Keynote Speech: Bill Clinton at the 2020 Democratic National Convention
Former President of the United States Bill Clinton’s full remarks as prepared for delivery from night two of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, August 18.
A presidential election is the world’s most important job interview. At the end we hire a leader to help us solve problems, create opportunities, and give our kids better tomorrows.
That’s a tall order this year, with the COVID-19 outbreak on a path to killing 200,000 people and destroying millions of jobs and small businesses.
How did Donald Trump respond? At first he said the virus was under control and would soon disappear. When it didn’t, he was on TV every day bragging on what a great job he was doing, while scientists waited to give us vital information. When he didn’t like the expert advice he was given, he ignored it.
Only when COVID exploded in even more states did he encourage people to wear masks. By then many more were dying. When asked about the surge in deaths, he shrugged and said, “It is what it is.” But did it have to be this way?
No. COVID hit us much harder than it had to.
We have just 4 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s COVID cases. Our unemployment rate is more than twice as high as South Korea’s, 2 1/2 times the United Kingdom’s, and more than three times Japan’s.
Donald Trump says we’re leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple. At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos. Just one thing never changes—his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame. The buck never stops there.
Now you have to decide whether to renew his contract or hire someone else. If you want a president who defines the job as spending hours a day watching TV and zapping people on social media, he’s your man. Denying, distracting, and demeaning works great if you’re trying to entertain and inflame. But in a real crisis, it collapses like a house of cards.
COVID doesn’t respond to any of that. To beat it, you’ve got to go to work and deal with the facts.
Our party is united in offering you a very different choice: a go-to-work president. A down-to-earth, get-the-job-done guy. A man with a mission: to take responsibility, not shift the blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide.
Our choice is Joe Biden.
Joe helped bring us back from a recession before, and he can do it again.
In 2009, Barack Obama and Joe Biden started with the worst economy since the Great Depression and when they were done, they had delivered more than six straight years of job growth. What did Joe do? He accepted responsibility for implementing the Recovery Act. His work created a lot of new jobs and started many new companies in communities across America.
Now Joe is committed to building America back again.
How? He’s given us smart detailed plans to invest in areas vital to our future: innovative financing for factories and small businesses; good jobs in green energy and conservation to combat climate change; a modern infrastructure that brings small town and rural America the connectivity and investment others take for granted; and a plan to ensure that Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, women, immigrants, and other communities left behind are full participants in the economy and our society.
Joe Biden wants to build an economy far better suited to our changing world. Better for young people. Better for families, working and raising their kids. Better for people who lost jobs and need new ones. Better for farmers tired of being collateral damage in trade wars. Better for workers caring for the sick, elderly, and people with disabilities.
Better because of a living wage, and access to affordable higher education and health care, including prescription drugs, childcare, a secure retirement, and paid family and medical leave. Joe won’t just put his signature on a check and try to fool you into thinking it came from him. He’ll work to make sure that your paycheck reflects your contribution to, and your stake in, a growing economy. In this job interview, the difference is stark. You know what Donald Trump will do with four more years: blame, bully, and belittle. And you know what Joe Biden will do: build back better.
It’s Trump’s “Us vs. Them” America against Joe Biden’s America, where we all live and work together. It’s a clear choice. And the future of our country is riding on it.
2020 Democratic National Convention