish those who commit sexual violence. 

     For example, for the first time, we imposed sanctions based solely on conflict-related sexual violence, including for crimes committed in Haiti, Sudan, Iraq, and the DRC, with the knowledge that meaningful systems of accountability also contribute to deterrence. 

     If one is held accountable by a system that takes seriously the outrageousness of the conduct, it stands to reason that it will serve also as a deterrence to prevent further crimes from happening in the future.

     The bottom line is: The use of sexual violence as a tactic of war is unconscionable.  And any failure to hold perpetrators accountable is a failure to live up to, by all of us, our common humanity.

     We must agree that in civil societies there must be outrage that prompts action to address what is happening around the world and that we commit ourselves to speaking truth about the failures of these systems with the purpose and goal of holding ourselves to the highest standards to ensure that we all prioritize what is right for the sake of the safety and the dignity and the well-being of all people.

     So, let us rededicate ourselves to build a future where women and girls and all people can live free from violence, abuse, and fear.  President Joe Biden and I are committed to work with all of you to that end. 

And I thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END                     4:57 P.M. EDT

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Remarks by President Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Before Bilateral Meeting

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 21:59

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, Mr. Secretary General, welcome back to the Oval Office. 

I have to say ahead of time, I’m going to miss you.  I’m going to miss you. 

You know, I believe that this — this one of the most consequential moments for Europe since World War Two.  I think you do too.  NATO was founded 75 years ago, and it’s — I think the lessons we’ve learned then and about standing together to defend and deter aggression have been consequential. 

And we’ve made NATO — you — under your leader- — leadership, we made it larger, stronger, and it’s more united than it’s ever been.  So, I want to thank you, Mr. Secretary General, for the incredible work you’ve done. 

Together, we deterred further Russian aggression in Europe.  I think we — well, I know we’ve welcomed Finland and Sweden to the Alliance.  And we’ve strengthened NATO’s eastern flank, making it clear that we’ll defend every single inch of NATO territory.

And, Jens, we — a very important announcement to make today: A record number of Allies are meeting the NATO commitment to at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense.  And, in fact, the number has more than doubled since we took office — since I took office. 

And I look forward to building it all — on all this progress next month when we have the 75th meeting here in Washington.

And I look forward to our discussion today.

So, I want to thank you for being here.  We got a lot to talk about.  And I mean it sincerely, you’ve been great.  I just wish you’d extend your term another 10 years. 

You’re doing a hell of a job, seriously.

SECRETARY GENERAL STOLTENBERG:  Thank you.

President Biden, dear Joe, thank you so much for your warm words — words.  And thank you so much for your personal commitment to NATO, to our Transatlantic Alliance. 

And, also, many thanks for hosting the NATO Summit here in Washington, D.C., next month.  At that summit, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the most successful alliance in history, but we’ll also make important decisions for the future — not least on the issue and the importance of investing in our security.

And today, we are able to publish new figures for defense spending.  They show that, across Europe and Canada, NATO Allies are, this year, increasing defense spending by 18 percent.  That’s the biggest increase in decades.  And 23 Allies are going to spend 2 percent of GDP or more on defense this year.  That’s more than twice as many as four years ago, and demonstrates that European Allies and Canada are really stepping up and taking their share of the common responsibility to protect all of us in the NATO Alliance. 

It’s also important for the United States to know that a lot of this money is actually spent here in the United States.  Allies are buying more and more equipment from the U.S.  So, NATO is good for U.S. security, but NATO is also good for U.S. jobs. 

Mr. President, and also thank you for your strong leadership on Ukraine.  And congratulations on the bilateral security agreement you signed with President Zelenskyy, with Ukraine. 

European Allies are also stepping up and matching the U.S. contributions, military support to Ukraine.  And I expect that when we meet here next month, we will agree to have NATO in the lead role in providing security assistance and training and also that Allies will agree to step up financial and military support to Ukraine.  This will reduce the burden on the United States and strengthen our support to Ukraine. 

I think it’s important to understand that the stronger our support for Ukraine is, the sooner this war can end, because the sooner President Putin will realize that he cannot wait us out.

It is in — support Ukraine is not charity.  Support Ukraine is in our own security interest.  And therefore, I welcome the strong commitment of all NATO Allies to continue to support Ukraine. 

So, once again, thank you so much.  Thank you for once again hosting me — me here in the Oval Office.  And I look very much forward to the NATO summit in Washington, D.C., next month. 

Thank you.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Thank you, pal.

Thank you very much, everyone.

(Cross-talk.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  (Inaudible.)  (Laughs.)

4:18 P.M. EDT

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Remarks by National Economic Council Deputy Director Daniel Hornung on the Generational Opportunity to Reorient the Tax System in 2025

Mon, 06/17/2024 - 15:00

June 17, 2024,
Washington Center for Equitable Growth
As Prepared for Delivery

It’s wonderful to be here at such an important moment for the future of economic policy. And it’s a particular honor to join Senator Warren and the distinguished experts you just heard from.

The expiration of the individual provisions of the Trump tax cuts presents a generational opportunity to not just correct the failures of that legislation but to fundamentally reorient our tax system towards shared growth and economic opportunity—to address structural issues in our tax code that have long preferenced wealth over work, to adjust to demographic shifts that require us to raise more revenue, and to ensure our society can sustainably invest in a range of critical priorities that benefit those in the bottom and middle of the income and wealth distributions.

I’ll start with the failures of the Trump tax cuts because those failures inform where we should begin in 2025, and then I’ll discuss the kind of tax system and economy President Biden believes we should build.

The Trump Tax Cuts Failed on Their Own Terms

The Trump tax cuts failed on their own terms: they failed to deliver gains in income, economic activity, and revenue that proponents claimed—and instead were a large windfall for high-income households and large businesses.

In 2017, proponents of the Trump tax cuts said the bill would mainly benefit typical Americans and boost their wages. Instead, the bill gave those in the top 1 percent a tax cut over 50 times larger than that of middle-income households. Its corporate rate cut failed to trickle-down: one rigorous analysis found that corporations used the windfall to buy back stock, pay dividends, and boost executive pay, while the bottom 90 percent of workers saw no wage gains.

Similarly, proponents of the Trump tax cuts said they would double or even triple the economic growth rate. But real GDP and fixed investment grew at about the same rate in the two years after the legislation passed as in the two years before.

Finally, the bill’s proponents also claimed that it would increase revenues and fully pay for itself. But in 2017, revenues were expected to average 18.3 percent of the economy from 2023 to 2025. With 2023 behind us, the revised estimate for that period is only 17 percent. And every estimate of the bill suggests it increased deficits.

Despite the bill’s failures, congressional Republicans’ top priority for 2025 is to extend it, including for the highest-income households. In fact, recent reporting suggests they want to expand further on the Trump corporate rate cut. And last week, they even applauded the idea of entirely replacing the progressive income tax with regressive tariffs. While nearly impossible to achieve, anything approximating this policy would amount to a massive shift of the tax burden from the top of the distribution to the bottom and the middle, and it would likely require a tariff rate so high as to induce a substantial increase in prices and interest rates.

Extending the Trump tax cuts and related provisions would cost nearly $5 trillion over the decade, and Congressional Republicans have not said how they would pay for it. In addition to regressive tariffs, they have proposed draconian cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act; major cuts to non-defense discretionary funding that would take that share of the Budget to about half of its historic average as a share of the economy; reversing this Administration’s investments in combatting climate change and building a durable clean energy industry here at home; or simply adding the cost to the national debt, as they did in 2017, with low- and middle-income households likely bearing the cost in the future through higher inflation and interest rates or deep programmatic cuts.

President Biden’s Plan Will Build a Tax System that Promotes Shared Growth and Economic Opportunity

President Biden rejects this regressive, anti-growth, and fiscally irresponsible approach. The question now is what kind of tax system and economy we build in 2025. As my boss, National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, argued in May, our approach will be guided by five key principles.

First, our tax system should be more fair, promoting economic opportunity and work and eliminating preferences for wealth. The President is committed to ensuring that the over 95 percent of American households that earn less than $400,000 do not pay more in taxes.

But we must go beyond correcting the Trump tax cuts’ failures and seize the moment to promote economic opportunity for the middle-class and those in need. For example, President Biden expanded the premium tax credits, which lifted health insurance coverage to record levels across demographic groups. The expansion will lapse without congressional action by fall 2025; making it permanent is at the top of President Biden’s agenda.

The expanded Child Tax Credit cut child poverty nearly in half in 2021, primarily by allowing low-income families to access the full credit. Restoring it would lift those children out of poverty again and cut taxes by an average of $2,600 per year for 39 million families. The Senate should make a down payment on this expansion now by passing the bipartisan tax package that would lift 500,000 children out of poverty.

And, restoring the President’s expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers would cut taxes by an average of $800 per year for 19 million low-paid workers, lifting roughly 6 million workers out of poverty.

In addition to expanding opportunity, we can make our tax code fairer by eliminating preferences for wealth. That begins with allowing the Trump tax cuts above $400,000 to expire and not bringing back deductions or other tax breaks for those households. There is no economic justification for giving millionaires another dollar of tax cuts.

We should go further here, too. Billionaires pay an average federal tax rate of just 8 percent on their true income—a lower rate than many middle-class families—primarily because most of their income comes in the form of returns to capital, which is taxed at a lower rate than wages, if it at all. The current system also allows the wealthy to avoid capital gains taxes entirely on massive amounts of income by holding assets until death. These preferences tilt the tax system in favor of wealth, exacerbating income, wealth, and racial inequality.

The President’s Budget addresses these distortions and promotes greater efficiency and equity by taxing capital gains at ordinary rates for income above $1 million, applying a minimum tax to the wealthiest Americans’ full economic income, and closing the step-up in basis loophole for the wealthiest households.

Our second principle for 2025 is that we should raise revenue in order to fund critical national priorities and reduce fiscal risks. President Biden supports paying for any tax cut extensions to avoid deepening the fiscal hole created by two decades of tax cuts skewed to the wealthy. But we should set our sights higher and raise sufficient revenue to fund our existing commitments, pay for a much-needed public investment agenda, and improve the long-term fiscal outlook.

President Biden strongly believes we must raise more revenue to meet commitments we’ve made to our seniors. Because of our aging population, federal revenue as a share of the economy needs to increase to protect programs for older Americans, yet two decades of tax cuts have caused it to fall instead.

Raising additional revenue will also ensure we are able to invest in national priorities that will help us achieve shared and durable economic growth—including narrowing racial wealth gaps, reducing poverty, investing in our children and education, establishing a robust care infrastructure, building more affordable housing to lower housing costs, reducing healthcare costs, and more.

Raising revenue is also necessary because past tax cuts have increased risks to our long-term fiscal health, with revenues now running below historic averages even when, like now, the economy is strong and unemployment is low. The additional revenue called for in the President’s Budget—along with a reduction in federal outlays to pharmaceutical companies and other special interests—would stabilize debt and deficits as a share of the economy and maintain the economic burden of debt within historical ranges. Doing so is likely to substantially reduce the long-term risk of a fiscal adjustment that would harm lower- and middle-income Americans.

Third, we should ask more from corporations that are making record profits and paying less as a share of the economy and as a share of total revenue than they have historically. The corporate share of revenue has fallen from around 30 percent in the 1950s to well under 10 percent today. American corporate tax receipts are around 1.6 percent of GDP, just half of the OECD average of 3.3 percent. Yet, corporate profits as a share of the economy reached record highs during the pandemic, and have stayed historically elevated as corporations hold onto margins that were forecast to have compressed as the pandemic faded.

The President’s Budget would raise the corporate rate to 28 percent—halfway back to the previous 35 percent rate—in addition to other base-broadening reforms. The lackluster investment response to the Trump tax cuts suggests that bringing corporate taxation more in line with past U.S. and current international practice could raise substantial revenue without hindering economic growth.

Fourth, taxpayers should pay what they owe and play by the same rules. This requires an IRS with the resources needed to identify and address tax evasion—and to provide a smooth tax filing experience.

After a decade of severe underfunding, President Biden’s investment in the IRS has in just a year and a half allowed the IRS to provide exemplary customer service, successfully pilot the Direct File tool that will be a permanent offering, collect over $500 million in unpaid taxes from delinquent millionaires, and launch new initiatives aimed at high-end non-compliance, like a new effort to audit personal use of corporate jets.

Just this morning, Treasury and the IRS announced new efforts to stop large businesses and the wealthy from engaging in complex and opaque transactions where they shift the basis of an asset between related partnerships in order to unlawfully claim increased tax benefits, like depreciating an asset over and over. These abuses were turbocharged by the Trump tax cuts and can typically require a wealthy taxpayer to pay an accountant millions of dollars. Treasury estimates this initiative alone will save the government at least $50 billion over the next decade.

President Biden’s investment in the IRS will lapse without congressional action, starting with the IRS’s taxpayer service cliff in 2026. Congressional Republicans also continue to target IRS funding for deep cuts, which would increase deficits by billions. The Administration will block those misguided efforts and prioritize extending the IRS investment in 2025.

Finally, our tax system should avoid an international race to the bottom. The Administration negotiated an historic agreement, signed by more than 130 nations, that will level the playing field for American small businesses that can’t afford complex tax minimization strategies. The agreement will also better support American workers by preventing other countries from luring jobs and operations out of the U.S. with rock-bottom tax rates, and by enabling the U.S. to collect more tax revenues from corporations instead of workers.

Many of the world’s largest economies are implementing this transformational agreement. We must join them in 2025 to grow our corporate tax base rather than allow it to erode further.

Conclusion

President Biden’s plan would correct the failures of the Trump tax cuts and fundamentally reorient our tax system—and economy—in order to achieve shared growth and economic opportunity. Next year’s tax debate presents a moment of possibility that we must seize together, bolstered by the economic evidence that we have discussed today—and also by the support of the American people, who overwhelmingly believe our tax system and economy should work better for the middle-class and those most in need.

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Remarks by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan at Summit on Peace in Ukraine Closing Plenary Session | Obbürgen, Switzerland

Sun, 06/16/2024 - 12:44

President Amherd, President Zelenskyy, thank you for hosting this Summit. And more than that, congratulations on a tremendous success in this Summit. You have gathered 100 countries and institutions from all parts of the world, all regions, representing people from everywhere and showing that there is broad and deep support for a just peace. More than that though, what this Summit has done is define what the core character — the core foundation — of what a just peace looks like, and that is the principles of the United Nations Charter, the principles of international law, the notion of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the basic proposition that no nation should be allowed to conquer another nation by force. Period. 

And that has created a platform upon which Ukraine can stand going forward to negotiate from a position of confidence to secure its sovereignty and territorial integrity and to secure the just peace that the people of Ukraine deserve. Even beyond that, the working groups today gave momentum to the practical steps that we all need to take together on food security, nuclear security, and, of course, the return of abducted children and the monstrous act of abducting those children, taking them from their homes and families, must be rectified and those children must be returned. 

What is most interesting in watching these last two days is the split screen of this weekend with what we heard from President Putin as he laid out his vision for peace a couple of days ago, where he said not only does Ukraine have to give up the territory that Russia currently occupies, but Ukraine has to leave additional sovereign Ukrainian territory before Russia will negotiate. And Ukraine must disarm so that it is vulnerable to future Russian aggression down the road. No responsible nation can say that is a reasonable basis for peace. It defies the UN Charter, it defies basic morality, it defies basic common sense.

By contrast, the vision of peace that was put forward here today from so many different countries, rooted in principles that all of us signed up to. Rooted in principles that all of us would like to live in a world that are ruled by those principles because they make us all safe. This is the right vision as we go forward. And so this Summit from our perspective is a critical milestone on a path toward a just peace and the United States of America will proudly walk with Ukraine along that path until Ukraine prevails and peace prevails. 

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Remarks by President Biden and President Obama in a Moderated Conversation with Jimmy Kimmel at a Campaign Reception | Los Angeles, CA

Sat, 06/15/2024 - 21:00

Peacock Theater
Los Angeles, California

7:45 P.M. PDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Hey.  

Q    Wow, what a turnout, you guys.  You have any trouble getting over here traffic-wise?  (Laughter.)  

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Used to be a lot of traffic when I — before I was elected president.  Now I notice there’s — we get on the road, and there’s no traffic.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  It’s amazing.  Funny how it works. 

Q    It’s miraculous. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  (Inaudible) —

Q    It’s miraculous.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — backing up traffic in other lanes.  (Laughter.)

Q    President Biden, is it satisfying to see that video — to see how wrong Orange Julius Caesar was — (laughter) — about your presidency?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, I could have done nothing and done — done better than he was doing.  (Laughter.)

Q    Well, you didn’t do nothing.  You did a lot of things.  (Applause.)  And since we’re here, we might as well go through some of them. 

Here are a few other things you accomplished that Nostra-dumbass wasn’t able to predict.  (Laughter.)  You expanded the Affordable Care Act — (applause); you passed bipartisan gun legislation — (applause);  you capped prescription drug prices and insulin for seniors on Medicare — (applause); —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Hey!

Q    — you decriminalized cannabis — (applause); you helped make an over-the-counter birth control pill accessible — (applause); you orchestrated a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal — (applause); you expanded healthcare benefits for veterans — (applause); you drastically reduced student debt; and you pardoned six turkeys, one of whom we know for sure was framed.  Not bad for Sleepy Joe.  I’ll say that.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Hey!

Q    Not bad at all.  And there are other things, too.  And there have been many.  Which of these accomplishments would you say you’re most proud of?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, you know, when I was the President’s Vice President, we — we talked about how to make the middle class have a shot — a better shot.  My dad used to have an expression.  He’d say, “Joey, a paycheck is about a lot more than the amount of money being paid.  It’s about your dignity.  It’s about respect.” 

And what we’ve done — and we’ve changed the model from trickle-down economics to the middle out and bottom up, because that way everybody gets a shot.  And I think it’s working.  We have the strongest economy in the world today.  That’s not hyperbole.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  That’s true.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  But I think what we’ve tried to do from the beginning — and it’s a followon from when I was vice president — we tried to give ordinary people an even chance, just a chance.  Everybody has a chance.  And that’s what’s happening. 

And guess what?  It’s growing.  The economy is growing.  People are doing better.  We have the highest unemployment — the highest — the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.  We have more people — we’ve had over 50 million people, brand new, hired into the workforce. 

You know, my — my son says, “You ought to have a — you know, we all have various short-term descriptions for your jobs — for your — what — what you accomplished.  And you should say, ‘Joe jobs,’ because it’s about jobs, about giving people a shot.  You give them a shot, they never let you down.”  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  There you go. 

Q    So, President Ob- — President Obama, are there things that President Biden achieved that you wish you had?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Absolutely.  (Laughter.)  I — well, the list that you just put forward, you know, that is the kind of thing that we’ve been fighting for for years.  I mean —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  You started it all.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, the — the way — (applause).  I’ve talked about this before.  I’ve talked about this before.  At its best, the presidency is a relay race.  Right?  You take the baton and you run the race.  And so, we get the Affordable Care Act started.  (Applause.)

But we knew at the time that even though 20 million people were getting health insurance from it who didn’t have it before, there were still some people who were having trouble affording it because we couldn’t fund all the subsidies that a lot of people needed. 

Joe comes in, boosts some of the subsidies.  That means millions more people are able to access healthcare that’s affordable — (applause) — and they can have some security.

On climate change.  We fund clean energy at record levels when we first came into office — Joe and I together.  We move forward, in terms of making sure that fuel efficiency standards on — on cars have changed.  We get the Paris Accords done. 

But that’s not enough to deal with the size and scope of the challenges that we face.  Joe comes in, makes historic investments in clean energy.  (Applause.)

So, the — I take great pride in what the Biden administration has accomplished.  And it’s a reminder that we don’t have to just vote against something in this election.  We have somebody to worry about.  And there’s a whole agenda that we should be concerned about. 

But we can take pride in affirming the extraordinary work that Joe has done.  (Applause.)  And we want to make sure that we build on that and then pass it on to the next president rather than have a president who wants to reverse the progress that has been made. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  We’ve done a lot of things bipartisan, by the way — the whole idea that we couldn’t get anything done.  When I ran the first time, I said I was running for three reasons: to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the middle class, and to bring the country together.

We’ve passed every major piece of legislation we’ve attempted to get done.  It’s all been passed.  (Applause.)  There’s more to do. 

Q    I do want to talk about that because you did — did say that you were fighting to restore the soul of America.  And lately, it seems like we might need an exorcism.  Is that why you visited the Pope?  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Yeah.  (Laughter.)

Look, the — the truth is that the way in which we communicate with people these days, there’s very little — there’s so much opportunity to just lie and come across as if you have a — if you have a source, you alwa- — just one source you go to and — for your news, you can — it’s just easy to convince people that that’s the only truth that’s out there. 

The fact of the matter is we have to make sure that we get the message out.  And that’s what we’re doing.  I just came back from what they call the G7 — all the European countries and Japan — (applause).  And, you know, we’re in a situation where they — I — I promise you, not because of me but because of America, they have enormous faith in America — enormous faith in America.  And — (applause) — no, I really mean it. 

We have to keep in mind: There’s not a damn thing we can’t do when we set our mind to do it and do it together.  Not a single solitary thing.  (Applause.)

Q    Is this country suffering from what they call “Trump amnesia”?  I mean, why do so many Americans seem to remember the Trump administration the same way we do a colonoscopy?  Like, we know what happened (inaudible).  (Laughter.) 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  All they got to do is remember what it was like.  You know, what he did with — remember the pandemic?  He said, “Don’t — don’t worry, just inject a little bleach in your body.”  (Laughter.)

Q    That worked for me, by the way.  I do want to —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well —

Q    What’s fair is fair.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  By the way, it worked for him.  It colored his hair.  (Laughter.)

Look, all kidding aside.  And on a very serious note, the fact is that, you know, we had well over a million people die — die.  For every person who died, there are — all the data shows there eight people who are left behind — eight people of consequence — that profound negative impact on the economy, a profound negative impact on the attitudes in America.  And we’re just getting out of it. 

And one of the things we did was — I’m very proud — we brought an end to the pandemic.  We’re continuing to move in healthcare.  (Applause.)  We have more people, I’m sure now, than any time in American history in healthcare — more time than any time.  (Applause.)

So, there’s — there’s just an awful lot we’ve done.  And for — for example, I get criticized for debt forgiveness for 400 — you know, for 45 million people.  (Applause.) 

Well, guess what?  These are people who’ve continued to work for their country.  They’ve — they’re social workers, police officers, all those folks who worked 10 years.  And when the Supreme Court said, “No, you can’t forgive the debt,” then I went back and looked at what existed that didn’t — wasn’t being used.  And it said if you’re engaged in 10 years of paying your debt back and you, in fact, are doing social — socially positive things — and they define those — from police officers to schoolteachers, you can have your debt forgiven after 10 years.  (Applause.)

Well, guess what?  That didn’t cost the economy.  It grew the economy.  It grows the economy.  (Applause.)  They decided to be able to put their lives back together again. 

There’s just so much — so many possibilities we have.  And — and the next four — anyway.  (Inaudible.)

Q    I think all you have to really remember about the Trump years is that we ran out of toilet paper.  (Laughter.)  Like, he promised to make America great again.  And the next thing you know, we are wiping ourselves with envelopes.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, I tell you what —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Is that how you handled it, Jimmy?  I — (laughter).

Q    It was rough.  Manilla, too.  It was a — it was a tough time.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, look, I’ve never — we — we’ve never seen administration — look, he’s the only president other than Herbert Hoover who lost more jobs than he started off with when he became president. 

He has — he has increased the national debt by a trillion dollars.  He provided a $2 trillion tax cut for the super wealthy, which has done nothing but increase the debt and it — very little impact on ordinary people and their ability to, you know, fun- — function and — and grow. 

They’re — I don’t — I didn’t see anything he’s done that hasn’t been centered — centered on what is good, from his perspective, for him. 

And — but, look, we got a lot of work to do it.  And a lot that —

Q    What do you say to — and there are many people in this situation — a lifelong Republican who doesn’t want to vote for Donald Trump but cannot imagine voting for a Democrat?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, look, I think part of what has happened over the last several years is we’ve normalized behavior that used to be disqualifying.  Right?  (Applause.) 

We had the spectacle of the nominee of one of the two major parties sitting in court and being convicted by a jury of his peers on 34 counts.  (Applause.)  You have — his foundation is not allowed to operate because it was engaging in monkey business and not actually philanthropic work. 

You have his organization being prosecuted for not paying taxes.  Set aside all the other stuff he says —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  He paid none. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  And what I would say and what I do say to a bunch of good people out there who are conservatively dispo- — predisposed, who may not agree with everything that Joe or I or other Democrats stand for is that there was a time when we had certain core values that we agreed with — (applause) — that we believed in basic honesty.  We believed in paying your taxes.  We believed in making sure that we didn’t make fun of POWs, that we did not try to politicize our military, that we respected the ballot. 

And, you know, I — I do think that when we’re talking to people who may not agree with every aspect of the Democratic agenda — and, by the way, what did Will Rogers say about Democrats: We’re not a member of an organized political party.  We’re Democrats.  (Laughter.)

We have a lot of differences in our own party.  And that’s healthy.  (Applause.)  But there are certain standards and values as Americans that we should all abide by.  Joe Biden has stood for those values and continues to and the other guy doesn’t.  (Applause.)  And that in and of itself is something that we can’t ignore or pretend is a difference that doesn’t exist. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Jimmy, look, remember, when I got elected, they said we wouldn’t get anything major passed.  We passed a bill relating to the environment that provided for $368 billion with — we got bipartisan support to get it done.  (Applause.)

We found ourselves in a position where veterans were not getting rewarded for what they — the pain they undertook.  The — and so, we able to pass the — the PACT Act — (applause) — and put a million veterans that exposed — when we fought like hell to get coverage for Agent Orange and — and all the — the thing my son died from from being exposed to a burn pit for a year in Iraq.  Well, guess what?  We got it passed.  We got support from the Republicans. 

And guess what?  Everybod- — a million veterans now and their families are being taken care of.  We only have one sacred obligation to them.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well — and — and, Joe, you also – for those Republicans who are trying to figure out what to do in this next election and are concerned, for example, about challenges at the border and immigration, it turns out that there was a bipartisan solution to help create a more orderly border and a more lawful system of immigration that the nominee of the other party decided to tank because he wanted it as an issue in this next election rather than to actually solve a problem. 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Boo —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  And that — that kind of gamesmanship- — no, don’t boo.  Vote.  (Applause.)

The — but — but that’s a good example of the kind of work that the Biden administration has been willing to engage in, which is to work with those who are willing to work on behalf of improving the quality of life for the American people.  And that’s what you should expect from your president.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  For 30 years, I fought — and as did Barack when he was a senator — to take on Big Pharma.  They were significantly overcharging people for risk- — for prescript- — for prescription drugs.

I can take you on Air Force One — you have a prescription — I can fly to any major capital in the world and get you that prescription for 40 to 60 percent less than you pay here. 

And so, what we did — we finally beat them.  We finally got to the point where, for example, those of you who know someone who has diabetes and needs — and need the insulin, it used to cost an average 400 bucks a month.  It now costs $35 a month.  (Applause.)

But the point is — and guess what?  It’s alre- — it’s already passed the law.  They tried to repeal it again.  But it’s already passed.  Another provision that is beginning next calendar year: No senior will be in a position where they have — no matter how many prescription bills they have, they’ll never have to pay more than $2,000 a year because — (applause) — prescription drugs now for cancer cost $10-, $12,000. 

The point being that there’s so much progress we’ve made and he wants to get rid of it all.  He just doesn’t seem to care about what happens to ordinary people. 

Q    I would love to go on that trip with you on Air Force One where we fly around the world.  (Laughter.) 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I — I was worried that Jimmy was going to take — try and take you up —

Q    Yeah, we’ll just go —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  — on that offer.  But —

Q    We buy prescription drugs in different countries.  I’m in — (laughter) — I mean, if that’s a real thing. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, by the way, it’s — I know — I know it sound — it sounds funny, but it’s true.  (Laughter.)  It’s literally true. 

Q    Great. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Literally true.  (Laughter.)  So, jump on board, man.  (Laughter.)  I just —

Q    It could be a great travel show —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I — I —

Q    — for us.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I just flew through nine time zones to get here.  (Laughter.)

Q    I do want to talk about the Affordable Care Act and what an incredible achievement and how grateful so many people are — (applause) — myself included. 

You know, our son had an open-heart surgery — three of them.  And these lifetime caps that these insur- — and these preexisting conditions that these insurance companies put on people who buy insurance from them are something that I feel like almost 100 percent of Americans agree are crazy. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I think they do. 

Q    I think they do, too.  And I think when they — when they see it in practice, when they — when it’s their neighbor or their child or someone who is close to them or someone they work with, then it becomes real to them. 

And yet, you hear every Republican believes — at least states publicly that they want to do away with this Affordable Care Act that you, President Obama, started and that you, President Biden, expanded. 

Why do they want to get rid of such a popular program?  Wouldn’t it be, in a way, just hurt- — wouldn’t they be hurting themselves politically if they did?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, I don’t — I don’t know if they figured that out.  But it would be hurting the nation significantly. 

And look, there are millions of people who have a preexisting condition who would not be able to get any coverage were it not for the fact this guy started it with the Affordable Care Act.  (Applause.)

And I was able — and I was able to expand it to — and save another 8,000 buck — 800 bucks a year for them. 

But here’s the deal.  The fact is that these guys don’t seem to care.  They somehow — and, by the way, it’s not — it’s saving the country money.  It’s not wasting money.  All the cost — it would — if — this — if it — what — what’s — it’s about, I guess, 40 million people would be affected. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Millions of people would be affected.  And the reason that the Republicans say they’re opposed to it is because we did it — (laughter) — which, you know, is —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, by the way —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  — seems to be sort of a pattern.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — it’s because it has your name on it.  It had your name on it.  That’s what it is.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  You know, which I never minded, I have to say.  (Laughter.)  I was like, “I am happy to call it Obamacare.  Please do.”  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  It is because of you. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  You know, I — I didn’t really understand how that was an insult.  (Laughter.)  But — but listen, there’s a reason why they didn’t actually get rid of it. 

Q    What?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Because they don’t have anything to replace it with, and they know they don’t.  (Applause.)

But this is the kind of phony performative politics that has become the currency these days.  And you, Jimmy, like so many families all across the country, understand that, at some point, politics is not just a performance.  It’s not just who wins, who gets the spoils.  At its best, politics, at some point, is how we come together to actually solve problems.  And these are personal problems. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Exactly. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  They — the — this is a child being able to grow up.  This is somebody not losing their house when they get sick.  (Applause.)  There — there are moments where we say: All right, we go through an election.  Somebody wins, somebody loses — although that, too, apparently, is being challenged.  (Laughter.)  And then we get to the business of actually trying to get something done for the people who sent us there.

That’s what Joe Biden has consistently done.  (Applause.)  He goes about his business to try to deliver for the people who put him into office and gave him this extraordinary privilege, which is why, now that we’re at the next election, we’ve got to make sure that everybody out there is working just as hard to sustain the progress that’s already been made.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Can I say one more thing? 

In the second term — when I originally dealt with taking on Big Pharma, I cut the price, for instance, for example, for everybody.  Republicans gathered the votes to knock out — they couldn’t stop me from getting it for el- — for the elderly, but they knocked out everybody else. 

Barack, I’m coming back.  Next four years, I’m going to — it’s going to be available to everybody. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Absolutely.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Everybody.  (Applause.)

Q    After Billy had his open-heart surgery, President Biden, you were very nice to send a letter — a card and a little stuffed Commander dog to Billy, which he loves very much, and he thinks is very special.  Unfortunately, little stu- — little Commander bit Billy’s toe off — (laughter) — and —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I’m sorry about that.

Q    — now he needs more healthcare —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  (Inaudible.)

Q    — which thanks to President Obama —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Fortunately, he’s covered.

Q    — he is covered for.  (Laughter.) So, thank you and oops, I guess, is what I’m trying to say. 

So, it’s been almost two years since the largely Trump-appointed justices in the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.  And —

AUDIENCE:  Boo —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Don’t hiss.  Vote.

Q    They’re not booing.  They’re saying “Roe.”  (Laughter.) 

These threats to abortion rights, to women’s rights, to — even to birth control and IVF are not in our liberal imaginations anymore.  They’re very real.  And these decisions — these very personal, intimate decisions are now being made by nine unelected judges, one of whom flies his flag upside down.  The other one — one of the others drives around in a $267,000 gift on vacations. 

And I think we are all wondering: What can we do about this?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Elect me again.  (Applause.)  And I’ll tell you why.  No, I’m not just saying — the next president is likely to have two new Supreme Court nominees.  Two more.  Two more.  He’s already appointed two that are — have been very negative in terms of the rights of individuals.

The idea that, if he’s reelected, he’s going to appoint two more flying flags upside down is really — I’m — I really mean it.  There’s —

Q    Could this be — could this be the scariest part of all of it?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, I think it is one of the scariest parts of it. 

Look, the Supreme Court has never been as out of kilter as it is today.  I mean never.  I taught constitutional law for nine years.  This guy knows more about it than most. 

Look, the fact of the matter is that this has never been a court that’s been this far out of step.  Taking — and not — and, by the way, when we said after the — after the — the decision that overruled Roe v. Wade, the Dobbs decision, you had Clarence Thomas talking about the fact that there are going to be other things we should reconsider, including in — in vitro fertilization, including contraception, including all these things. 

And they’re — they’re going — they’re —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — and they’re going — and, by the way —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Including — sa-

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — by the way —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Including same-sex marriage.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — gay rights.

But, by the way, not on my watch.  (Applause.)  Not on my watch. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  There you go.

But, Jimmy, I want to — I want to just emphasize this point.  At the end of the day, the power of the Supreme Court is determined by appointments.  It is determined by elections.  And so, you know, what we’re seeing now is a byproduct of, in 2016, there were a whole bunch of folks who, for whatever reason, sat out.  They said, “Well, we’re not enthusiastic enough.  We’re not feeling inspired enough.  Why bother?”

And hopefully, we have learned our lesson because these elections matter in very concrete ways.  (Applause.)  And we’re now seeing how much it matters when it comes to the Supreme Court. 

Q    There are so many crazy things.  Why do you think — why does it seem like so many people are embracing conspiracy theories over facts?  Like, 20 years ago, if you said JFK was coming back from the dead to reclaim the White House, they’d lock you in an asylum.  Now you get a podcast network out of it.  (Laughter.)  Why is this happening?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Well, look, they are no editors anymore.  One of the things — I’m not blaming the press.  The press is being victimized as well. 

You have a circumstance where — think about it.  Where do you get — you have a significantly fewer number of people reading the mainstream press.  Most people get their news from some site on the Internet.  So much of it on the Internet is absolutely a flat-out lie.  And it’s hard for people to get what the facts are.  It’s hard for people to di- — discern. 

There’s nobody — and — and there’s no editors at all saying, “You can’t say that.  That’s not true.”  There used to be a lot more of that that existed.  So, it’s just much easier to just flat-out lie, number one. 

Number two, there was a recent study done by a- — about or by New York Times about their polling data.  It shows that — as I remember — this is in the last couple of days — that the significant number of people who — the people who voted the last two times who vote on regular basis, we’re winning by somewhere between 10 and 14 points.  For those people who haven’t voted, when you cou- — and they have voted at all, they — it comes be- — it gets down to a couple-point lead. 

The point is that it matters — it — it’s hard to poll anymore as well.  You know, you have to make — I don’t know what it is — 36 — there’s 40 calls to get one person to respond.  No- — hardly anybody has hardlines anymore.  It’s all on cell phones. 

So, it’s get — it — it’s —

Q    You’re blaming caller ID for this?  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  No, I’m — what — what I’m blaming is the failure of us to be able to organize in a way that allows us to get a clear picture of what people are thinking.  And that’s understandable. 

But here’s the bottom line.  For me, there’s one reason to be President of the United States: to do what I believe.  My father used to say, “You have to be a man of conviction and do what you say.”  And so, I’m going to say — I’ve laid out exactly what I’ll do.  (Applause.)  If the people like it, that’s fine.  If they don’t, fine.  But I know what I think I have to get done.  (Applause.)

Q    It’s — and that — you know what?  That is, I think, especially a great message with Father’s Day tomorrow.  My father is here, and the only thing he ever really told me, from an advice standpoint is: When in doubt, order a hamburger.  (Laughter.) 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  That’s pretty good advice, though.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  My father would say three or four things.  My dad was a — was a really good man.  He was — he never got to go to college.  He got accepted to college during the war.  He never got to go, but he was a very well-read guy. 

And my dad used to say — there were four things he would repeat all the time.  First one was, “You got to be man of your word.  Without your word, you’re not a man.”  And — and talking to me or my — (applause).  No, I — no, I — I mean it.

The second was that — and I think I told you this, Barack — that when I was — he — he would show up — when he was alive, show up at the campaign things I was doing.  And I was up for a reelection effort in the late ‘90s for the Senate.  And he showed up, and I looked out at this little pond we build a house on, and I said, “I really wish my deceased wife could have seen it because she loved the water.” 

And so, he left and came back and he had a — he had a cartoon.  He went up to a strip shopping center for — a Hallmark card place.  And he came back with a — a cartoon of Hägar the Horrible.  And there was two — there were two frames, and it was framed.  There were two — two picture frames.  One, Hägar’s Viking ship was struck by lightning.  He’s looking up at God and saying, “Why me?”  And the next frame, a voice from Heaven comes back, “Why not?”

My father would say, “What makes you special to think it’s not going to happen to you?  Just get up.  Just get up.  Get up.” 

And the third thing he’d always say was — (applause) — “A job is about lot more than a paycheck.  It’s about your dignity.  It’s about respect.  It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, ‘Honey, it’s going to be okay’ and mean it.  Give people a chance.  Just a chance.  That’s all they’re looking for.”  (Applause.)

Q    Your father was some guy.  I just thought of another thing my father used to say: Pull my finger.  (Laughter.)

President Obama, I have a Father’s Day question for you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Yes. 

Q    Who would make a better president: Sasha or Malia?  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  You know what?  That is a question I do not need to answer because Michelle drilled into them so early that you would be crazy to go into politics.  (Laughter.)  It will never happen. 

Q    President Obama, what goes through your mind —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  By the way, before you leave his daughters.

Q    Oh, you want to weigh in on Sasha and Malia?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  No, no.  I — I — I do.  They’re incredible women.  And guess what?  When Barack came to Washington, they went to the same school my granddaughters went to.  I think it’s fair to say their two closest friends are Finnegan Biden and Maisy Biden. 

Matter of fact, my number three granddaughter just got back after spending a month at your place in Hawaii.  They’re each other’s best friends. 

So, I tell you what.  They’re — they are powerful young women.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Fair.  This is true. 

Q    Just up back to the truth and people saying things that just are brazenly false.  President Obama, what goes through your mind —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Yeah.

Q    — when that President Don-ye West says that — (laughter) — he’s done more for Black people than any president since Abraham Lincoln?  Do you agree?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  You know, it — it doesn’t actually go through my mind.  I sort of leave it aside.  Although, one thing he did, for example, for Black people was make them feel even better about the first Black president.  (Applause.)  Because they said —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Hey.  That’s a fact. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  (Inaudible.)

Q    You know, the reason that — listen, we’re here tonight.  We love you both.  And we’re very grateful for everything you’ve done for this country and for all of us.  (Applause.)

But I think the biggest reason we all came here tonight and people paid to see this is because we are scared.  We are fearful.  And, in particular, I mean, like, for me — like what are — you’re both — you’ve both been in the White House for quite some time.  What are some things a president can do to, let’s say, a talk show host who has been making fun of him every single night?  (Laughter.)  Like —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  You ever hear of Delta Force?

Q    Asking for a friend.

(Laughs.)  What’s that?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  You ever heard of Delta Force?

Q    Yeah.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  That’s what we can do for you. 

Q    That’s a real thing and not just a TV show?  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Not just a TV show. 

Q    Oh, yeah.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  The idea that they’re threatening — I mean, the idea that he’s actually threatening retribution.  This is the United States of America.  Did you ever think you’d ever, ever, ever hear anything like this?  Retribution — that’s what he’s going to do.  He’s going to get back at people.  And I — it just — I don’t want to get going. 

Q    Yeah.  (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Look, at the end of the day, for all the flaws, all the ups and downs that we go through in this country and our democracy, the way the system is set up is that if people come together and they express their best values, the better angels of their nature, at the ballot box, then we are going to do just fine.  (Applause.)

If people have the right information — if those who are listening, those who are in the audience are out there talking to their friends and their neighbors and, you know, their Uncle Jimmy, who’s a little crazy.  (Laughter.)  But, you know, he’s come — he’s come over and he starts spouting facts and you respectfully provide the actual truth. 

Q    Why does he have to be Uncle Jimmy?

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I just decided.  (Laughter.) 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  By the way, one of the important —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  It — if young people reengage and — and aren’t cynical about the process but say, “I have agency and I can change how things work to make sure that it’s working for my generation and for future generations” — (applause) — if those things happen, then Joe Biden is going to be reelected President of the United States.  (Applause.)  Kamala Harris will be reelected as Vice President of the United States.  (Applause.)  Jimmy Kimmel will be safe to continue to do his show.  (Applause.) 

And — you know, and — and I’ll be able to do what ex-presidents are supposed to do, which is not hang out with Jimmy Kimmel.  (Laughter.) 

So —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  By the way, one thing is —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  — let’s get to work.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — institutions matter.  And this President, what he did on January the 6th, he’s — do you hear what he’s saying now?  He said if he doesn’t win, there’ll be a “bloodbath.”  It’s outrageous what he’s talking about.  Outrageous.  We must make the institutions work.  (Applause.)

Q    It’s like a movie.  It’s — sometimes, it doesn’t even feel real. 

Well, I — we are — unfortunately, we are out of time.  But on behalf of the Presidents, we want to thank you guys for coming.  I know that they say in L.A. — (applause) — we are a bunch of out-of-touch celebrity elitists, but I also know there are teachers and doctors and nurses and hardworking blue-collar people in this room — (applause) — none of whom inherited a real estate empire from their slumlord father.  (Laughter.)

We’ve got our governor, Governor Newsom, here.  Our mayor, Karen Bass, is here.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Hey.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Hey.

Q    All people who are working hard to make this a better place.  And that is what makes me optimistic about the future. 

Thank you for coming.  And we’ll see you in traffic.  Thanks, everybody. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  All right, everybody —

Q    Thank you, Mr. Presidents.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  — let’s get to work!

   8:21 P.M. PDT

###

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Remarks by Vice President Harris at Summit on Peace in Ukraine Opening Plenary

Sat, 06/15/2024 - 12:49

Bürgenstock Resort
Obbürgen, Switzerland

6:06 P.M. CEST

     VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS:  Thank you.  Thank you, President Amherd and President Zelenskyy, for hosting this summit.  It is my honor to be here with all of the leaders today.

I first met President Zelenskyy in February of 2022, just five days before Russia invaded Ukraine, an outrageous attempt to subjugate a free people and an attempt to wipe a sovereign state off the map.

On that same day, I addressed the Munich Security Conference and made clear that the United States of America is a steadfast supporter of the principles that people have a right to choose their own form of government, nations have a right to choose their own alliances, there are inalienable rights governments must protect, the rule of law must be cherished, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states must be respected, and national borders should not be changed by force.

And nearly two and a half years later, I am here to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to these principles and our unwavering commitment to support the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s brutal aggression.

As I discussed with President Zelenskyy earlier today, President Biden and I have made clear over the past three years we are committed to uphold international rules and norms, to defend democratic values and stand up to dictators, and to stand with our allies and partners.

This approach has provided for our security and prosperity for generations, and it continues to do so today.

This approach makes America strong, and it keeps Americans safe.  And this approach bolsters global stability.

Russia’s aggression is not only an attack on the lives and the freedom of the people of Ukraine, it is not only an attack on global food security and energy supplies.  Russia’s aggression is also an attack on international rules and norms and the principles embodied in the U.N. Charter.

Russia is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.  Nevertheless, for nearly two and a half years, it has shamelessly violated the core tenets of that charter.  If the world fails to respond when an aggressor invades its neighbor, other aggressors will undoubtably become emboldened.  It leads to the potential of a war of conquest and chaos, not order and stability, which threatens all nations.

President Joe Biden and I will continue to support Ukraine and continue to impose costs on Russia.

And we will continue to work toward a just and lasting peace, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter and the will of the people of Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy, the United States shares your vision for the end of this war and an end to the suffering of the Ukrainian people.

And let us all then commit to the imperative of returning innocent children kidnapped by Russia — returning them to their homes.

Let us also agree, a practical benefit of the work of this peace summit is to increase global food and energy security.  And let nothing about the end of this war be decided without Ukraine.

By contrast, however, yesterday Putin put forward a proposal.  But we must speak truth: He is not calling for negotiations, he is calling for surrender.

America stands with Ukraine not out of charity but because it is in our strategic interest. 

We stand with delegations from more than 90 nations who also have a strategic interest in a just peace in Ukraine.  Among us, no doubt, exists a diverse range of views on many of the global challenges and opportunities we face.  We don’t always agree. 

However, regarding Putin’s unprovoked, unjustified war against Ukraine, there is unity and solidarity in support of international norms and rules.

For President Joe Biden and me, it is one of our defining missions to uphold the international rules-based order to defend it, strengthen it, and promote it.  And no doubt, it must be a priority for us all.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

                          END                 6:11 P.M. CEST

# # #

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Remarks by Vice President Harris on the Supreme Court Decision on FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine

Thu, 06/13/2024 - 20:35

Vice President’s Ceremonial Office

Eisenhower Executive Office Building

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  So, before we get started, I just want to quickly address the Supreme Court’s ruling today on medication abortion.  This is not a cause for celebration, because the reality is certain things are still not going to change. 

We are looking at the fact that two thirds of women of reproductive age in America live in a state with a Trump abortion ban.  This ruling is not going to change that.  This ruling is not going to change the fact that Trump’s allies have a plan that if all else fails, to eliminate medication abortion through executive action. 

So, we must remain clear-eyed about the threats to reproductive freedom in America, and we must remain vigilant. 

And with that, I welcome all of you.  (Laughter.) 

PARTICIPANT:  Thank you.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And I am happy for us to get started.

END

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Remarks by President Biden and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine in Joint Press Conference | Fasano, Italy

Thu, 06/13/2024 - 18:09

Hotel Masseria San Domenico

Fasano, Italy

8:47 P.M. CEST

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Good evening, everyone.  Last year at the NATO summit in Lithuania, the United States brought together every member of the G7 to sign a Joint Declaration of Support for Ukraine.  Twenty-five additional countries joined us quickly.  Each agreed to forge long-term bilateral commitments to — with Ukraine. 

President Zelenskyy and I have just now signed that agreement between the United States and Ukraine.  Our goal is to strengthen Ukraine’s credible defense and deterrence capabilities for the long term.  A lasting peace for Ukraine must be underwritten by Ukraine’s own ability to defend itself now and to deter future aggression anytime in the — in the future. 

The United States is going to help ensure that Ukraine can do both, not by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine but by providing weapons and ammunition; expanding intelligence-sharing; continuing to train brave Ukrainian troops at bases in Europe and the United States; enhancing interoperability between our militaries in line with NATO standards; investing in Ukraine’s defense industrial base so in time — in time they can supply their own weapons and munitions; working with Ukraine’s partners to build a future force that is strong, sustainable, and resilient; and supporting Ukraine’s economic recovery as well as its energy recovery after Russia has repeatedly targeted Ukraine’s energy grid with massive attacks in a futile attempt to break the will of the Ukrainian people.  All these lines of efforts and others are laid out in this agreement. 

Additionally, the G7 achieved a significant outcome this week on the matter of Russia’s frozen assets in Europe and other places outside of — outside of Russia. 

Back in 2022, two days after Russia’s invasion, members of the G7 and the European Union worked together to freeze $280 billion in Russian Central Bank funds outside of Russia. 

I’m very pleased to share that, this week — this week, the G7 signed a plan to finalize and unlock $50 billion from the proceeds of those frozen assets, to put that money to work for Ukraine.  Another reminder to Putin: We’re not backing down.  In fact, we’re standing together against this illegal aggression. 

The agreement that President Zelenskyy and I just signed also lays out our shared vision for a just peace, a peace rooted in the U.N. Charter and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, a peace with a broad base of support around the world that holds Russia accountable for the damage it has done in this war. 

We will see this vision strongly affirmed at the historic peace conference happening in Switzerland this weekend, where Vice President Harris will represent the United States. 

Finally, this agreement accelerates Ukraine’s integration into the European and Atlantic — trans-Atlantic communities.  It includes major commitments from Ukraine to impact — to — excuse me — to implement democratic, economic, and security reforms in line with the European Union’s accession goals and NATO’s programs of reforms. 

While we take this step, the United States is also intensifying pressure on Russia.  Yesterday, the U.S. Treasury Department made clear any bank anywhere in the world that deals with sanctioned Russian banks, companies, or individuals risks being sanctioned themselves. 

And we announced roughly 300 new sanctions on individuals and companies that are helping Russia’s war effort.  They include key parts of Russia’s financial sector —

(An aircraft is heard.)  I’ll wait until it goes over.

— as well as individual and entities that supply Russia with items critical to its defense production, like microecolo- — like microelectronics, machine tools, and industrial materials. 

We also — we also sanctioned more Russian future energy projects that — Russia’s natural gas and oil projects that are under construction and are not yet fully operating.  Putin is counting on revenues from those projects.  Our sanctions will disrupt those plans. 

Plus, at the G7, we discussed our shared concern about countries like China re- — re- — who are supplying Russia with materials they need for their war machine.  And we agreed to taking collective action to push back against that activity. 

Let me close with this.  We’ve taken three major steps at the G7 that collectively show Putin we cannot — he cannot wait us out, he cannot divide us, and we will be with Ukraine until they prevail in this war. 

First is the bilateral security agreement just signed.  Second, a historic agreement to provide $50 billion in value from Russian sovereign assets to Ukraine.  And third, an agreement to ensure our sanctions efforts disrupt third countries that are supplying Russia’s war efforts.  That will increase pressure on the Russian economy. 

Collectively, this is a powerful set of actions, and it will create a stronger foundation for Ukraine’s success. 

Two and a half years ago, Putin unleashed a brutal war on Ukraine.  And it’s been a horrifying ordeal for the Ukrainian people that are so brave and incredible.  It also been a test t- — for the world: Would we stand with Ukraine?  Would we stand for sovereignty, freedom, and against tyranny? 

The United States, the G7, and countries around the world have consistently answered the question by saying, “Yes, we will.”  And we will say it again.  Yes, again and again and again, we’re going to stand with Ukraine. 

And thank you.  And I now yield to my friend from Ukraine, the President. 

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  Thank you so much, Mr. President Biden, dear President; dear journalists; dear Ukrainians; dear Americans.  And thank you so much.  Thanks, Italy and Giorgia, to — for an invitation.

Dear friends, today is a truly historic day.  And we have signed the strongest agreement between Ukraine and the U.S. since our independence.  And this is an agreement on security and thus on the protection of human life.  This is an agreement on cooperation and thus on how our nations will become stronger.  This is an agreement on steps to guarantee sustainable peace, and, therefore, it benefits everyone in the world because the Russian war against Ukraine is a real, real global threat.

I thank you very much, Mr. President, for your leadership, which is reflected, in particular, in this agreement and in your years of support for Ukraine.  I thank our teams — both teams.  Thanks very much for making sure that the details of the agreement are really good. 

And, of course, I want to thank every — every Ukrainian soldier, all our people, whose courage made this level of alliance between Ukraine and the United States possible.

And I am proud of our people and what Ukraine can do.  And I am very grateful to all Americans, to everyone in America who strengthens American leadership.

So, under the points of the agreement, first, the agreement contains a very detailed, legally binding part, and this means that credibility of American support for our Ukrainian independence.

Secondly, security commitments from the United States are based, among other things, on the sustainability of security and defense support not only for the duration of this war but also — also for the period of peace after the war.  And we will definitely ensure peace.

Third, it clearly states that America supports Ukraine’s efforts to win this war.

Fourth, the agreement has good provisions on weapons for our defense, very specifically on the Patriot systems, very specifically on the supply of fighter squadrons to Ukraine — that’s right, plural “squadrons” — including but not limited to F-16s.  We have worked for a long time for these.

The agreement is also very specific about the supply of the necessary weapons, joint production, and strengthening of the defense industries of our countries through our cooperation.  And this is something that will not only provide security but also new, good jobs for Ukrainians and Americans.

The agreement also outlines what is needed in terms of intelligence information.  The agreement contains key aspects of protecting the lives of our people. 

Fifth, it is very important that the agreement also addresses the issue of Russia’s just responsibility for this war and its attempts to destroy Ukrainians.  America supports both fair compensation for the damage caused by Russian strikes and working out ways to ensure that frozen Russian assets are used to protect and rebuild Ukraine.

The agreement also includes sanctions and export controls that will make Russia feel the pain for what it is doing against the freedom of peoples.

And two more things.  I am grateful that the philosophy of our security agreement is, in fact, the philosophy of the Alliance.  And that is why the issue of NATO is covered through the text of the agreement.  It states that America supports Ukraine’s future — future membership in NATO and recognizes that our security agreement is a bridge to Ukraine’s member- — membership in NATO. 

It is very important for all Ukrainians and for all Europeans to know that there will be no security deficit in Europe, which tempts the aggressor to war and makes the future uncertain. 

Now we are clearly defining everything.  We will cooperate — cooperate for the sake of victory, make peace guarantees effective, and provide the necessary security for our people. 

And thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership in the G7’s decision on $50 billion loan for Ukraine.  It’s a vital step forward in providing sustainable support for Ukraine in winning this war.

Russian immobilized assets should be used for defending lives of Ukrainians from Russian terror and for repaying the damage aggressor caused to Ukraine.  It’s fair and absolutely right.

Mr. President, thank you, your team.  I would also like to thank the United States Congress for their support — both parties, both chambers. 

Thank you.  And thanks to every American heart that does not betray freedom and supports us.

Slava Ukraini.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Now what we’ll do is — we’re each going to take two questions from American reporters and two — a qu- — a question each from two American reporters and a question each from two Ukrainian supporter- — reporters. 

The first — the first person I’m to call on is Colleen Long with the Associated Press.

Q    Thank you.  Thanks, Mr. President. 

About two weeks ago, you changed course to allow Ukraine to fire U.S. weapons into Russia.  Given the reported successes, would you consider further expanding the parameters on U.S. weapons into Russia even despite your concerns about escalation?

And on the news from home.  You’re going through something that so many American families go through — the intersection of addiction and the criminal justice system — but you’re not like most families.  Was your son able to get a fair trial?  Do you believe the Justice Department operated independently of politics?

And for President —

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Let me answer your question —

Q    Okay.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — then you ask his question.  Okay?

Q    Okay.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  With regard to the first question, it is clear that the near abroad, meaning just across the — the line of the — the border with Russia and Ukraine, that it makes a lot of sense for Ukraine to be able to take out or combat what is coming across that border.  In terms of long- — long-range weapons — longer-range weapons into the interior of Russia, we have not changed our position on that sort.

With regard to the question regarding the family, I’m extremely proud of my son Hunter.  He has overcome an addiction.  He is — he’s one of the brightest, most decent men I know.  And I am satisfied that — I’m not going to do anything.  I sa- — I said I’d abide by the jury decision, and I will do that.  And I will not pardon him.

Q    President Zelenskyy, a number of leaders here in Italy, including President Biden, are facing upcoming election challenges.  How will the security agreement signed tonight and the other promises of support continue if they are not in office?  And what’s your contingency plan if they don’t?

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  (As interpreted.)  Thank you for this question (inaudible).  First and foremost, I’d like to thank the people of — of the nations.  First and foremost, to the United States, to the countries in Europe and other — on other continents who have supported us since the very beginning of — of — the beginning of this absolutely unjust war of Russia against the people of Ukraine. 

That — and that is — they — they’ve been killing people that — homes and territory, all that is very important.  It is part of life.  But first and foremost, we are speaking about people and lives of people, you understand.  And this war was unjust since the very beginning, the war of this evil, whose name is Putin — the war against the people of Ukraine.  And he has killed so many people.

To — to say that it is not him, and it — there was a military man who did it — the last one is just an instrument of his.  And he’s playing this instrument. 

And therefore, it is important for us that, since the very beginning, we were supported by people, by nations, because they understood that we share common values.  We simply want to live, and the people understood.  They imagined what will happen if such evil attacks them.  And therefore, we were supported by people.

And I thank President Biden and other leaders who, since the very beginning of the invasion — Putin’s invasion — started to support us.  They — based on their values, they — they were — based on the voice of their people.  And it is impossible without people. 

And I am sure that this nation chooses leaders and presidents.  And it seems to me that no matter whom the nation chooses, first and foremost, it seems to me that everything depends on the unity within this or that state.  And if the people are with us, any leader will be with us in this struggle for freedom.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Do you want to call on a Ukrainian reporter?

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  Yeah, yeah.  Yeah.  With pleasure.  Thank you so much. 

(As interpreted.)  Yes, please Inter.  Irina Ivanova, Inter TV channel.

Q    (Inaudible) both leaders.  So, today, during the G7 meeting, the discussion focused on developing Ukraine’s air defense system based on the most advanced Western complexes and also on enhancing long-range capabilities.  So, my question is: Can you provide any details on the initiative and about the readiness of our allies to take part in it?  Thank you.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I’d be happy to respond to that.  We have acquired commitment from five countries so far for Patriot batteries and other air defense systems as well as we let it be known to those countries that are expecting from us air defense systems in the future that they’re going to have to wait.  Everything we have is going to go to Ukraine until their needs are met.  And then we will make good on the commitments we made to other countries.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  I think President Biden already answered your question.  Really, he knows and all our other partners, they know that urgently we need seven Patriot systems — yes, to save our cities — not all of them; it’s a pity — but urgently seven.  And we discussed the possibility of having five of them, it’s true.  But the partners work on it.

It doesn’t mean that tomorrow we will have these five systems, but we see, in the closest future, good result for Ukraine.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  You’ll have some relatively quickly.

American reporter.  Josh Winegrove [Wingrove], Bloomberg.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  I have a question for Mr. — or President Zelenskyy shortly on the announcements.  But if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you about your discussions on the situation in Gaza here at the summit.  You were asked just a short time ago about it, after the skydiving demonstration.  Can you give us your assessment of Hamas’s response?  And do you believe that they are trying to work towards a deal, or is this response working against a deal?  And what is your message to allies, including those here at the G7, about what more, if anything, the U.S. can do to drive towards a peace agreement?  Thank you.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  I wish you guys would, a little, play by the — by the rules a little bit. 

I’m here to talk about a critical situation in Ukraine.  You’re asking me another subje- — I’ll be happy to answer it in detail later.  But the bottom line is that we’ve made an agreeme- — I’ve laid out an — an approach that has been endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, by the G7, by the Israelis, and the — the biggest hang-up so far is Hamas refusing to sign on even though they have submitted something similar. 

Whether it ha- — now to — comes to fruition remains to be seen.  We’re going to continue to push.  I don’t have a final answer for you.


Q    And to President Biden’s point, a question about today’s discussions. 

President Zelenskyy, the $50 billion today — you’ve had the supplemental, of course, from the U.S. Con- — Congress recently.  Can you give us an assessment of the situation on the battlefield right now?  And what has been given now, how long will this get you in terms of either stopping the Russian advance or making headway on this?  And how long will it last you if, indeed, future leaders or current leaders are unable to reach consensus on further aid packages?

And President Biden, I’d welcome your assessment of the situation currently on the battlefield and what difference the supplemental has made as well, sir. 

Thank you.


PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  (As interpreted.)  Thank you for your question.  Indeed, we were expecting the fundamental package of this support was in the Congress of the United States of America.  And truly, it was a long pause for our warriors, first and foremost, but it is important and we are grateful that, in the very end, we have this supplement, and this will for sure strengthen our warriors. 

Yes, this has given the opportunity to the enemy within this pause to try to occupy Kharkiv, but that attempt was stopped by our warriors.  They were repelled — the enemy was repelled.  And we, despite everything, disrupted all their plans.  And it seems to me that that is the most important thing.

What this supplement that will arrive gives us: It enables us to fully equip the reserves — those guys, those brigades that are ready — so that they provide for the opportunity to rotate our units on the battlefield so that they can have some rest so that the brigades can regenerate so that other brigades enter the battlefield instead of them with equipment.  This is what the supplement gives them. 

So, the raise of morale but also the raise of strength of our brigades.  And it seems to me that this is the most important.

For how long this will be enough — look, we, without package, have been holding the lines for eight months, and the Russians had no successes.  And, therefore, the question on for how long it will be enough — no, I think the question has to be for how long the unity will last — the unity in the United States together with the European leaders, how these or those elections will influence this unity. 

It seems to me that we should look on this exactly this way: to preserve unity, to preserve the integrity of the world — integrity of the democratic world.  Because if Ukraine does not withstand, the democracy of many countries will not be able to withstand — and I’m sure of that.


PRESIDENT BIDEN:  By the way, the idea that we had to wait until we passed the legislation overall, being held up by a small majority of our Republican colleagues, was just terrible.  And there’s a lot more money coming beyond what’s already come in the other tranches that are available now that we passed the legislation.  So, they’ll have what they need and get it there as quickly as we possibly can. 

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  Thank you so much, Mr. President.


(As interpreted.)  Telegraph, please.


Q    Good evening.  My name is Yaroslav Zharyenov of Telegraf UA.   Thank you for this opportunity.  I have a long way from Kyiv and have enough time to prepare such long question.  (Laughter.)

Firstly, to Joe Biden.  Mr. President, additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act that you signed mandated the submission of strategy war — for the — for the war in Ukraine within 45 days after its enactment. 

This deadline passed on June 8th.  And to now, yet, the international community has not seen this strategy.  Has it been developed?  And if the strategy is classified, what step does your administration plan to take to hasten Ukraine victory in the war?

It’s my first question.  The second will be to the President Zelenskyy.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  What was the last part of your question?

Q    Has it been developed, this strategy?  And what steps does your administration plan to take to victory Ukraine in the war?

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  The steps we’re going to take to make sure it has — Ukraine has victory and that Russia does not prevail is continued support — what we just signed.  We signed that and a significant number of nations have signed it. 

We have convinced the G7 — convinced — we’ve got the support of the G7 and, quite frankly, 48 other countries.  We sat with the Prime Minister of — of Japan, South Korea.  We have — 50 nations have signed up, beyond NATO and the G7.

And so, we’re going to stay as long as it takes.

With regard to the plan, that is a — that is a plan in process now.  We’re discussing with our Ukrainian friends exactly what it would be.  We have a lot of movement toward that.  We know the outlines of it.  We have not done the detail of it all.  But we know what Ukraine is capable of doing when given the material to defend themselves, and that’s exactly what they’re doing now.

Q    (As interpreted.)  And my second ques- — second question is to President Zelenskyy.  It will be in Ukrainian.

Recently, you have made a couple of — of sharp statements regarding China, and there are rumors in the press regarding the possible supplies of Russia’s weapons to China.  Apart from that, China is actively promoting its own peace plan among certain countries.  What are the motives of Beijing now?  And would it be possible to change the vision of China regarding our war and which role the U.S. can play in this? 

And the final question.  Is — is China a partner of Russia in these crimes that it commits?

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY.  (Inaudible.)  Too many questions.  Okay.  But, yes, I understood that your trip was long.  (Laughter.)

So, the — so, first of all, I had phone conversation with the leader of China by phone.  He said that he will not sell any weapon to Russia.  (Inaudible.)  We’ll see with you.  We’ll see, but he said to me.  If he is respectable person, he will not, because he gave me the word.

The second.  Our — you know that — you know very good with details how our peace formula — it’s very open for everybody, basing on charter.  Yes, (inaudible) nation.  And — and you know that it — it bases on next principles — territorial integrity, sovereignty, nuclear security, food security. 

If China has alternative view on it, it can prepare alternative peace formula — if we share common views on it, like with — globally, with all the world, I think so.  So, if they share the same way to peace, we will find dialogue.

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  By the way, China is not supplying weapons but the ability to produce those weapons and the technology available to do it.  So, it is, in fact, helping Russia. 

Thank you all so very much.  Appreciate it.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  Thank you so much.

END  9:15 P.M. CEST

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Remarks by President Biden During Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment Event | Savelletri, Italy

Thu, 06/13/2024 - 14:29

Borgo Egnazia
Savelletri, Italy

5:46 P.M. CEST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Hello, everyone. 

You may have heard me say this before, but I think we stand at an inflection point in history that occurs every five or six or seven generations.  And the decisions, I think, we make now are going to determine the course of our future for the next five or six decades. 

And I truly believe the infrastructure we’re building with the investments we’re making through PGI are going to help that set that course on a fundamentally stronger path than otherwise would be the case. 

Just look at the progress we’ve made over the past — over the last year.  The Lobito Corridor in sub-Saharan Africa.  We’ve mobilized $33 billion for clean energy projects, which will bring electricity — clean electricity to 1.5 million families who had no access to it before.  We’ve broken ground on a new data center in Ghana and announced another in Kenya.  We’re laying fiber-optic cables to support secure and affordable and reliable connectivity.  And we’re developing the first railway line to extend from Angola to — to DRC, Zambia to the Indian Ocean.

I think this is a gamechanger.  I really do.  That economy is going to have over two — billions of people very shortly.  And it really is a gamechanger. 

We’re already seeing goods that normally take up to 45 days to transport now taking only 40 — 40 hours.  And think of the transforma- — transformative — how transformative this is for trade, agribusiness, farming, food security as a whole. 

I want to thank the Prime Minister, Meloni, for partnering with us and the EU on this project. 

I also want to thank President Kishida — Prime Minister Kishida, I should say.  I just demoted him.  (Laughter.) 

In April, we both came together with President Marcos to launch the Luzon Economic Corridor in the Philippines.  It’s happening in the Pacific as well.  And already, we’ve mobilized capital for sectors that are critical to our future: clean energy, agriculture, semiconductors, and so much more. 

All told, I’m proud to announce the United States has mobilized more than $60 billion in investments around the world thus far.  That’s double where we were last year. 

Now, we’ve still got a long way to go to close the infrastructure gap that holds too many countries back.  But together, I think we’re showing that democracies can deliver.  This is an important moment to be able to do that. 

And the — and when you’re that — when you focus on people, transparency, and high standards, on quality and sustainability, it doesn’t inhibit investment, it attracts investment. 

I got criticized at home for asking: When the federal government invests in something, does that discourage or encourage the private sector to invest?  Ninety-six percent of the people asked said it encourages investment, not discourages investment.  It attracts investment. 

And people around this table are proving that, I would argue.  That includes Mr. Fink — I ca- — call you Larry; I’m calling you Mr. Fink — but we go back a long way — BlackRock and Mr. Ma- — Mr. Nadella of Microsoft, an outfit that we know well at home.  (Laughs.)

Today, BlackRock and other partners are committing to invest at least $4 billion — $4 billion — toward infrastructure projects that align with our PGI priorities.  And Microsoft — Microsoft recently announced $5 billion investment into digital infrastructure, including $1 billion for a data center in Kenya.  That’s a really big deal. 

This is because the G7 and our partners created opportunities for sound investments in infrastructure. 

And we mobilized our own capital and created efficient ways to de-risk projects so the private sector could get on board more easily.  And you are getting on board, and it’s not just U.S. companies. 

So, let me close with this.  During the G7 summit, we’re addressing a range of issues: clean energy, economic development, global security, food security, orderly migration, digital connectivity.  And infrastructure is central to our progress across all these challenges — every one of them. 

I remember when I introduced the infrastructure bill at home, they said we couldn’t get it done.  It was only a trillion 300 billion dollars, but we got it passed.  And it’s really having an impact on development at home.  But this is bigger than that, in a sense.  It’s — we’re talking about the world. 

So, today, we began PGI’s third year.  And I would strongly hope we can keep up the momentum.  Let’s keep finding opportunities to invest in quality physical, digital, and energy infrastructure.  Let’s keep partnering with each other and the private sector, with the World Bank, with countries around the world to mobilize even more capital. 

To go from billions — we have to get to the trillions that are needed, and that’s what’s going to be needed to close this infrastructure gap.

And at this inflection point, let’s keep forging a better future together, because I’m confident we can do it.  I know I get accused of being overly optimistic, but I am confident this could be a significant, significant breakthrough. 

And I thank you again for your partnership, your leadership. 

And, with that, Giorgia, I turn it back to you.

   5:52 P.M. CEST

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Remarks by Vice President Harris in a Moderated Conversation with Michael Ealy and Bakari Sellers on the Nationwide Economic Opportunity Tour

Wed, 06/12/2024 - 17:26

Johnson C. Smith University
Charlotte, North Carolina

12:52 P.M. EDT

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everyone.

     AUDIENCE:  Good afternoon!

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Indeed.  (Laughs.)  Can we please applaud Desmond as he walks off the stage?  (Applause.)

     I have to say, Desmond, you are just — you are just an absolute model of what this tour is about.  And everything that you said about yourself, your upbringing, but also what you have done in terms of the — the young leaders that are leading in this effort — combining things like technology with longstanding needs of communities — you really are doing an extraordinary job.  Thank you for being such a big part of this.  (Applause.)

     MR. SELLERS:  And thank you.  Please give the Vice President of the United States of America another round of applause.  (Applause.)  We always love having you down South with us.

     And before I begin — I’m from the big city of Denmark, South Carolina, where we have three stoplights and a blinking light — (applause) — and I always tell people my mom and dad say the two most import words in the English language are the words “thank you,” and they’re not nearly said enough.

     And there are two people I have to acknowledge before we begin.  One is one of the greatest mayors in the United States of America, Vi Lyles.  Please give her a round of applause.  (Applause.)

     And the governor of North Carolina — but give a round of applause anyway.  I think he might have slid out.  (Applause.)

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.

     MR. SELLERS:  And so, one of the things that I enjoy about just being in your space, Madam Vice President, is that you’re very intentional and you’re very purposeful.  And you’ve traveled across the country and met voters and met students in particular where they were and meeting people where they are.

     And you’ve — you’ve led the fight for reproductive rights.  You — you’ve challenged and talked about ending gun violence.  And now you’re on this Economic Opportunity Tour.

     I think the first question we have to ask is: Why this tour?  Why now?

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Bakari.  And thank you for your leadership and always using your voice in such a courageous and important way.

     And, Michael, thank you.  He has been on — just on the road with me for different — different events.

     Why this tour.  Well, most importantly, it’s because I feel very strongly that we need to be in the community listening and giving people information about the work that we have done that will help folks.  Because I’m very aware that, you know, we can do all this good stuff in Washington, D.C., but if it doesn’t hit the streets, it doesn’t matter.

     So, I’m on this tour to travel our country and — and describe what we have done with the full intention that the opinion leaders, the civic leaders, the community leaders that are here will help us get the word out so that people can take advantage of what is available to help them and, in particular, on the issue of, for this tour, economic opportunity.

     So, the tour is designed and what I’ve been talking about are two things in particular: the obstacles that exist that get in the way of people achieving their dreams around their economic future — intergenerational wealth, Desmond talked about that — to talk about the obstacles that exist that often are no fault of the individual but that are systemic and that we are working to — bypass. 

     And then, also, to explain to folks the opportunities that are available.  So, today, we’ll talk about obstacles like debt — a big issue that holds people back.  We’re going to talk about the opportunities that are available, such as access to capital, federal government contracts that can infuse communities and entrepreneurs and individuals with the resources that they need and that they rightly earn but don’t have access to otherwise.

     So, that’s the purpose of the tour.  I believe very strongly that the accomplishments of our administration — such as creating 15 million new jobs; creating over 800,000 new manufacturing jobs; the historic low unemployment, particularly for the Black community — are very important — critically important.  (Applause.)  

     And that is not to the exclusion of also understanding we have extraordinary capacity in leaders in the community who have incredible ideas, who are entrepreneurial, who are ambitious, who have aspirations that, yes, are about making sure everyone is employed but also the creation of wealth. 

     To aspire to create wealth is a good thing as far as I’m concerned — (applause) — if that is what one chooses.  I, on the other hand, have chosen to live a life of public service.  (Laughter.)  But I am all for any of you — get yours, if that’s what you want.  Right?  (Laughter.)

     MR. SELLERS:  We trying.  We definitely are.

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And so, that’s what this tour is about.  (Laughs.)

     MR. SELLERS:  You know, Madam Vice President, the greatest accomplishment in my life is getting Ellen Rucker Sellers to say “yes” and “I do” and I —

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And she is here.  (Applause.)  Where is she?  There —

     MR. SELLERS:  She’s also a —

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  You are a saint.  (Laughs.)

     MR. SELLERS:  Oh, now she’s a saint.  Okay. 

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, she’s a saint.  (Laughter.)

     MR. SELLERS:  But she’s also a small-business owner.  And I see what she goes through with Rucker Roots and — and trying to make sure that her business excels.

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.

     MR. SELLERS:  And one of the things that we talk about often is access to capital for entrepreneurship and small businesses.  And that’s something that’s been very important to you and the President of the United States.

     Tell us more about this work.  And why is it so important to be able to get these small businesses their access to capital?

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  So, let’s start with the point that Ellen knows well, which is that not everyone has access to the capital that is necessary to start up a business.  But it is not for lack of a good idea.  It is not for lack of — of an incredible work ethic.  It is not for lack of — of the ambition to actually create something that will not only benefit oneself or their family but also the community at — at large.

     And so, the focus of — of my work since my days in the Senate has been to expand access to capital and, in particular, to do that through community banks because — (applause) — community banks are self-defined.  They are situated in the community.  They are run and — and — by folks who know the community, know the capacity of the community, know the mores of the community, know the needs of the community, and — and are then able to give the kind of assistance that is about loans but also about helping folks with financial literacy, helping folks learn how to — to run a payroll, how to deal with business taxes.

     Because, many of us, we didn’t grow up learning that in our household, and we don’t really teach that in school.  And so — but it’s not for lack of — of anyone’s ability to learn it if there are resources that can teach it.  So, community banks have been my focus.

     When I was in the Senate, we got over $12 billion more into community banks.  And since I’ve been Vice President, we have partnered with the big banks and also technology companies to — as of now, it’s a — I created a thing called the Economic Opportunity Council, partnering with tech companies, foundations, and — and big banks, and now we’re getting over 3 billion more dollars into our community banks to create access to capital.  (Applause.)

     And what that means is that we also, then, working out of these community banks, get the word out on the street.  Bakari, Michael, one of the things that’s really interesting, the numbers I have are that Black entrepreneurs are three times less likely to apply for small-business loans.  And one of the main reasons why is because folks don’t want to be disappointed. 

     We know what that’s like.  It’s — it takes a lot to put yourself out there and to believe that you will be taken seriously and treated fairly.

     And so, that’s another issue that we are addressing with this tour and the work we’re doing through community banks is knowing you are welcome and you have a place where you can go that will treat you fairly and with respect and with the dignity that you so rightly deserve.  (Applause.)

     MR. EALY:  Madam Vice President, it’s an honor to be here with you today.  I think this tour is such a great idea.  And I think just — it’s working, one.  And, two, I think it’s always great for the people to hear directly from you what is happening, what is being done.

     I know an important issue for you is housing.

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

     MR. EALY:  And I know it’s been an important issue for you throughout your career.

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yep.

     MR. EALY:  Being in California the last 20-plus years, I know how much work you’ve done there.  I know it’s at the forefront for you.  It was — it was at the forefront for you there; it’s at the forefront for you now in this administration. 

     The question I have is: It’s a priority, so what is the administration doing to help ease the burden of homeownership right now?

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  So, let’s start, as you know, Michael — and we’ve talked about this before — homeownership is one of the best ways to achieve intergenerational wealth. 

     MR. SELLERS:  Correct.

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Right?  So, and — (applause) — and let’s think about it this way.  When you are able to — to buy a home — obviously, most — for most of us, with a mortgage, but when you are able to have a home that is yours that you own, you accrue capital, right? 

     And that means that when your child says, you know — okay, now everybody just — I think everybody in North Carolina can handle this — when your child says you want to go to Howard University — applause — (laughs).  I couldn’t help myself. 

     MR. SELLERS:  I — we — we know.  (Laughter.)

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  When their child says, “I want to go to a — an HBCU,” such as the one that we are so privileged to be in right now, you can say, “Honey, you don’t have to take out that loan; I’ll take some equity out my — out of the home.  You don’t have to take out a loan; I’ll take some equity out of the house to help you pay that tuition.”  Or if your child says, “I want to start a business,” you can say, “Honey, I can take some equity and — out of the home and help you with some startup capital.”

     Homeownership is one of the best ways that we achieve intergenerational wealth.  We also know that it is one of the — the — one of the many issues where we have seen incredible obstacles for Black families. 

     We don’t even need to go as far back as nobody got the 20 acres and a mule.  Let’s go to the fact that we recently celebrated D-Day.  And we rightly celebrated what we have called the “Greatest Generation.”  Well, there was a public policy, rightly, in our country, that said about that Greatest Generation: You have brought stability to the world; you, as American military members, most of whom were men, you have served your country and the world with such dignity
to such great result, so we want to invest and reward you.

     And the federal policy, then, was to give them loans to help them buy homes.  And, as we know, we had plenty of Black servicemen who served in World War Two but because of discriminatory practices in terms of how those loans were given out —

     MR. SELLERS:  Yep.

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — did not receive the benefit of that boost that occurred in our country to help people achieve wealth.  So, there were preexisting disparities, and then you had this boost.

     You think about it in terms of the history of redlining.

     MR. SELLERS:  Yeah.

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  You think it — about it in the history of what was called a — a whole federal policy around urban renewal, which basically resulted in freeways cutting through Black communities and other communities of color, thereby dividing up communities around what otherwise were thriving commerce communities.

     So, what we have been doing as an administration to deal with this issue is to, one, acknowledge the truth about the disparities — (applause) — and to seek out and i- — and identify the disparities and the built-in systems that still exist that create those obstacles to homeownership. 

     And I’m going to talk about one in particular: racial bias in home appraisals.

     MR. SELLERS:  Yeah.  (Applause.)

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  So, we decided to take that on.  Many of you may know the stories about a Black family that wants to sell their home and then has the appraiser come in, and the house is appraised for what they know is less than its value.
And you probably know the stories about how they’ll then reach out to family, friends who are white and say, “Hey, will y’all come over, bring your family pictures.”  (Laughter.)  “We’re going to take down ours, and you invite the appraiser.”  And the home appraises for higher value.

     So, one of the issues that we are taking on is this issue and are now requiring that appraisers have racial bias training before they are able to do this work.

     We are also — (applause) — we are also giving, for people who are the first generation in their family to — to seek to buy a home, $25,000 grants for start-up capital to actually be able to pay down — (applause) — on homeownership — $25,000 if you are first or you are the generation that is the first in your family to be able to buy a home.

     The other thing we are doing is, for a certain tranche of folks, helping them — first-time homeowners — $400 a month in credits toward paying your mortgage.  (Applause.)

     And these issues are exactly the kind of issues that, when you address them, make a huge difference in terms of who’s able to buy a home.  And — and that matters. 

     And — and, you know, listen, I — this — you probably are sensing from the things that I am describing, we have been taking a critical look at the — those specific pieces of the system that have long gone overlooked, that are — you know, that — the story about the princess and the pea?  That seemingly small thing that makes all the difference?  These specific aspects of the system that have kept people from achieving their dreams.

     Another issue that we have been dealing with is federal contracts.

     So, if you get a federal contract, being very frank, unless you mess it up, it’s yours for life.  But what we know is that, when you’re talking about Black entrepreneurs, Black small-business owners, less likely to have the relationships or know the process for applying for a federal contract.

     When President Biden and I came in, we committed to increase federal contracts to minority-owned businesses by 50 percent, and we’re on track to get that done by the end of 2025.  (Applause.)

     Part of this tour is to create information and available to everyone here to know how you go about applying for federal contracts and which federal contracts are up.  Because remember, we also came in and are finally fixing the infrastructure problem in America.  (Applause.) 

     You know, somebody talked about Infrastructure Week, which never happened.  We actually got it done.  That — think about the number of contracts — federal contracts based on the money we are putting, literally, on the streets of America to upgrade our sidewalks and our bridges and our freeways.

     Do you know that the — 90 percent of construction companies employ 20 or fewer people?  Those are small businesses.

     And then we have all these — all this federal work that is happening around construction work.

     We passed the Inflation Reduction Act.  We’re putting, by my estimate, a trillion dollars on the streets of America in the next 10 years to deal with the extreme climate occurrences, adaptation, resilience, investing in a clean energy economy.  Those are federal contracts.

     So, when we make a commitment to increase by 50 percent federal contracts going to minority-owned businesses, think about what that can mean in terms of a boost to communities around the creation and sustaining of wealth and wealth generat- — generating businesses.  (Applause.)

     MR. EALY:  Wow.

     It’s — it’s amazing to hear it directly from her, isn’t it?  It’s just — it’s just amazing.  (Applause.)

     One of the things you brought up when we first sat down was you talked about how debt is affecting people, whether it be student loans or medical debt.

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.

     MR. EALY:  How do you feel like the administration — what is the administration doing to help kind of address these obstacles?  And, you know, how can we move forward?

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Right.  So, debt is probably one of the biggest issues that holds people back in our country.  And we decided to take it on, because, you know, the — our philosophy is that we want people to just be able to get by but get ahead.  And debt is one of those things that holds people back from getting ahead.

     So, we decided to take on, for example, the issue of student loan debt.  I will say that — here at this incredible HBCU — one of the things we know is that Black students are more likely to be Pell grant recipients and take out student loans and — and endure for years, if not decades, student loan debt and what that does to then hold back their ability to aspire to have a family, buy a home.

     So, we decided to take it on, and not without great opposition from people in — in Washington, D.C.  Let’s be clear about that.  They didn’t want this.  They said, “Well, I got mine.  You should be able to do yours” instead of taking into account, again, what we have already discussed in terms of the — where people start.

     Not everybody starts out on the same base.  Right?  And that’s part of our mentality in thinking about this.

     So, we have now forgiven over $160 billion in student loan debt — (applause) — benefitting about 5 million people.  I have met, just today, people who have had their student loan debt forgiven.

     AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Woo!

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Please testify.  (Laughter and applause.)

     And what it has meant — I’ve — for example, we’ve also doubled the amount of student loan debt that we have forgiven for public servants such as firefighters, nurses, teachers.  God knows we don’t pay them enough as it is.  (Applause.)

     So, this has been a gamechanger for so many — I met — I mean, I’ve met now a number of teachers, for example, who c- — who came up to me with tears about how for decades they’ve been living with tens if not as much as hundreds of thousands of student loan debt, but they love teaching so much that they would not leave the profession, but they would tell me about other teachers who just couldn’t afford with those salaries being so low and that debt to get by.

     So, again, it’s not only about our accomplishments on the issue of the creation of wealth, it — it’s equally important, Bakari and Michael, to understand why.  You got to see people.  And understand that — that people have many facets to their life.  And when people work hard and do good work, the system should reward that.  Right?  (Applause.)
     Medical debt — so, medical debt — medical debt, for the most part, comes about because of a medical emergency for the majority of people.  Which means what?  It wasn’t planned.  Nobody asks to be sick or experience a medical debt.  It’s not something bring about themselves.  And it can result in, again, tens of if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt as a result of that medical emergency.     And forever, until now, that could count against your credit score. 

     Your credit score is supposed to be a measure of: Are you finically responsible?  Why would we say that medical is a measure of whether you’re finically responsible?  That doesn’t make any sense.  And it’s not right.

     So, we have now made it so that medical debt cannot be a part in calculating your credit score.  (Applause.)

     And, you know, now, because there’s so many apps, most people know their credit score like you know how much you weigh.  Right?  (Laughter.)  And you know what that number means in terms of your eligibility for a car loan, home loan, or even just to get an apartment lease.  So, this is going to be a gamechanger for so many people.

     And, again, it’s about — debt is — is not just about a financial number.  It’s about how it weighs on people to keep them back when they’re working hard and want to move forward.  And so, I’m particularly proud of what we’ve done on medical debt.

     I must say, as a point of emphasis — because, again, to the opinion leaders, I need your help — on the student loan debt piece, please remind people to apply for it and not think that, “Oh, if I apply, I’m not going to get it.”  I’ve met a lot of people who have told me that.  “I didn’t apply for it because I didn’t think I’d get — I’d be eligible.”  One.

     Two, please help get the word out: You are entitled to student loan forgiveness even if you did not graduate.  Help us get the word out.  (Applause.)  Because, again, it’s about creating public policies that are just logical. 

So, what’s the logic in that?  Okay, a lot of people drop out because they can’t afford to pay tuition.

MR. SELLERS:  Yeah.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And before they dropped out, they were taking out student loans.

The student loan company ain’t saying, “Well, since you didn’t graduate, you don’t owe us.”  So, people who had to drop out still owe that debt.

So, that’s why we created the policy to be intentional, Bakari — to be intentional.  Even if you didn’t graduate, you’re eligible.

MR. SELLERS:  You know, I’m going to use just a slight bit of personal privilege, because you — you talked about being intentional for this last question.  And I think that the White House and yourself have been very intentional about having Michael and I lead this conversation.  (Applause.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

MR. SELLERS:  And why I say that is because having Black men a part of this conversation is so very important.  (Applause.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.

MR. SELLERS:  And we need — we need the individuals who are under the sound of our voice to go out and be apostles of the good news.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

MR. SELLERS:  And so, when people ask what is the White House doing about Black men, you can say that we had a conversation about economic mobility and — and was very diverse in our thought.

And also, we — I saw some Jack and Jillers earlier today.  I know they’re having their convention this week.  (Applause.)  But this is a room full of — and I hate the word “future leaders.”  I hate that, because they’re really the leaders of right now.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Current leaders, yep.

MR. SELLERS: And you’re — you’re also intentional about doing this at an HBCU.  (Applause.)  And this institution is one of the greatest HBCUs.  Now, Michael — Michael may not know this, but the greatest HBCU is Morehouse College.  But I digress.  (Laughter.)

But what would your advice be —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  You do you, Bakari.  You do you.

MR. SELLERS:  (Laughs.)  Howard is in the top 10-ish.  (Laughter.)

So, what advice would you give this room full of the leaders of right now — not future leaders, but these young people who are the leaders of this moment that we’re in?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  The first piece of advice I have is dream with ambition.  And never apologize for your ambition.  Never for apologize for that.  It is a good thing to have ambition.  (Applause.)

I will also say this: I eat “no” for breakfast.  I don’t hear “no.”  And many times in your life, you’re going to hear “no.”  Someone is going to — maybe even many people will say to you, “Oh, it’s not your time.  Oh, nobody like you has done that before.  Oh, they’re not ready for you.”  And then I love this next one: “Oh, that’s going to be hard work.”  (Laughter.}  Really?

Don’t hear that.  Don’t ever hear that.

And I — oh, I’ve got a whole lot of advice.  The other piece of advice I would offer — (laughter) — see, you just opened that up. 

Many times, you’re going to find you are — whether you are in a board room, a meeting room, in a room where you need to pitch, where you’re going to be the only one that looks like you in that room.  (Applause.)

And what you must remember — and I’d ask you to look around this room right not — what you must remember is you are never in that room alone.  We are all in that room with you, expecting that when you walk in that room, you walk in chin up, shoulders back, understanding the voice and the voices that you carry that are so proud of you being in that room and are applauding your presence in that room.  (Applause.)  That is critically important.  That is critically important. 

You’ve got to be able to see what can be, unburdened by what has been.

And never allow yourself to put any barriers on yourself based on other people’s limited ability to see who can do what.  (Applause.)  That’s their problem, not yours.

MR. SELLERS:  Yes, ma’am.

Before you do the — before you do the rope line, may I ask you for a favor?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

MR. SELLERS:  It’s Michael’s favor.  Can we take a selfie right here?

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Yes, absolutely.  (Applause.)

MR. SELLERS:  All right, thank you.

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Oh, but I do have one more thing.

A week from today is Juneteenth.  (Applause.)  And I would a- — so, we have decided and I have issued a call to action.  It’s a — it’s our newest federal holiday.  I was proud, as — as a member of the United States Senate, to sponsor a piece of legislation to make it a holiday.  And — and a lot of people had been wondering: Of the various ways that traditionally Juneteenth has been celebrated, as now it is a national holiday, how do we do it going forward?

And what I’d ask is everyone to consider: In addition to your normal tradition for Juneteenth, think of it as a day of action to register people to vote — (applause) — please.

Thank you.

END                  1:20 P.M. EDT

###

The post Remarks by Vice President Harris in a Moderated Conversation with Michael Ealy and Bakari Sellers on the Nationwide Economic Opportunity Tour appeared first on The White House.

Remarks by President Biden at Everytown’s Gun Sense University

Tue, 06/11/2024 - 16:00

Washington Hilton Hotel
Washington, D.C.

2:31 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, hello.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, thank you.  

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you.  Please, have a seat.

Julvonnia, I know from experience it takes extraordinary courage for you to stand up here and retell your son’s story — and many of you who have lost someone to gun violence.  It’s been a passion of mine for a long, long time. 

It’s the reason way back, a long time ago, I authored the Violence Against Women Act, which no one thought made any sense at the time.  It had — I had a lot of trouble getting people to think we could make a difference. 

But the fact of the matter is I remember well when you first started it with me — this extraordinary courage.  You know, through your words, you help ensure that your son and all the victims of gun violence are not forgotten.  They didn’t die in vain.  Through your love, you help prevent the next tragedy.  It saves lives. 

And through your actions, you remember us — we’ll never let go of one thing that we must never, never lose.  And I mean this.  I know it’s hard because I’ve gotten those phone calls, too, saying I lost a son, a daughter, a wife.  I know what it’s like.  But guess what?  Never give up on hope — hope, hope, hope.  (Applause.)  

I give you my word.  I know what that feels — that black hole when you receive that phone call that seems like you’re — black hole in your chest — you’re being sucked into it.  Just showing up here and all the work you’ve done takes some courage because it reminds you of the mo- — moment you got that phone call.  It reminds you, no matter how long it goes, until y- — it just — it’s hard.  But you’re so — you’re ma- — you’re making such a difference.  The main reason I’m here is to say — and I mean this from the bottom of my heart —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  You’re complicit in genocide!  Stop sending weapons (inaudible) —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s — that’s all right.  Let —

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.  No —

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, no —

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Folks —

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Folks, it’s okay.  Look —

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  — they care.  Innocent children have been lost.  They make a po- — point.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Come on now.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you for honoring gun violence survivors!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Well — (applause) —

Folks, to Everytown and all the leaders and advocates here today, I want to thank you for the dedication to this vital issue you’ve shown.

And to all the survivors, veterans, families, moms who have turned their pain and your purpose into the loss you det- — and you’re determined to — to not focus on your anger but on what you can do.

Look, folks, you’ve helped power a movement that is turning this cause into reality — especially young people, who demanded our nation do better to protect us all — (applause) — who protested, who organized, who voted, who ran for office, and, yes, who marched for their lives.  (Applause.) 

From my perspective, today is about celebrating you.  You’re the reason I’m so optimistic about the future of our country, and I mean that.

In two weeks, we’ll mark the second anniversary of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.  (Applause.)  It’s the — and it’s the most signifi- — it’s the most significant gun legislation in nearly 30 years, and we passed it be- — only because you gone out and vo- — worked like hell to get it done.  May have the idea, but you got it ma- — you made it happen. 

It was designed to reduce gun violence and save lives.  And I’m so proud of the tremendous progress we’ve made since then. 

You know, the year before I came to the presidency, the murder rate was the highest increase on record.  Last year, we saw the largest decrease of murder in the history of (inaudible).  (Applause.)  And those rates are continuing to fall faster than ever. 

Last year, we also saw one of the lowest rates of all violent crime in nearly 50 years.  Murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery all dropped sharply, along with burglary and property crime.  (Applause.)  Becau- — this matters. 

So much of this progress is because — and I’m not just trying to be solicitous — it’s because of you.  Don’t underestimate what you have done.  It’s amazing what you have done.  You changed people’s minds — your neighbors, your friends, the folks down at the restaurant, the folks at the grocery store.

Through the American Rescue Plan, I was able to invest $15 billion, the largest investment ever to reduce crime.  And we built on that progress, with your help, the Bipa- — (applause) — through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. 

And here’s how.  First, the act is helping reduce community violence and domestic violence.  It invests $250 million in violence intervention programs all across the country.  (Applause.)  People are now — my daughter is a social worker working with violence against women.  Sh- — what people don’t realize is these things matter.  They change — they change attitudes. 

We’ve already funded nearly 80 programs and counting.  We also made gun trafficking and straw purchasing a federal crime for the first time, giving prosecutors the legal tools to charge traffickers and hold them accountable for the more severe penalties that are available.  (Applause.) 

Additionally, the law strengthens background checks for anyone under the age of 21 trying to purchase a firearm.  And it’s about time.  There’s more we have to do there.  It’s a big deal.  (Applause.)  Since the law was passed and implemented, the FBI has stopped more than 700 sales of firearms for individuals under the age of 21. 

And about 20,000 unlicensed firearms dealer are now required to become licensed to run background checks — (applause) — which will keep guns out of dangerous hands. 

Second, the act helps stops mass shootings, provides $750 million to state — to — to states to implement their crisis interventions like red flag laws that temporarily remove firearms from those who are in danger to themselves or others.  (Applause.)  

It also gives $1.3 billion to thousands of schools across the country to build a safer learning environments, including un- — (applause) — updating safety plans, installing security equipment, hiring mental health professionals and school resource officers — (applause) — I’m married to a full-time teacher; I get it — (applause) — as well as viole- — as well as violence intervention teams.

Folks, look, third, the act invests over $1 billion, the largest one-time investment ever in mental heal- — youth mental health in our schools — (applause) — to help them deal with grief and trauma resulting in gun violence.  I’ve attended too many mass shootings — I’ve — have gone to too many schools across America and stood there and looked at the faces of those young children who were — made it and look at all the families that lost somebody.  It’s tragic.  But it needs help.  They need help to get through it.

It includes an additional 14,000 mental profes- — health professionals to be hired and trained in our schools — to work in our schools full time.  That’s 14,000 more.  And — (applause) — and over 170,000 Americans across the country have been trained to identify when someone is having a mental health crisis and connect them to the help they need.  (Applause.) 

By the way, one of the reasons I wrote the latest veterans bill was because more veterans and more active-duty personnel are dying of suicide than any combat zone.  (Applause.)  It matters. 

And, folks, this historic law is already saving lives.  But there is still so much more to do to maximize the benefits of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. 

That’s why, last September, I established the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention.  (Applause.)  And I mean it.  We got first-rate professionals there and overseen by my incredible Vice President — (applause) — who is a pretty fierce prosecutor as well — to drive and coordinate government and nationwide effort to reduce gun violence in America.  That’s why we did it.  And to send a clear — a clear message about how important this issue is to me, to you, and to the entire country.

Folks — (applause) — you’re changing the nation.  You really are.  You’re changing the nation.  It builds upon the dozen of executive actions my administration has taken to reduce gun violence — more than any of my predecessors, and I suspect more than all of them combined — everything from cracking down on ghost guns, gun trafficking, and so much more.  

Folks, we’re not stopping there.  It’s time, once again, to do what I did when I was a senator: ban assault weapons.  (Applause.)  I mean it. 

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years! 

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you. 

Who in God’s name needs a magazine which can hold 200 shells?

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Nobody!

THE PRESIDENT:  Nobody.  That’s right. 

I remember when I was campaigning when I was a senator, going through the — through the wetlands of Delaware to meet all the people who were the most upset with me — the fishermen and the hunters.  And I came across a guy who was fishing, and he said, “You want to take my gun.”  And I looked at him, I said, “I — I don’t want to take your gun.  You’re allowed to have a gun, but I want to take away your ability to use an assault weapon.”  (Applause.)  And it — well, no, no — here — here — this is how the conversation went.

He said, “What do you mean?  I need that done.”  I said, “Guess what?  If you need 12 to 100 bullets in a gun — in a magazine, you’re the lousiest shot I’ve ever heard.”  (Laughter and applause.)  I’m serious.  And to his credit, he looked at me.  He said, “You have a good point.”  (Laughter.)

But think about it.  They’re weapons of war. 

And, by the way, it’s time we establish universal background checks — (applause) — and, by the way — and require the safe storage of firearms.  We should hold — (applause) — we should hold families responsible if they don’t provide those locks on those guns.  We — if, in fact — because three of these major crime scenes I’ve visited were ones where the mother or father left open — left the stuff out on the desk, left it out on a table, and the kid came and used it.

And, by the way, this is the most important: The only industry in America that has immunity are gun dealers.  We got to end it — (applause) — end it now.  No, I mean it.

Imagine — imagine if we gave — if we gave tobacco an exception they could not be prosecuted.  We — what would happen?  We’d still — a thousand more people would be dying of cancer because of smoke inhalation. 

It’s time we increase funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives and other law enforcement agencies as well — (applause) — to solve the crimes faster.  

Look, unfortunately — this is the only partisan thing I’m going to say — the congressional Republicans oppose all of these — every one of these.  Instead of trying to stop our ban on ghost gun kits that contain these — can be — that can — commit crimes, they’re working like hell to — to stop it.  They want to abali- — they want to abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives, which is responsible for fighting gun crimes. 

You can’t be pro law enforcement and say you are pro law enforcement and be pro abolishing the AFT.  (Applause.)  You can’t do it.  It’s outrageous.

I disagree with my — some of my own party and on the other — other side on a lot of things, but at least there’s some — some rational argument they have as part of their argument.

What in God’s name is the rationale for taking away the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms?

After a school shooting in Iowa that killed a student and a teacher, my predecessor was asked about it.  You remember what he said.  He said, “Have to get over it.”  Hell no, we don’t have to get over it.  (Applause.)  We got to stop it.  We got to stop it and stop it now.  (Applause.)

More children are killed in America by guns than cancer and car accidents combined.  (Applause.)  My predecessor told the NRA convention recently he’s proud that, quote, “I did nothing on guns when I was president.”  And by doing nothing, he made the situation considerably worse. 

That’s why Everytown, why this summit, why all of you here today are so damn important.  We need you.  We need you to overcome the unrelenting opposition of the gun lobby, gun manufacturers, and so many politicians when they oppose commonsense gun legislation. 

I used to be a law — when I was no longer the vice president, I became a professor at the University of — of Pennsylvania.  Before that, I taught a constitutional law class, and so I taught the — the Second Amendment. 

There’s never been a time that says you can own anything you want.  Th- — never.  You couldn’t own a cannon during the Civil War.  (Laughter.)  No, I’m seri- — think about it.  How much have you heard this phrase?  “The blood of liberty” — (laughter) — “washed with th-” — give me a break.  (Laughter and applause.)

No, I mean it.  Seriously.

And, by the way, if they want to think they — it’s to take on government if we get out of line, which they’re talking again about — well, guess what?  They need F-15s.  They don’t need a rifle.  (Laughter.)

Folks, look, this is crazy, what we’re talking about.  Because whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, we want all o- — families to be safe.  (Applause.)  We all want to drop them off at a house of worship, a mall, a movie theater, a school without worrying if it’s the last time I’m going to get to see them.  (Applause.)  We all want — we all want our kids to have the freedom to learn how to read and write in schools instead of learning how to duck and cover, for God sake.  (Applause.) 

And above all — above all, we all agree: We are not finished.  (Applause.)  Look, no single — no single action can solve the entirety of the gun violence epidemic.  But together, our efforts, your efforts are saving lives. 

You can help rally a nation with a sense of urgency and seriousness of purpose.  You’re changing the culture.  We — and we’re proving we can do more than just thoughts and prayers — just more than thoughts and prayers.  You’re changing politics.  You’re proving that you’re powerful and you’re relentless, and I mean that.  

Let me close with this.  I know many people here have been impacted by gun violence and are tired and frustrated.  (Applause.)  No — no, I — I know.  I’ve been to too many — I’ve — I’ve literally spoken with well over a thousand families at these events that I’ve attended for mass shootings.  And the look in their eyes — you can almost — you can almost feel that black hole they feel in the center of their chest, like they’re being sucked in, there’s no way out.  And if they have remaining children, you look at the children and they wonder, “Mommy, Daddy, how about me?”

And I know you may wonder: Are we ever going to make full progress that we need to make?  I’m here to tell you we have no choice.  We cannot give up trying for all the l- — lives lost and all those who still there to save.  We’re going to get there. 

I have no illusions about how difficult it may be.  But I also have no illusions about the people in this room.

You’re changing the attitude of the publi- — I really mean it.  I’m going back to why I s- — got here in the first place.  That is to say thank you.

We can come up — I can come up with all these ideas about the laws we can change to make it easier, but you’re changing people’s lives.  You’re convincing your neighbors and people this is necessary.  It’s beginning to move.

Look at what we’ve already done around the community.  Look at the movement you’ve built, the elected officials standing with you.  Look at all the mothers organizations across the country. 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Mr. President, you are making a change too!  I love you so much!  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter and applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  (Inaudible.)  (Applause.)

Look —

When there’s a crisis, half of what people affected by a crisis have to know: Is anybody listening?  Do you hear me?  Do they hear what we’re saying?

Listen to the young people who are speaking out.  That’s the power of the memory of your loved ones.  That’s the power of this movement.  That’s the power of America.

We just have to keep going and keep the faith and remember who we are.  We are the United States of America, and there is nothing beyond our capacity when we act and do it together.  (Applause.)

So, God bless you all.  And may God protect our troops.  (Applause.)

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Keep it up.  (Applause.)

Thank you.

2:50 P.M. EDT

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Press Call by Vice President Harris Announcing New Action on Medical Debt

Tue, 06/11/2024 - 15:52

Via Teleconference

2:02 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you and greetings to everyone.

Thank you for joining us to address an issue that is critical to the financial health and well-being of millions of Americans and that issue being medical debt.

Today, more than 100 million Americans struggle with medical debt.  Usually, medical debt is the result of a medical emergency — an unplanned, unexpected expense often of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

And one of the most significant consequences of carrying medical debt is the harm it does to a person’s credit score.  Medical debt makes it more difficult for millions of Americans to be approved for a car loan, a home loan, or a small-business loan, all of which, in turn, makes it more difficult to just get by, much less get ahead.

And that is simply not fair, especially when we know that people with medical debt are no less likely to repay a loan than those without medical debt.  No one should be denied access to economic opportunity simply because they experienced a medical emergency.

So, today, I am proud to announce we will soon make it so that medical debt can no longer be included in your credit score.  We are making it so that medical debt cannot be used against you when you apply for a car loan, a home loan, or a small-business loan or something of that nature.

As a result of this change, millions of Americans will see an increase in their credit score, on average, of 20 points, which will mean every year an estimated 22,000 more American families will be approved for a mortgage and able to buy a home.

I have spent my entire career fighting to protect consumers and lower medical bills for families.  As Attorney General of California, I stopped the merger of hospitals that would have caused increased costs for patients.  As Attorney General, I sued banks for fraudulent and predatory debt collection practices.  And as a United States senator, I continued my work to protect healthcare for millions of Americans with preexisting conditions by defending the Affordable Care Act.

From the start, our administration — President Biden and I and our administration have focused on relieving the burden of medical debt.  We have forgiven over $650 million so far, and we plan to forgive another $7 billion — with a “B” — for millions of Americans across the nation.

And today, I am then issuing a call to states, cities, hospitals across our nation to join us in forgiving medical debt.  President Biden and I will continue to create a future where every person has the opportunity to build wealth and, in turn, build a stronger economy that benefits us all.

I thank everyone for being on the call.  And now I’m going to turn it over to a leader in our fight to ease the burden of medical debt, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Director Chopra.

Thank you.

END                       2:05 P.M. EDT

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Remarks by Vice President Harris at a Juneteenth Concert

Mon, 06/10/2024 - 23:23

South Lawn

7:46 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good evening, everyone.  Good evening.  (Applause.) 

Please have a seat.  Good evening. 

What a joy it is to be with everyone tonight.  (Applause.)  And, oh, what my eyes behold.

Happy Juneteenth, everybody.  Happy Juneteenth.  (Applause.)

So, we are here to celebrate America’s newest national holiday.  And it is wonderful to be with so many extraordinary leaders, starting with our incredible President, Joe Biden — (applause); the first-ever Second Gentleman of the United States, my husband, Doug Emhoff — (laughs) — (applause); members of the United States Congress and, of course, the leaders and the members of the Congressional Black Caucus — (applause); and everyone else who is here tonight.

So, as a United States Senator, I was proud to co-sponsor a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.  And as Vice President, it was my honor to stand beside our President, Joe Biden, when he signed the legislation that made that dream a reality. 

Next Wednesday, across our nation, Americans will come together with generations of loved ones to celebrate Juneteenth, to celebrate Black excellence and leadership, culture and community, resilience and resistance — (applause) — and to remember our nation’s history in full. 

For more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, as we all know — two years after — hundreds of thousands of Americans in Texas were still enslaved.  Then, Union troops arrived in Galveston, and on June 19th, 1865, the enslaved people of Texas learned they were free.  On that day, they claimed their freedom. 

And today, as we celebrate Juneteenth, together we are reminded of the promise of America: a promise of freedom, liberty, and opportunity not for some but for all. 

In many ways, the story of Juneteenth and of our nation is a story of our ongoing fight to realize that promise, our ongoing fight to build a nation that is more equal, more fair, and more free; a nation where every person has the opportunity not to just get by but get ahead.

Since taking office, with the support of so many of the leaders here today, President Biden and I have continued that fight. 

As Roy said, we forgave student loan debt for nearly 5 million Americans.  (Applause.)  We capped the cost of insulin for our seniors at $35 a month.  And we are now making it so medical debt can no longer be included on your credit score.  (Applause.)

As Roy mentioned, we also passed the first major gun safety law in nearly 30 years.  We appointed the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in our land.  (Applause.)  Her name is Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. 

And all this is to say, with the support of the leaders here and so many, we have made real progress.  And we are clear-eyed, as we move our nation forward, there are those who are trying to take us backward. 

Across our nation, we witness a full-on attack on hard-fought, hard-won freedoms and rights, including the freedom of a woman to make decisions about her own body — (applause); the freedom to be who you are and love who you love openly and with pride — (applause); the freedom from fear of bigotry and hate; the freedom to learn and acknowledge our nation’s true and full history; and the freedom that unlocks all others: the freedom to vote.  (Applause.)

This Juneteenth, we will hold a national day of action on voting.  And I call on all the leaders here to please join us in helping more Americans register to vote.  (Applause.) 

Because while Juneteenth is a day for celebration, it is also a day for dedication; a day to rededicate ourselves to the ongoing and unfinished work of our American experiment; a day to renew our commitment to defend our freedoms, to honor our history, and to continue to fight for the promise of America.

Tonight, then, to inspire us in that work, we are joined by a group of truly incredible artists. 

Through the struggles and successes of our history, Black artists like these have put song to our nation’s fight for freedom.  Through spirituals, blues, and gospel, through jazz, soul, and hip-hop, artists give voice to the joy and hope, ambition and aspiration, courage and conviction of the people of our nation.

And now, to introduce our first performer, I welcome back to the stage my friend Roy Wood, Jr.

Thank you all.      END                     7:52 P.M. EDT

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Remarks by President Biden Hosting a Juneteenth Concert

Mon, 06/10/2024 - 22:00

South Lawn

9:03 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Whoa!  (Applause.)  The White House lawn has never seen — please have a seat if you have one.  (Laughter.)

The White House lawn has never seen anything like this before.  That was outstanding.  (Applause.)

Thanks to all of the performers here tonight and to help us feel the power of Black culture that is American culture.  (Applause.)  What a fitting tribute to Juneteenth. 

You know, I was proud to have made Juneteenth a federal holiday.  And I’m grateful to the members of Congress who are here today who helped make it possible.  I’m not going to start to name them, because I’ll miss somebody.

But it wasn’t just a symbolic gesture.  It was a statement of fact.  It was about a statement of faith.  It was testimony of a testament to the resilience of generations of Black Americans who kept their eyes set on the nation’s North Star.  (Applause.)  That North Star was the idea that we’re all created equal in the image of God and deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives. 

While we’ve never lived up to it, we’ve never fully walked away from it either.  That’s because of you and generations before you who led the march from slavery to freedom toward more than a perfect union. 

But let’s be clear: There are old ghosts in new garments trying to take us back — (applause) — well, there are — taking away your freedoms; making it harder for Black people to vote or have your vote counted; closing doors of opportunity; attacking the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion; if you can believe it, banning books about Black experiences in America; trying to erase and rewrite history. 

Our history is not just about the past, it’s about our present and our future.  It’s whether that future is a future for all of us, not just for some of us. 

Folks, Black history is American history.  (Applause.)  That’s why Kamala and I and our administration will always uplift it and protect it. 

Let me close with this.  I just returned from France, where I visited the beaches of Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, which was the first step in liberating all of Europe amid a changing civilization. 

On that hallowed ground, I spoke about the brave American soldier who fought tyranny for the hope, freedom of democracy.  That includes the “Red Ball Express,” a convoy of mostly Black soldiers who landed in Normandy in wake of the D-Day to rush supplies to the frontiers and the frontlines. 

These Black soldiers were a link in a distinguished line of patriots, enslaved and free, who risked their lives in every war since the founding — since the founding of our ideals that we don’t know fully what American soil is: equality and freedom. 

One of those soldiers of the Red Ball Express who fought — fought for freedom on distant shores was a civil rights lawyer who fought for freedom here at home. 

Sixty-one years ago this week, he was gunned down at home in Mississippi in a poison of white supremacy.  But all these years later, his spirit endures.  You all know his name.  It was Medgar Evers.  (Applause.)

Last month, I awarded Medgar Evers the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor, posthumously — (applause) — because his life reminds us — reminds us of our change we have to keep in redeeming the soul of America. 

Folks, that’s what Juneteenth is all about.  That’s why — this is why I awarded the Medal of Freedom to Ms. Opal Lee as well, the grandmother of Juneteenth.  (Applause.)  She know lo- — she knew so long as our history was de- — denied, our freedom can never be secured. 

Her decades-long march brought her here to the White House when she stood by my side as I signed the Juneteenth federal holiday and handed her the signing pen for helping make Juneteenth possible. 

A day of profound weight and power.  A day to remember the original sin of slavery and the extraordinary capacity to emerge from the most powerful moments and the painful moments with a better vision for ourselves.  A day that reminds us we have a hell of a lot more work to do.

So, let’s keep marching.  Let’s keep the faith.  And let us remember who we are. 

We’re the United States of America — (applause) — and there is nothing — nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together.  (Applause.) 

God bless you all.  And may God protect our troops.  Thank you for tonight.  (Applause.)

   9:08 P.M. EDT

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Remarks by President Biden in Press Gaggle

Sun, 06/09/2024 - 13:17

Aisne-Marne American Cemetery
Belleau, France

4:04 P.M. CEST

THE PRESIDENT:  Every Marine I know knows about the battle in Belleau Woods.  There were over 2,029 — -229 buried here.  And inside that chapel, there’s names of 1,000 missing.  They never recovered the bodies. 

And the idea that we could come to Normandy beach, celebrate and show reverence for those we lost — I’m probably not speaking loudly enough.  I apologize.

The — and not come here — you know, the idea — General — Colonel — excuse me, Captain Williams, when they arrived here, stopped the Germans.  The other team decided they had to retreat.  And his comment was, “Hell no.  We just got here.  We just got here.”  They stopped the Germans.  They stopped the Germans.

And the idea that we were able to avoid being engaged in major battles in Europe is just not realistic.  That’s why it’s so important that we continue to have the alliances we have, continue to be- — beef up those alliances, continue to keep NATO strong, continue to do what we’ve been able to do for the last — since the end of World War Two.

And so, I — I just wanted to — Jill and I wanted to come and pay our respects.  And it — it matters a lot.

Q    How does it feel to be here, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  You know, I don’t want to — I sh- — don’t want to make this personal, but every time I show up at a military site where veterans are buried, it brings back memories of hearing my grandfather and my mother talk about the loss of their son and brother in the Pa- — South Pacific.  And I think about my son Beau after a year in Iraq.

And so, it — you know, I think it — as a measure of a country’s support for democratic values, that they honor those who’ve risked their lives and lost their lives.  And think about it.  You had this — they were on their way to Paris — Germans.  They stopped them here.  They stopped them here, just like the Americans on Normandy — the Normandy beach stopped w- — turned the war around.  And gives you both a sense of pride and, in my case — and my guess is you as well — a sense of reverence for what they did.

And so, any rate.

Q    You talked about —

Q    Why this particular cemetery, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  This is the most — more American — more Marines were lost here than any battle until the middle of World War Two.  The idea that I come to Normandy and not make the short trip here to pay tribute — 

And it’s the same story.  Think about it.  America showed up.  America showed up to stop the Germans.  America showed up to make sure that they did not prevail.  And America shows up when we need it, just like our allies show up for us.

Q    You’ve criticized President Trump for not coming here on his trip.  What message are you hoping to send to voters by being here right now?

THE PRESIDENT:  Any other questions?

Q    Mr. President, what’s been the most memorable part of this trip so far?

THE PRESIDENT:  I think the most memorable part of the trip was Pointe du Hoc.  I think that was the most memorable because I’ve been there several times, and the last time I was here was a long while ago — in Normandy.  And we came in on a landing craft.  We got off a destroyer and got on a landing craft.  And you’re coming in and look at the — the depth of that beach and those cliffs behind it.  You know, these guys just thi- — how many of them drowned just getting off the — off the landing craft because they sank into the water with the heavy packs and got stuck. 

But they kept going.  They did not quit.  There’s no quit in America.  None.  None.  There’s no quit in America.  And that’s what it shows me.

Q    Mr. President, what do you hope Americans take away from you coming on this trip?

THE PRESIDENT:  The knowledge that the best way to avoid these kinds of battles in the future is to stay strong with our allies.  Do not break.  Do not break.

Q    Do you feel that Americans —

Q    Did anything surprise you on this trip, sir?

Q    — are slipping?  Do you think that Americans are not holding that view anymore, that there’s a —

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I don’t.

Q    — slippage?

THE PRESIDENT:  I think the Americans hold the view.  I think there’s a new — a rise in a sense of some within the — in the country wanting to let that slip. 

The idea that we become semi-isolationists now, which some are talking about — I mean, the idea we had to wait all those months just to get the money for Iraq [Ukraine] that we — because we were waiting.  I mean, it just — it just — it’s not who we are.  It’s not who America is.

Q    One — one pol- —

Q    Sir, did anything surprise you on this trip?

Q    One policy question, for you, sir.  D- — I’m sorry.  Go ahead.  Go ahead, Michelle.

Q    Anything surprise you on this trip that you heard?

THE PRESIDENT:  Even though I’ve been here before, it surprised me how much it awakened my sense of why it’s so valuable to have these alliances, why it’s so critical.  That’s the way you stop wars, not start wars.

Q    One policy question.  Did you discuss the Russian asset issue with President Macron yesterday?  And did you come up with an agreement on how to use them?


THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, and yes. 

Thank you.

4:09 P.M. CEST

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Remarks by Vice President Harris at a Political Event

Sat, 06/08/2024 - 22:33

Huntington Place Convention Center

Detroit, Michigan

6:54 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good evening, Michigan!  (Applause.)  Good evening, Michigan Democrats!  Good evening.

Please have a seat.  Please have a seat.

But can we please, please applaud the extraordinary American leader that we have in Senator Debbie Stabenow?  (Applause.)  I could literally spend my entire time allotted for my speech to talk about Debbie Stabenow.  She is — I — I had the great honor of spending a lot of time with her when I was in the United States Senate, and I don’t need to tell Michigan who she is. 

She is a tireless fighter for the people of this state.  She is a tireless fighter for working people in America.  She did leadership work, yeoman’s work, when it relates to everything from workers’ rights to pushing to make sure the affordable healthcare was pushed through the United States Senate, her work on access to clean water, and on and on.

She has been a mentor to so many members of the United States Senate, and she has been an extraordinary friend to me.  And I thank you, Debbie Stabenow, for all that you are.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

I also want to thank the great governor of the state of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer.  (Applause.)  Where is she?  There she is. 

I thank the members of Congress who are here; Mayor Mike Duggan; UAW President Shawn Fain — (applause); Chair Lavora Barnes — (applause).  You are doing your thing.  And to all the leaders here, thank you for the work that you have been doing every day.

So, before I begin, I will say a few words about the war in Gaza, which I know weighs heavily on all of our hearts.  On October 7, Hamas committed a brutal massacre of 1,200 innocent people and abducted 250 hostages.  Thankfully, four of those hostages were reunited with their families tonight.  And we mourn all the innocent lives that have been lost in Gaza, including those tragically killed today. 

For the past eight months —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible) —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — President Biden and I have been working —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  — (inaudible) —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — every day to bring this conflict —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  — (inaudible) —

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  I’m speaking right now.  And I value and respect your voice, but I’m speaking right now.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  We have been working every day to bring this conflict to an end in a way that ensures Israel is secure, brings home all hostages, ends the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people, and ensures that Palestinians can enjoy their right to self-determination, dignity, and freedom.  (Applause.)

Last week, because of the leadership of President Biden working closely with Qatar and Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, Israel offered a proposal for a ceasefire that can bring an end to this conflict.  We have rallied the world to support this deal, which has by now been endorsed by 16 other nations that have citizens held in Gaza and all of the seven G7 countries. 

And I want folks to know what this deal offers.  The first phase of the deal would bring about a full ceasefire, including a withdrawal of the Israeli — (applause) — including a withdrawal of Israeli military from population centers in Gaza.  (Applause.)  In the second phase, the Israeli military would withdraw from Gaza entirely, and it would lead to a permanent end to the hostilities.

The deal — (applause) — the deal is now in the hands of Hamas, and Hamas needs to accept the deal. 

As President Biden said last week, it is time for this war to end — (applause) — and it is time for the day after to begin. 

And with that, I will get to the reason that we are here today.  So, as we all know, everything is at stake in this upcoming election.  Interesting fact: This is the first election in over 100 years where a former president and a current president are running against each other.

Which means, Michigan, by the way, no guesswork is required.  (Laughter and applause.)  You know what you’re getting.  You know what you’re getting.  And you know, then, who you can count on when it counts. 

Let’s look at the facts.  First, on the economy.  When Donald Trump was in office, he bragged that he created, quote, “one manufacturing miracle after another.”  You know that’s how he talks.  (Laughter.)  What actually happened is America lost 170,000 manufacturing jobs, including tens of thousands of auto jobs right here in Michigan. 

We, on the other hand, came in with a commitment — all of us — to act.  We created new jobs: over 15 million new jobs; nearly — (applause) — nearly 800,000 new manufacturing jobs and more than 250,000 new auto jobs.  (Applause.)  We did that together.

On healthcare, Trump tried to end the Affordable Care Act more than 60 times — let’s not forget — to take healthcare from millions of Americans, including those with preexisting conditions.  We defended the Affordable Care Act and made it stronger.  We took on Big Pharma and capped the cost of insulin for our seniors at $35 a month.  (Applause.)  And it is we who finally made it so that medical debt can no longer be counted on your credit score.  (Applause.)

Michigan, it’s just a fact: You know who to count on when it counts, and you know who you can count on to defend our democracy, our liberty, and our freedoms. 

Again, look at the facts.  Donald Trump openly tried to overturn the last election, and now he openly attacks the foundations of our justice system.  Following his conviction in New York last month, Trump has been claiming the whole trial was rigged.  False.  (Laughter and applause.) 

Just look at the facts.  Over the course of six weeks, a jury of 12 Americans reviewed the evidence.  His defense attorney actively participated in selecting that jury, and, actively, his attorney made decisions about which witnesses to call and how to cross-examine those witnesses.  And the jury came back with a unanimous decision: guilty on 34 counts.  (Applause.)  Those are the facts.

But you — you know why he complains?  He complains because the reality is cheaters don’t like getting caught.  (Applause.) 

And since the verdict, he attacks the judge and the witnesses.  He suggests the case could be a, quote, “breaking point” for his supporters, hinting at violence.  He spreads lies that our administration is controlling the case, when everyone knows it was a state prosecution.  And he says that he will use a second term for revenge.

So, what does all of this tell us?  Well, simply put, Donald Trump really thinks he’s above the law.  He really does.  And this should be disqualifying for anyone who wants to be President of the United States.  (Applause.) 

And consider this: Donald Trump openly vowed, if reelected, that he will be a dictator on “day one.”  Well, you know what dictators do?  They take people’s freedoms away — the freedom to vote, the freedom to love who you love openly and with pride, the freedom to live safe from the horror of gun violence and from the fear of bigotry and hate, and the freedom of a woman to make decisions about her own body and not have her government tell her what to do.  (Applause.)

As president, Donald Trump handpicked three members of the United States Supreme Court — the court of Thurgood and RBG — because he intended for them to overturn the protections of Roe v. Wade.  And as he intended, they did.  And now more than 20 states have what I call “Trump abortion bans,” some which make no exception even for rape and incest.

Many of you know I started my career as a prosecutor.  Well, I specialized as a prosecutor in crimes of violence against women and children.  And what you may not know is one of the reasons why. 

When I was in high school, I learned that one of my best friends was being molested by her stepfather.  And I said to her, “You’ve got to come and stay with us.”  I called my mother, and my mother said, “Of course, she does.”  And she did.

So, the idea that someone who survives a crime of violence to their body, a violation of their body would then be told they do not have the authority to make a decision about what happens to their body next, that’s immoral.  That’s immoral.

And a second Trump term — (applause) — a second Trump term would be even worse, because, you see, if Donald Trump gets the chance, be sure he will sign a national abortion ban that would outlaw abortion in every single state, including right here in Michigan.

But we are not going to let that happen.  (Applause.)  We are not going to let that happen. 

And when Congress — when Congress passes a law that restores the protections of Roe, our President, Joe Biden, will sign it into law. (Applause.)

So, Michigan, ultimately, in this election, I believe we each face a question.  The question being: What kind of country do we want to live in?  A country of freedom, compassion, and rule of law or a country of chaos, fear, and hate? 

We each have the power to answer this question with our vote and our voice.

So, today I ask, Michigan Democrats, are you ready to make your voices heard?  (Applause.)

Do we believe in freedom?  (Applause.)

Do we believe in opportunity? (Applause.)

Do we believe in the promise of America?  (Applause.)

And are we ready to fight for it?  (Applause.)

And when we fight, we win. 

God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America. 

Thank you all.  (Applause.) 

END                 7:09 P.M. EDT

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Remarks by Vice President Harris at a Political Event

Sat, 06/08/2024 - 22:00

Private Residence

Ann Arbor, Michigan

4:05 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Good afternoon.  Good afternoon.  (Applause.)  Please have a seat.

Can we please applaud the extraordinary Octavia Spencer?  (Applause.)

You know, I ran into her in L.A. many weeks ago, and — and the first thing she did when she saw me, she came up to me and she said, “How can I help?”  It’s the first thing she said. 

And I — I cannot help but really applaud someone like Ms. Spencer who has an extraordinary talent and gift that we have all witnessed and seen on the big screen.  We have seen and heard how she does the work of expression of the various characters.  Ashley, you were talking about that.

But it takes a lot for someone of that type of celebrity to also put themselves out to weigh in on issues like that.  It ta- — this — like what we are talking about today and what she just talked about — takes a lot of courage, because it’s not without risk. 

And so, I, again, want to applaud you, Octavia, for having the courage to be so committed to our country and for giving us that gift that you have to support this campaign and in this fight for our country.  Again, can we please applaud her?  (Applause.)

I want to thank Ashley and Jon.  So, they came over to our house for dinner recently — actually, last summer, I think it was, when I think about it.  Time has passed so quickly.  And I think one of the things that many of us may know about our hosts: They love our country, and they work so hard. 

We sat at the dining table and talked extensively about what is wrong and what is right.  They talked about how they’re prepared to go wherever to do the work that is about helping folks to organize, giving people the resources they need, reminding people of community and unity. 

And you guys are so selfless and so sincere in the way that you do that work.  And as nice and as just incredible as they are, they are tough.  They are tough.  (Laughter.)  They are not taking “no” for an answer to anything.  They see a path, and they push right through — the success that we’ve seen in Ohio; they have been part of the success here in Michigan.  And they’re committed to doing so much more.  They’re just relentless.

And I just, again, in front of everybody now, want to thank the two of you for all that you do.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Really.  Really.

Because, I mean, folks like our incredible Senator Debbie Stabenow can tell you — (applause) — that the work that can be done in these offices — and I — I’ve served in the United States Senate with Debbie Stabenow, so I’m going to tell you — I think you all know — she is a fighter to her core.  And Debbie knows the kind of work that we get done in places like that can’t be without the support of our host and everyone here.

But, Debbie, in front of everybody, I just want to thank you, because I know this is part of your core base.  And I thank you all for sending her back to Washington, D.C., for the years that you have.  (Applause.)  I’ve been in rooms with her — I’ll — I’ll talk a little about you tonight at the Democratic dinner — Michigan Democratic Party dinner. 

But Debbie is — she is always supporting other people — in particular, women.  And she does it in a way that doesn’t require any acknowledgment.  She does it quietly, often, but in a way that really is very powerful.  And so, I thank you for who you are, Debbie Stabenow.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

Marseille — there you are.  (Laughs.)  Marseille, I — you know, Marseille, talk about a power horse.  I remember the first time I met Marseille, because you never forget the first time you met Marseille.  (Laughter.)  But thank you and Jasmine for — for what you have done to be — where is she? — to be so supportive of this event and of me and the President.  I thank you for that.

And to all the co-hosts, thank you. 

Debbie Dingell is here, I believe.  Where is she?  She — she is — she was here.  (Laughter.)  She met me on the tarmac.  I want to thank her. 

The mayor is here.  I want to thank him.  (Applause.)  Every time I come anywhere near, he is always there to greet me and my husband.  And I thank you, Mayor, for your leadership and also your enthusiasm for what is this fight and what we need to accomplish. 

And Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist is right there — (applause) — with his wife.  I want to thank you both for everything.  So — and to all the co-hosts: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Okay, look.  We’re going to win this election.  (Applause.)  We’re winning.  We are going to win this election. 

And I will tell you, momentum is on our side.  And so, let’s see it — Congressman, thank you for being here as well — let’s see it for what it is.  Okay? 

Think about it.  So, in the midterms, you remember how all the pundits would talk about, “Oh, there’s going to be a red wave; there’s going to be a red wave,” and everyone was supposed to shutter?  And then what do we see?  A red drip.  (Laughter.) 

When you think about the elections that took place in the midterms, the special elections here in Michigan, what you all have done — a trifecta — look at what the people are saying about what they want for their country.  In so-called red and blue states, during the midterms, in any special elections — especially since the Dobbs decision came down — from Kentucky to California, Ohio, Virginia, when freedom — Ashley, you talked about freedom; Octavia talked about freedom — when freedom was on the ballot, the American people voted for freedom. 

And I think what some of these extremists don’t fully understand is that we, as Americans — we really do fundamentally believe in the promise of America.  We haven’t fully achieved it yet.  We’re clear-eyed about that.  But we do believe in the promise of America.  I am empirical evidence of the promise of America.  (Applause.)

And we, then, believe in fighting for that promise.  It’s in our DNA.  It’s who we are.  We know and heard what Coretta Scott King said years ago.  And I’ll paraphrase, as I often do, her words: The fight for civil rights, which is the fight for justice and freedom and equality, must be fought and won with each generation.  We know that. 

We know that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent unless we are vigilant.  We know that, which is why we’re all here on this beautiful afternoon in this beautiful home when we could be doing 5,000 other things, because we’re prepared to fight for the promise of America.  And we know, as she — as she admonished us, we must be vigilant.  We know these are not the time to throw up our hands; this is the time to roll up our sleeves.  That’s where we are. 

And I have to tell you, Joe Biden and I, our administration, supported by all of you, we know and believe in the promise of America, which is why, Octavia, as you mentioned, history will show, even if the punditry doesn’t right now, transformative work that has happened because of what Michigan and all of you did to help us in 2020 and what we’re going to do in 2024. 

Now, I’m not going to go through the list of accomplishments because as my husband, Doug, has said to me recently — he was like, “Honey, here’s the part of the problem.”  (Laughter.)  He said, “Part of the problem is, you see, the list of accomplishments, it’s like a CVS receipt.”  (Laughter and applause.)  “It just keeps going and going and going.”  Right?  (Laughs.)  “You got to narrow that stuff down,” he says.

But the accomplishments are profound, and I’ll speak to just a couple of them.  I’ll be speaking later, again, for — for — I think it’s going to be 1,000 people there tonight, Debbie.  And the accomplishments in terms of — think about it: We have created over 15,000 new jobs in America, over 800,000 new manufacturing jobs; what we are doing to invest, as Michigan has always done, in transformation around transportation; and now what Michigan is on the verge of doing as it relates to a clean energy economy and investment in EV — (applause); what we are doing around batteries. 

Think about our accomplishments.  Think about the fact that we paid attention to issues like everyday pocketbook concerns for folks as it relates, for example, to healthcare and how expensive it is.  We capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month — (applause) — for our seniors.  Black folks are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes; Latinos, 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. 

Think about what we have done on an issue that relates to gun violence.  I talked with a couple of people about that earlier.  You know, I started a college tour last fall because — by the way, I love Gen Z.  (Laughs.)  I love Gen Z.  I know it’s complicated if you have some in your life.  (Laughter.)  But I’m going to tell you, I love Gen Z. 

I mean, think about them.  And here’s the humbling point for many of us: You know how — what year someone was born in if they are 18 today?  2006.  Okay.  So, just deal with that.  (Laughter.)  Just deal with that. 

But here’s the thing: For that generation of leaders, the biggest issues we’re facing right now are lived experiences.  They’ve only known the climate crisis.  In fact, they’ve coined a term — “climate anxiety” — to describe their fear of thinking about potentially buying a home because it could be wiped out by extreme weather, starting a family because what will the future hold.

These young leaders, they witnessed the killing of George Floyd.  They witnessed a pandemic.  We — I just talked with our Yale student, who is studying health, and what it means in terms of thinking about global public health policy and the interconnection and interdependence between nations on so many levels, including health. 

It’s a lived experience.  I would ask them every time I go — over 15,000 students, I met — always packed to overflow rooms.  And I’d say, “Raise your hand if at any point between kindergarten and 12th grade, you had to do — endure an active shooter drill.”  Bone chilling.  Almost every hand went up. 

These are lived experiences for our young leaders.  And then during the height of their reproductive years, the highest court in our land took a constitutional right that had been recognized. 

So, I bring that back to say, listen, when we think about what we are now fighting for and who’s coming up behind and the path we are creating for them and the path they are creating for themselves, we have so many reasons to be optimistic and understand the momentum that we’ve got that’s on our side. 

The transformative accomplishments — I’m going to just talk for a minute about one in particular because I know there are a lot of people here who care about and are fighters for our climate and our environment.  Our administration — you know, and it just — it — it really — it — I’m going to use a word — I’m not going to use the word that I want to use, but it just really makes me upset.  (Laughter.) 

I’ve been doing a little too much of that recently.  (Laughter.)  These words are just kind of coming out sometimes.  I got to watch myself. 

But it does make me upset and concerned that — you know, when people will criticize our administration, and they’ll talk about things in terms of age, without looking at what — what is the age of — of an individual in terms of their ability to be bold and to be innovative and to see what can be, unburdened by what has been.

Take, for example, the accomplishment of our administration on climate.  By my calculation, we are in the midst of dropping about a trillion dollars over the next 10 years on the streets of America in an investment on climate adaptation, resilience, and a clean energy economy.  (Applause.)

What we are doing through the Inflation Reduction Act coupled with the CHIPS and Science Act and a profound investment in research and development and technology to the point that we are a global leader and we have the ability, when I travel around our world, to challenge our allies and adversaries alike, “Look what we’re doing; you step up too on this global issue” — it’s extraordinary. 

And, look, the contrast on every issue that we’ve already discussed is clear in November.  Whereas there are so many issues that confront us domestically and globally that are nuanced and complex, November: binary.  Binary.

On the issue of climate, many of you may have heard or read about how the former President was in a room full of rich folks talking about how he would repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which was the — the vehicle through which we’ve done our climate work.  He would give credits to the Big Oil companies if they gave him a billion dollars. 

That’s but one example of a profound contrast being presented to the voters in 150 days. 

So, I’m going to end with just a couple points.  One is this.  As your Vice President, I have now met with over 150 world leaders — presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings.  Many of them I’ve met with now multiple times to the point we are on a first-name basis. 

The last three international trips I took were, at the end of last year, I was in Dubai presenting America’s perspective at the COP28 conference, the global climate conference; I was in the UK at the — the request of the Prime Minister to present on my theory on behalf of our country on the future of AI and safety; and then, this year, I was in Munich at the Munich Security Conference to present on America’s position in terms of our commitment to our allies, such as Ukraine, and our commitment to international rules and norms, including sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

All that to say this: Just the last three trips I took — and, in fact, next week, I’m going to Switzerland to go to the peace conference hosted by President Zelenskyy to represent our country. 

Those last three trips I took, almost to a one, world leaders who I’ve come to know now came up to me, “Kamala” — we’re on a first-name basis — “Kamala, I hope you guys are going to be okay.”  And understand, they present that purely out of self-interest, because, you see, people around the world are acutely aware of the impact and significance that we have to the rest of the world.  And I say that to emphasize the stakes are so high. 

And we are fighting based on our love of our country and our knowledge of the responsibility we have.  We are fighting, understanding that the nature of democracy is — to some extent, there’s a duality to it.  On the one hand, strength; when intact, oh, how streng- — and how strong it is in terms of how it protects and fights for the individual rights and freedoms and liberty of its people.  Such strength when intact. 

And it’s very fragile.  It’s only as strong as our willingness to fight for it. 

And so, fight we will.  (Applause.)  And when we fight, we win.  There you are. 

Thank you all very much.  Thank you.  Thank you all very much.

END                      4:25 P.M. EDT

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Remarks by President Biden and President Macron of France at State Dinner | Paris, France

Sat, 06/08/2024 - 17:53

Élysée Palace

8:13 P.M. CEST

PRESIDENT MACRON:  (As interpreted.)  Mr. President, dear Joe; Madam First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden.

(In English.)  I want to reassure you, it’s just a toast and not a speech — (laughter) — so I will be very short.

(As interpreted.)  Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, my wife and myself are very honored to be hosting you today here at the Élysée with all of your delegation and all of our guests, because every time there is an occasion to celebrate that brings together Americans and French people, the spirit of 1776 is never far, conjuring what is best in both of our countries.

These warm feelings borne of a long and deep friendship is further enhanced by the joy today of hosting you today for your first official state visit to France with a very pleasant feeling of déjà vu.  Indeed, a year and a half ago, you were hosting me in Washington in December 2022, thus demonstrating through regular visits how close we are in the reciprocal interests of our countries.

And this year, 2024, for all people who are attached to the Franco relation- — Franco-American relationship, there is something special to celebrate because there is a reciprocal sacrifice for our independence, for our freedom.

Indeed, this year, we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the farewell tour of the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution.  I know that he is close to the hearts of all Americans.

We also commemorate the 80th anniversary of the landings in Normandy and in Provence.

We stood side by side then, as we did two days ago in Normandy for the ceremonies on June 6th, to bow our heads in the peaceful cemetery of Colleville to remember their courage on the Omaha Beach — Omaha the bloody — where so many of your countrymen gave their lives for a country they had never been to before.

Never will we forget these heroes who, from Normandy to Berlin, helped to free a continent in our country.  Their sacrifice has cemented our friendship.

Amongst these heroes, there was a young man, Harold Terens.  He was 18 when Pearl Harbor happened.  At the age of 20, he was a radio operator working with your Air Force.  He was at his duty post on D-Day, and then the war led him everywhere in France, in Morocco, and all the way to Ukraine.

Today, Harold has chosen our country to marry Jeanne Swerlin.  They are with us today, and they are just making their marriage vows, so let us congratulate the young newlyweds.  (Applause.)

(Speaks French.)

(As interpreted.)  We’re very pleased to be here for your wedding (inaudible). 

On this foundation, so many relations have developed — from cinema to music, from literature to space, from energy to transport, agriculture and health — so many partnerships that have served to consolidate our bilateral relationship that we have further strengthened recently.

It’s also this relation that make it possible to affirm our values faced with a war of aggression by Russia in Ukraine or today in the Middle East in Gaza, and, once again, thank you for the initiative that you have just taken and that we support to be united in spite of our differences when the main values are at stake.  This is what is our — lie across the Atlantic.

When it comes to defending our values, we stand together, so, of course, there’s something a bit special in our relationship, because you are — you’re American; we are French.  And there’s something of a mutual fascination you find from Tocqueville all the way to Miller or, indeed, in our respective film industries. 

We love the American Dream, and you like the French art de vivre, the French lifestyle.  And we tend to be maybe defending our singularities, but we love each other for what we are.  And this applies to each and every one of us. 

And when I — we see the affection that you have for France, the way in which you have been prepared to attend the Olympic and Paralympic Games, I can see that more than ever you remain your best allies — united we stand, divided we fall.  This is enshrined in the very name of your country.  This should be the philosophy that should inspire us, that inspired the Greatest Generation to which you pay tribute yesterday at Pointe du Hoc.  And, indeed, that is what binds us together today. 

We are allies.  We will remain allies.  And these are the values which 80 years down the road keep us together. 

And this is why, Mr. President, dear Joe, dear Jill, it is such an honor to have you here in France on the occasion of this state visit that is an opportunity to celebrate the untrammeled vitality of our alliance and this very special relationship between our two nations and, indeed, our love for freedom. 

If I may, I would like to propose a toast to the United States of America, to France, and, indeed, to the friendship between the United States and France.

(President Macron offers a toast.) 

(Applause.)

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Mr. President, Brigitte, distinguished guests.

You know, one of the things that’s been a legend in my family is my middle name is Robinette.  And, allegedly, I’ve ne- — I’ve been told by my grandfather that this was established — I have not found it yet; maybe someone could help me — that I’m a son of the American Revolution, because Robinette came over with Lafayette and never went home.  He stayed in the United States. 

So, that makes me a son of the American Revolution.  And — but I haven’t been able to establish that yet.  So, maybe one of your genealogists can figure it out for me.

Look, the — your — France is our first ally.  And that’s not insignificant.  The fact of the matter is you were with us to help us secure our freedom, and we were with you 170 years later — (clears throat) — excuse me — to do the same.  And ever since, we’ve remained united, unyielding, as well as unwavering in our partnership. 

That’s what democracies do.  That has been an extraordinary week here for us, for Jill and me.  It’s just been amazing to be here.  I’ve been here a number of times over the years.  I know I don’t look it, but I’m only 40 years old.  (Laughter.)  But all kidding aside, been here many times, but this has been the most remarkable trip that I’ve ever made.

Together, we celebrated D-Day, the heroes of D-Day, and told the story of the alliance and how, together, we saved Europe.  And the people of France t- — and t- — and you two, personally, honored our veterans with such warmth and dignity. 

On behalf of all the American people, we want to say thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our heart.  I mean it.

When the American troops came to these shores 80 years ago on an audacious mission to save the continent, they each carried a book given to them by the U.S. military.  And the book was called “A Pocket Guide to France.”  Seriously. 

It included helpful hints like this: “No bragging; the French don’t like it.”  (Laughter.)  Not a joke.  “Be generous; it won’t hurt you.”  “Avoid controversial topics, even if you — even if you took French in high school.”  (Laughter.) 

And try to follow at least one — I tried my best to follow at least one of those.  But, you know —

And then it said the French are allies who, quote — to quote, “happen to speak democracy in a different language.  And we democracies aren’t just doing favors; we’re fighting for each other when history goes — when history goes — gets through.  We all are in the same boat,” end of quote.

France and the United States have always been there for one another.  We stand together when the going gets tough, and that’s a fact. 

We stand together to defend the values that lie at the soul — the very soul of both our nations — and I believe that to be the case today — liberty, equality, brotherhood.

Generation after generation, people across both our nations have upheld these ideals because they know, when we stand as one, our countries are stronger and, literally, the world is safer.

Emmanuel, you’ve heard me say it before.  We stand at an inflection point in history.  The decisions we make now will determine the course of our future for decades to come. 

We have a lot of opportunity but a lot of responsibility.  And it gives me hope to know France and the United States stand together now and always — or as the “Pocket Guide to France” given to the invading Americans might say, “We’re rowing in the same boat.”

Ladies and gentlemen, to France, the United States, and to our people, may we continue to seek democracy.  May we — in both our languages.  And may we always stay together. 

It’s been a great honor to be here.  And I want to thank you.  I’m going to raise my glass.

(President Biden offers a toast.)

To France.  (Applause.)

END  8:25 P.M. CEST

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Remarks by Vice President Harris at a Political Event

Sat, 06/08/2024 - 14:41

Private Residence

Ann Arbor, Michigan

4:05 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Good afternoon.  Good afternoon.  (Applause.)  Please have a seat.

Can we please applaud the extraordinary Octavia Spencer?  (Applause.)

You know, I ran into her in L.A. many weeks ago, and — and the first thing she did when she saw me, she came up to me and she said, “How can I help?”  It’s the first thing she said. 

And I — I cannot help but really applaud someone like Ms. Spencer who has an extraordinary talent and gift that we have all witnessed and seen on the big screen.  We have seen and heard how she does the work of expression of the various characters.  Ashley, you were talking about that.

But it takes a lot for someone of that type of celebrity to also put themselves out to weigh in on issues like that.  It ta- — this — like what we are talking about today and what she just talked about — takes a lot of courage, because it’s not without risk. 

And so, I, again, want to applaud you, Octavia, for having the courage to be so committed to our country and for giving us that gift that you have to support this campaign and in this fight for our country.  Again, can we please applaud her?  (Applause.)

I want to thank Ashley and Jon.  So, they came over to our house for dinner recently — actually, last summer, I think it was, when I think about it.  Time has passed so quickly.  And I think one of the things that many of us may know about our hosts: They love our country, and they work so hard. 

We sat at the dining table and talked extensively about what is wrong and what is right.  They talked about how they’re prepared to go wherever to do the work that is about helping folks to organize, giving people the resources they need, reminding people of community and unity. 

And you guys are so selfless and so sincere in the way that you do that work.  And as nice and as just incredible as they are, they are tough.  They are tough.  (Laughter.)  They are not taking “no” for an answer to anything.  They see a path, and they push right through — the success that we’ve seen in Ohio; they have been part of the success here in Michigan.  And they’re committed to doing so much more.  They’re just relentless.

And I just, again, in front of everybody now, want to thank the two of you for all that you do.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Really.  Really.

Because, I mean, folks like our incredible Senator Debbie Stabenow can tell you — (applause) — that the work that can be done in these offices — and I — I’ve served in the United States Senate with Debbie Stabenow, so I’m going to tell you — I think you all know — she is a fighter to her core.  And Debbie knows the kind of work that we get done in places like that can’t be without the support of our host and everyone here.

But, Debbie, in front of everybody, I just want to thank you, because I know this is part of your core base.  And I thank you all for sending her back to Washington, D.C., for the years that you have.  (Applause.)  I’ve been in rooms with her — I’ll — I’ll talk a little about you tonight at the Democratic dinner — Michigan Democratic Party dinner. 

But Debbie is — she is always supporting other people — in particular, women.  And she does it in a way that doesn’t require any acknowledgment.  She does it quietly, often, but in a way that really is very powerful.  And so, I thank you for who you are, Debbie Stabenow.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

Marseille — there you are.  (Laughs.)  Marseille, I — you know, Marseille, talk about a power horse.  I remember the first time I met Marseille, because you never forget the first time you met Marseille.  (Laughter.)  But thank you and Jasmine for — for what you have done to be — where is she? — to be so supportive of this event and of me and the President.  I thank you for that.

And to all the co-hosts, thank you. 

Debbie Dingell is here, I believe.  Where is she?  She — she is — she was here.  (Laughter.)  She met me on the tarmac.  I want to thank her. 

The mayor is here.  I want to thank him.  (Applause.)  Every time I come anywhere near, he is always there to greet me and my husband.  And I thank you, Mayor, for your leadership and also your enthusiasm for what is this fight and what we need to accomplish. 

And Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist is right there — (applause) — with his wife.  I want to thank you both for everything.  So — and to all the co-hosts: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Okay, look.  We’re going to win this election.  (Applause.)  We’re winning.  We are going to win this election. 

And I will tell you, momentum is on our side.  And so, let’s see it — Congressman, thank you for being here as well — let’s see it for what it is.  Okay? 

Think about it.  So, in the midterms, you remember how all the pundits would talk about, “Oh, there’s going to be a red wave; there’s going to be a red wave,” and everyone was supposed to shutter?  And then what do we see?  A red drip.  (Laughter.) 

When you think about the elections that took place in the midterms, the special elections here in Michigan, what you all have done — a trifecta — look at what the people are saying about what they want for their country.  In so-called red and blue states, during the midterms, in any special elections — especially since the Dobbs decision came down — from Kentucky to California, Ohio, Virginia, when freedom — Ashley, you talked about freedom; Octavia talked about freedom — when freedom was on the ballot, the American people voted for freedom. 

And I think what some of these extremists don’t fully understand is that we, as Americans — we really do fundamentally believe in the promise of America.  We haven’t fully achieved it yet.  We’re clear-eyed about that.  But we do believe in the promise of America.  I am empirical evidence of the promise of America.  (Applause.)

And we, then, believe in fighting for that promise.  It’s in our DNA.  It’s who we are.  We know and heard what Coretta Scott King said years ago.  And I’ll paraphrase, as I often do, her words: The fight for civil rights, which is the fight for justice and freedom and equality, must be fought and won with each generation.  We know that. 

We know that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent unless we are vigilant.  We know that, which is why we’re all here on this beautiful afternoon in this beautiful home when we could be doing 5,000 other things, because we’re prepared to fight for the promise of America.  And we know, as she — as she admonished us, we must be vigilant.  We know these are not the time to throw up our hands; this is the time to roll up our sleeves.  That’s where we are. And I have to tell you, Joe Biden and I, our administration, supported by all of you, we know and believe in the promise of America, which is why, Octavia, as you mentioned, history will show, even if the punditry doesn’t right now, transformative work that has happened because of what Michigan and all of you did to help us in 2020 and what we’re going to do in 2024. 

Now, I’m not going to go through the list of accomplishments because as my husband, Doug, has said to me recently — he was like, “Honey, here’s the part of the problem.”  (Laughter.)  He said, “Part of the problem is, you see, the list of accomplishments, it’s like a CVS receipt.”  (Laughter and applause.)  “It just keeps going and going and going.”  Right?  (Laughs.)  “You got to narrow that stuff down,” he says.

But the accomplishments are profound, and I’ll speak to just a couple of them.  I’ll be speaking later, again, for — for — I think it’s going to be 1,000 people there tonight, Debbie.  And the accomplishments in terms of — think about it: We have created over 15,000 new jobs in America, over 800,000 new manufacturing jobs; what we are doing to invest, as Michigan has always done, in transformation around transportation; and now what Michigan is on the verge of doing as it relates to a clean energy economy and investment in EV — (applause); what we are doing around batteries. 

Think about our accomplishments.  Think about the fact that we paid attention to issues like everyday pocketbook concerns for folks as it relates, for example, to healthcare and how expensive it is.  We capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month — (applause) — for our seniors.  Black folks are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes; Latinos, 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. 

When I go into these big rooms around our country — and let me tell you, I’ve been in these streets, okay? — when I travel our country, and I will sometimes ask people, “Raise your hand if you have a relative who has diabetes.”  The number of hands that go up of people who know how, for too long, our seniors had to decide whether they could fill their prescription or fill their refrigerator. 

What we have done to finally take on Big Pharma and allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices against Big Pharma. 

Think about what we have done on an issue that relates to gun violence.  I talked with a couple of people about that earlier.  You know, I started a college tour last fall because — by the way, I love Gen Z.  (Laughs.)  I love Gen Z.  I know it’s complicated if you have some in your life.  (Laughter.)  But I’m going to tell you, I love Gen Z. 

I mean, think about them.  And here’s the humbling point for many of us: You know how — what year someone was born in if they are 18 today?  2006.  Okay.  So, just deal with that.  (Laughter.)  Just deal with that. 

But here’s the thing: For that generation of leaders, the biggest issues we’re facing right now are lived experiences.  They’ve only known the climate crisis.  In fact, they’ve coined a term — “climate anxiety” — to describe their fear of thinking about potentially buying a home because it could be wiped out by extreme weather, starting a family because what will the future hold.

These young leaders, they witnessed the killing of George Floyd.  They witnessed a pandemic.  We — I just talked with our Yale student, who is studying health, and what it means in terms of thinking about global public health policy and the interconnection and interdependence between nations on so many levels, including health. 

It’s a lived experience.  I would ask them every time I go — over 15,000 students, I met — always packed to overflow rooms.  And I’d say, “Raise your hand if at any point between kindergarten and 12th grade, you had to do — endure an active shooter drill.”  Bone chilling.  Almost every hand went up. 

These are lived experiences for our young leaders.  And then during the height of their reproductive years, the highest court in our land took a constitutional right that had been recognized. 

So, I bring that back to say, listen, when we think about what we are now fighting for and who’s coming up behind and the path we are creating for them and the path they are creating for themselves, we have so many reasons to be optimistic and understand the momentum that we’ve got that’s on our side. 

The transformative accomplishments — I’m going to just talk for a minute about one in particular because I know there are a lot of people here who care about and are fighters for our climate and our environment.  Our administration — you know, and it just — it — it really — it — I’m going to use a word — I’m not going to use the word that I want to use, but it just really makes me upset.  (Laughter.) 

I’ve been doing a little too much of that recently.  (Laughter.)  These words are just kind of coming out sometimes.  I got to watch myself. 

But it does make me upset and concerned that — you know, when people will criticize our administration, and they’ll talk about things in terms of age, without looking at what — what is the age of — of an individual in terms of their ability to be bold and to be innovative and to see what can be, unburdened by what has been.

Take, for example, the accomplishment of our administration on climate.  By my calculation, we are in the midst of dropping about a trillion dollars over the next 10 years on the streets of America in an investment on climate adaptation, resilience, and a clean energy economy.  (Applause.)

What we are doing through the Inflation Reduction Act coupled with the CHIPS and Science Act and a profound investment in research and development and technology to the point that we are a global leader and we have the ability, when I travel around our world, to challenge our allies and adversaries alike, “Look what we’re doing; you step up too on this global issue” — it’s extraordinary. 

And, look, the contrast on every issue that we’ve already discussed is clear in November.  Whereas there are so many issues that confront us domestically and globally that are nuanced and complex, November: binary.  Binary.

On the issue of climate, many of you may have heard or read about how the former President was in a room full of rich folks talking about how he would repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which was the — the vehicle through which we’ve done our climate work.  He would give credits to the Big Oil companies if they gave him a billion dollars. 

That’s but one example of a profound contrast being presented to the voters in 150 days. 

So, I’m going to end with just a couple points.  One is this.  As your Vice President, I have now met with over 150 world leaders — presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, and kings.  Many of them I’ve met with now multiple times to the point we are on a first-name basis. 

The last three international trips I took were, at the end of last year, I was in Dubai presenting America’s perspective at the COP28 conference, the global climate conference; I was in the UK at the — the request of the Prime Minister to present on my theory on behalf of our country on the future of AI and safety; and then, this year, I was in Munich at the Munich Security Conference to present on America’s position in terms of our commitment to our allies, such as Ukraine, and our commitment to international rules and norms, including sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

All that to say this: Just the last three trips I took — and, in fact, next week, I’m going to Switzerland to go to the peace conference hosted by President Zelenskyy to represent our country. 

Those last three trips I took, almost to a one, world leaders who I’ve come to know now came up to me, “Kamala” — we’re on a first-name basis — “Kamala, I hope you guys are going to be okay.”  And understand, they present that purely out of self-interest, because, you see, people around the world are acutely aware of the impact and significance that we have to the rest of the world.  And I say that to emphasize the stakes are so high. 

And we are fighting based on our love of our country and our knowledge of the responsibility we have.  We are fighting, understanding that the nature of democracy is — to some extent, there’s a duality to it.  On the one hand, strength; when intact, oh, how streng- — and how strong it is in terms of how it protects and fights for the individual rights and freedoms and liberty of its people.  Such strength when intact. 

And it’s very fragile.  It’s only as strong as our willingness to fight for it. 

And so, fight we will.  (Applause.)  And when we fight, we win.  There you are. 

Thank you all very much.  Thank you.  Thank you all very much.

END                      4:25 P.M. EDT

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Remarks by President Biden and President Macron of France in Joint Press Statements | Paris, France

Sat, 06/08/2024 - 14:21

Élysée Palace
Paris, France

4:08 P.M. CEST

PRESIDENT BIDEN: It’s beautiful.

PRESIDENT MACRON: (As interpreted.) Mr. President, dear Joe, ladies and gentlemen, ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen.

Mr. President, you are honoring us with a state visit to France after — your presence and that of your wife, Dr. Jill Biden, after the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy. And I believe your veterans, our veterans, and those of all the Allies were honored by your presence and that of other leaders on the 6th of June and by the warm welcome they enjoyed while they were there.

But this says a lot about the strength of our alliance and what binds France and the United States of America. This is a unity of blood, shed to address the great challenges of the day, but it is this bloodline that is the connection between our two flags, our two nations.

So, once again, thank you for your presence.

Together with the President, we discussed the great issues that we are facing, the first of which being Ukraine.

Today in Ukraine, men and women are fighting with remarkable courage, determined not to give in faced with the Russian aggression, the unjustifiable aggression. Jointly, we responded to extend our support to this European nations, which is fighting for its survival and its freedom, and we will continue to this as intensely and as long as is necessary.

And I would like to thank you, sir, for the commitment of the United States of America and the recent decisions you recently confirmed whereby you came to our sides and played a critical role in this conflict. This conflict is all about the security and stability of Old Europe.

Many thanks again. And I think we see eye to eye on this war raging in Ukraine. We took joint decisions authorizing Ukraine to fight back, strike its aggressor when defending its territory. We are, of course, making great efforts to arm, train, equip the Ukrainian army.

And we made remarkable decisions. We mentioned the — well, the details of the war, as I said, raging out there. But during the G7, we hope — both hope that all members of the G7 will agree to a 50 billion solidarity fund for Ukraine. And in the peace conference in Switzerland, you will be represented there. This will be a critical stage as well. And, of course, the NATO Summit in Washington, D.C.

As regards to the Ukrainian issue, as I said, we do see eye to eye: respect for international law, the freedom of peoples to determine their own future to self-determination. And thank you for being at Europe’s side.

This close cooperation between France and the United States concerns other crises as well. There should be no dual standards, and although there are many crises around the world, we’re still applying the self-same principles with the self-same determination.

In Gaza, we want to obtain the immediate liberation of hostages, and we can only welcome the liberation of four hostages by the Israeli army.

We want to achieve an immediate ceasefire and open up the prospect of a political solution, which is the only one that can bring about a fair and lasting peace and meet the security of concerns of both people. And that is why we are supporting the comprehensive proposal of the United States of America.

After nine months of conflict, the situation in Rafah and the human consequences are unacceptable. It is not acceptable that Israel should not open all checkpoints to humanitarian aid as requested by the unite- — international community for months.

Operations — Israeli operations should stop their — and the United — the United Nations Security Council has a role to play. But, of course, jointly, we will double down to avoid a regional escalation — in particular, in Lebanon, where we are working on de-escalation on the Blue Line and on the institutional aspect in both countries, working with both and, indeed, all stakeholders to assure that all parties come back to their senses.

Regarding Iran, we know the same thing. There is an all-out escalation: unprecedented attacks against Israel, operations of regional destabilization, and, of course, the Iranian nuclear program.

Both our countries are determined to bring pressure to bear to counter this trend. And this was demonstrated recently enough, a few days ago, by jointly adopting a resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency. The self-same determination is there. We do not wish to apply double standards.

And that is why we coordinate our efforts in Africa, the crisis in Sudan, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, throughout the region.

And over and beyond this, our two countries, with a mean sense of leadership, will address the challenges of our time, especially those touching the most vulnerable countries. We do wish to achieve a fairer international order. That is the meaning of the Paris Pact for the People and the Planet but also initiative for a more efficient tax system.

We are stepping up the exit from the coal — from coal energy. There will be the conference on the ocean. And, indeed, we are mobilizing efforts on global health. And, indeed, we will be both involved in organizing the Gavi conference here in Paris.

That is also what lies behind this proposition of an Olympic — Olympic Truce, which was proposed by the U.N. just a few days ago.

On the economic front, we are both concerned about China’s unfair trade practices, which bring about overcapacity. This is of such importance for the global economy that we have to act in a coordinated fashion.

During my visit in December ‘22, I explained the consequences of the Inflation Reduction Act on the European economy. We discussed this again. That piece of legislation is useful because it makes it possible — indeed, it steps up the decarbonization of the American economy and, therefore, the implementation of the Paris Agreements.

But, of course, we want to reset, as it were, both our economies — that is the European economy and the — that of the United States of America — in terms of regulation, investment, and on such issues as clean tech, artificial intelligence, and, indeed, agri-food issues.

But, of course, we want to work on the bilateral level for better cooperation. American students, American scientists, American entrepreneurs are more than welcome in this country. We wish there would be more of them.

We also have cooperation based, since the state visit of December 2022, around the civilian nuclear industry.

In the space industry, we want to go further. Indeed, a number of agreements were signed between CNES and NASA on Earth observation or, indeed, the Artemis program.

And also proud to announce that the first high-speed — American high-speed train, built by Alstom, will be commissioned in the United States by year’s end. And that is also a sign of increased cooperation between our railroad industries, and this is a sign of economical cooperation but also a step towards the energy transition resorting to France’s technological excellence.

I would also like to signal the importance of American investors in France. There was the Choose France Summit in France. France will start a new foundation worth 100 million euros to promote university exchanges and exchange programs of research between our two countries. I would like to thank the companies that joined this. In particular, CMA-CGM was very much involved.

This new initiative comes after the success of the Villa Albertine project, where several cities in your country received as many as 180 creators and intellectuals in a matter of two years in about 50 cities.

I shan’t speak longer.

But I would like to say that — regarding the wars around the world inflicting pain around the world on big international issues and on the bilateral front — together with President Biden, we want to have a joint roadmap. We need to trust in the future, trust in progress, trust in innovation, the determination to create jobs not just in the U.S. but in Europe as well. We want to be there when the economy is properly decarbonized, but we want to build peace.

We mustn’t be naïve. We must be on the side of those who resist. We must not be naïve. In other words, we need to find demanding solutions.

But I would like to thank you, Mr. President, to be not — the president not just of the first of the greatest world power but you being clear and loyal partner who respects Europeans and who wants to build on these agreements from the Ukraine to the Middle East, through what we’re taking up today on the economic front.

Thank you. Thank you for being with us today. And thank you for honoring Paris, Normandy, and France during the celebrations with your state visit.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, Mr. President, thank you. It’s — it’s been a great honor to be here, not only the Normandy events, but it was a moving experience for a student of French history to be — the Champs-Élysées today. I — it was a moving experience for us — for the whole delegation.

You know, France was our first friend and remains our — one of our best friends. This week, we reaffirmed that friendship in a deeply meaningful way.

But before I begin my remarks, I want to echo President Macron’s comments welcoming the safe rescue of four hostages that were returned to their families in Israel. We won’t stop working until all the hostages come home and a ceasefire is reached. That is essential to happen.

You know, together we marked the 80th anniversary of the Allied operation that saved Europe and an incredible heroes who carried it out. I found it — 180 brave men — happened to be all men at the time — who came back to Normandy this week with such pride and sense of devotion.

I don’t think anyone who got to meet them, shake their hands, or hear their stories will ever forget their stories or the look in their eyes and the pride they took with what they did. But you could also see them remembering the lost comrades at the same time. You know, the fact is that I know I won’t forget it.

And I want to thank President Macron, Mrs. Macron for — and the people of France for making our heroes feel so welcome, because they did feel welcome. You could feel it. You could see it. And we’ll never forget — we’ll never forget what they did.

And this week, we have showed the world once again the power of allies and what we can achieve when we stand together. That’s what this relationship between France and the United States exemplifies.

You know, we see it in Ukraine, where our two countries are standing with the Ukrainian people as they fight off Putin’s brutal aggression. And yesterday, I announced $225 million in new security assistance to Ukraine. And it’s the sixth package we’ve provided since we signed the national security legislation earlier this year — I wish we could have done it when we wanted to six months earlier, but we got it done — with $61 billion in additional aid to Ukraine.

And I commend France and our European allies for their leadership as well. The EU has proved that — provided over a hu- — 107 billion — $107 billion in assistance to Ukraine since the war began, because we know what happens if Putin succeeds in su- — in subjugating Ukraine, and it won’t — we won’t sto- — you know — you know, Putin not going to stop at Ukraine. It’s not just Ukraine; it’s about much more than Ukraine. All of Europe will be threatened, but we’re not going to let that happen.

The United States is standing strong with Ukraine. We’re standing with our allies. And we’re standing with France. We will not — we will not — say it again — walk away.

And around the world, France and the United States are working together to strengthen secu- — strengthen security and shared prosperity.

In the Indo-Pacific, we stand together for freedom of navigation, transparent governments, as well as fair economic practices.

In the Middle East and North Africa, we work together on issues critical to peace and stability, like food security and counterterrorism.

And the existential threat of climate change, which is just growing greater, we’re working together to accelerate the global transition to net-zero. It is the existential threat to humanity, among — the only existential threat to humanity, including nuclear weapons, is if we do nothing on climate change. I could go on.

Every day, the French people and the American people are connected in countless ways through economic ties, collaboration in science and technology, educational exchanges.

The reason we don’t have more Americans coming, we’re afraid they won’t come home. (Laughter.) It’s such a beautiful — I mean it. This is such an incredible country, such a beautiful country.

And, you know, the fact is that these cherished ties between our families and friends continues to grow.

The bonds between our nations are strong, vast, and rooted in the most important element: shared values. That’s true today, as it’s been from the very start.

In a few weeks, the United States will celebrate the Fourth of July, our day of independence. That feat would not have been possible — it’s not hyperbole — would not have been possible were it not for France coming to our aid.

We’re the — we’re a nation because of France, in large part. You stepped up when we needed help, and you did it. That’s what the Fourth of July is about. That feat would not have been possible, again, without your support, without France’s support.

Today, I proudly stand with France to support freedom and democracy around the world. That’s what this spectacular week is all about.

Mr. President, there is much more we had the chance to talk about. We’re going to continue to talk. You’ve become a good friend, and I really appreciate your — your cooperation and your insights.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

PRESIDENT MACRON: Merci beaucoup. Thank you, President.

PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you.

END 4:25 P.M. CEST

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