July 15, 2024
Remarks by Vice President Harris at a Campaign Reception
Remarks by Vice President Harris at a Campaign Reception

Private Residence Los Angeles, California 4:11 P.M. PDT THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Can we hear it for Rob Reiner and Michele Reiner?  (Applause.) Good afternoon, good afternoon.  (Inaudible.)  Everybody have a seat.  I’m going to be talking for a while.  (Laughter.) Let me start by just, again, thanking Rob and Michele.  You — […]

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Private Residence

Los Angeles, California

4:11 P.M. PDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Can we hear it for Rob Reiner and Michele Reiner?  (Applause.)

Good afternoon, good afternoon.  (Inaudible.)  Everybody have a seat.  I’m going to be talking for a while.  (Laughter.)

Let me start by just, again, thanking Rob and Michele.  You — you guys really are extraordinary individuals — as individuals and as a couple.  But you are always giving of yourself and your time and your heart. 

And there are moments like this that really do require people like the two of you and your family to stand up and inspire so many people, because they have confidence in you and they respect you to always be on the good side of a fight, which you two always are.  So, thank you so very much for hosting us today.  (Applause.)  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Thank you.

To my husband, the first second gentleman of the United States.  (Applause.)

Chad and Charlie, thank you so very much for all this.  Chad has been, just, a friend for so long, and we’ve been in a lot of battles together.  And I cannot thank you enough for your friendship and all that you do and the support that you have given the president and me through these last three and a half years and before.  Thank you, both, for all that you do.  (Applause.)  Thank you, thank you.

Senator Laphonza Butler is here.  Where are you?  (Applause.) There you are, the senator from the great state of California.  (Laughs.)

Representative Brad Sherman, where are you?  There he is.  (Applause.)  Thank you for allowing us to be in your district.  (Laughs.)

And I know Idina Menzel is coming up later, and I want to thank her in advance for her incredible gift. 

All right, so, listen: 129 days until the election — 129 days.  We can do anything in 129 days.  So, it’s a short time, and it’s going to be a long time.  And I know that each one of us is dedicated to spending each and every one of these next 129 days to do everything that we know is in our power to fight for this country we love. 

I was saying to a group of the host earlier, this — we know what’s in front of us in terms of the split screen and who — the guy on the other side.  But let’s not get so caught up in that that we forget that this is not a fight against something; this is a fight for something. 

We love our country.  We believe in the promise of America.  As much as anything, the fight before us is for the promise of America.  I am empirical evidence of the promise of America, okay?  (Applause.)  We know what can happen and what is possible when we collectively have the ability to see what can be unburdened by what has been.

After all, that’s what we’re celebrating on the 11th anniversary is our collective knowledge, forever, of what was possible 11 days [years] ago and then fighting to get there.  We were fighting for something: the promise of America.  We believe in those foundational principles that include the promise of freedom and liberty and equality and justice. 

Isn’t that why we’re all here together right now?  This is — this is an ongoing fight.  (Applause.)  This is an ongoing fight.  And this is one of the most critical phases of that fight we’ve all been in for a very long time. 

And because we’ve been in the fight before, I say with full confidence, we will win.  We will win.  (Applause.)  We know what we stand for, so we know what to fight for.  And when we fight, we win.  (Applause.)

So, everybody, get your head on straight — (laughter) — okay? 

And with that, I’ll deal with the elephant in the room.  I’m going to do with two elephants, actually.  (Laughter.)

But the debate — the debate.  Our president said it wasn’t his finest hour.  We all know it wasn’t.  But we also know that when we watched and listened to the substance of what was happening on that debate stage, if we put aside the style points, there was a clear contrast. 

On the one side, you have somebody — as Rob has said, has proven and been proven in a court of law — says the former prosecutor — to have been found beyond a reasonable doubt.  Where are you, Boutrous?  Right? (Applause.)  You have someone in the former president of the United States, who openly talks about his admiration for dictators and said he’ll be a dictator on “day one.”  Someone who has said openly how he will weaponize the Department of Justice against his political enemies. 

None of that has changed because of one day in June. 

Four things remain true before that debate and after that debate: The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been.  This person is a threat to our democracy.  We have all of the right issues on our side, in terms of what we are fighting for.  And you know the fourth thing that remains true before the debate and after debate?  Trump is still a liar.  (Applause.)

You see how much hasn’t changed?  (Laughs.)  So, let’s deal with what we’ve got, right?  Let’s deal with what we’ve got.

We’re in a fight.  We know that this fight is based on so many key points about what is happening in our nation now. 

There’s — I’ve been traveling our country.  You know a- — my staff has told me that, already this year, just this year, I’ve already been to 60 dif- — over 60 trips.  I’ve been spending time in all the states around our country and, in particular, the battleground states.

Roy Cooper, the governor of North Carolina, he’s very funny; every time he meets me on the tarmac, when I arrive in North Carolina, and he will tell me each time — I think he told me last time I was there this was my 14th trip as vice president to North Carolina. 

So, let me just say, I’m in these streets.  (Laughter.)  I’m in these streets, okay?  (Applause.)  And I will tell you what the streets are saying.

People care deeply about fighting for fundamental freedoms.  They care deeply about having leadership in our country that reflects our values and our mores and what we admire, not what we despise. 

The American people know that the true measure of the strength of a leader is not based on who you beat down.  It’s based on who you lift up. 

The American people know that the true character, the strength of character of a leader is based on someone who has some level of concern and care about the well-being of other people and then does something about it to lift their condition. 

As I travel our country, I am in small and extremely large groups of people.  Let me tell you what they say to me: “Thank you for capping the cost of insulin at $35 a month for our seniors.”  Because, you see, they will say, “You know, vice president, but you will hear from me: Black people are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes; Latinos are 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.  For too long, our seniors have had to make a decision about whether they could afford to fill their prescription for insulin or fill their refrigerator.  And you capping that cost of insulin is life-changing, game-changing for the people in my family.”  That’s what people will tell me. 

They will say, “Thank you.  Finally, an administration took on Big Pharma and is allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices so that seniors’ medication will be capped at $2,000 a year.”  “Thank you,” they say.

They say — (applause) — I have teachers coming up to me, not to mention all kinds of folks — firefighters, nurses — who say, “Thank you guys for the student loan debt relief, because you don’t understand the burden that we have been carrying, tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, that are finally being forgiven.”  God knows we don’t pay our teachers enough as it is. 

They thank us, and they say, “Finally, you see the people and understand an issue like medical debt.” 

What am I talking about?  Well, medical debt is burdening — if you talk about demographics — substantial percentages of the people of our country — medical debt — which most usually comes about because someone suffers a medical emergency.  So, then, obviously not planned, not invited.  And they accrue tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, which can be used in their credit score to deny them eligibility for a car loan, a lease for an apartment.  And they say, “Thank you, because you all finally said medical debt cannot be counted against my credit score.”  (Applause.)

I started a college tour last fall.  I decided, you know what, I — I love getting out of D.C.  And — and, in particular, I have to tell you, I love Gen Z.  I love Gen Z.  I know it’s complicated if you have Gen Z in your life, but I’m going to tell you. 

And, okay, it’s going to be a humbling fact for everyone here.  Do you know what year someone was born if they’re 18 today?  2006.  (Laughter.)  That’s humbling. (Laughs.) 

So, I started this college tour, and I went to various schools.  And, actually, it was college-aged young people, so I — colleges, universities, but also trade schools.  And I would talk with them abou- — because I would listen to them, Gen Z.  Think about their life experience.  Some of the most critical issues before us in this election are a lived experience for them. 

They’ve only known the climate crisis.  They have coined a term, “climate anxiety,” to describe their fear of having children or aspiring to buy a home for fear it could be wiped out with extreme weather. 

They witnessed the killing of George Floyd.

The pandemic made them lose substantial phases of their education and socialization. 

In the height of their reproductive years, the court just took a fundamental right. 

And on the issue of gun violence, I will share with you: In every auditorium, which was packed to the point that we had overflow room — now, can you imagine a bunch of college students who — this is not a rock concert — would actually stand in line for these hours and overflow room to see a vice president in a suit on a stage talking?  I’d ask every room, “Raise your hand if at any point between kindergarten and 12th grade you had to endure an active shooter drill?”  Almost every hand went up.  It was bone-chilling. 

So, on the issue of climate, where our administration, through the Inflation Reduction Act, has dropped about a trillion dollars, by my math, over the next 10 years in investing in a clean energy economy and resilience and adaptation, and also challenging our allies and others around the world to now put up, because we just have.

Whether it is on an issue like gun violence, where we passed the first meaningful gun safety law in 30 years in our country. 

Whether it is on the issue of choice, where, as you all know, we’re very clear. 

On any one of these issues, the American people, when I am in the streets, talk about their support for our perspective and their desire and need for us to fight for these issues. 

So, I bring you back my notes from the field to remind us all of what we know: There is so much at stake, and what we did in 2022 to elect Joe Biden president united states and me the first woman vice president of the United States — (applause) — what we did in terms of what that meant, in terms of what we can accomplish and did. 

So, when we say the stakes are high, yes, it is about this overt, clear threat to our democracy.  And the stakes are high because we actually need to get some shit done.  (Applause.)  And we know how to do it.  And we know how to do it.

Because, by the way, the other side has no plan, except to try and divide our nation and spew hate. 

And that brings me to the point of our celebration today of what we collectively did 11 years ago.  I think about that day — and I heard — Chad, I heard you telling the story.  I — so, I was in my — so — well, first of all, I — I have two things to celebrate, which is, one, that the — I was one of the first in the country and inclu- — of any elected to perform same-sex marriages on Valentine’s weekend in 2004.  (Applause.)  And so, we just a few months ago celebrated the 20th anniversary of that.  And — and then 11 years ago. 

And I remember, because I got the call from Chad.  You were on the plane.  You guys were coming back from D.C. after the decision.  And my office in San Francisco was — for those who know San Francisco, was up on Golden Gate, on the street.  And so, it was about two and a half blocks from City Hall, which is where we were going to meet up.  And I had security then and, you know, they said, “Well, ma’am, you know, we should drive.  We drive everywhere.”  And I was like, “Nope.”  (Laughter.)  Because I had in my mind that photograph of Thurgood.  Have you all ever seen that photograph of him walking, right?  (Laughter.)  And I was like, “No, we’re walking to City Hall, me and my team.”  (Laughs.)  (Applause.)

And we walked to City Hall.  And it was incredible, because we got there and n- — lots of people didn’t yet know what had happened.  And so, we get there and — and Chad told the story about the call that I made to the clerk in Los Angeles.  But when we arrived, it was quiet and — and the place seemed empty.  And we were there, and then slowly the folks who knew started to gather.  And then — do you remember?   And I think it might have been before you landed.  And then, all of the sudden, out of nowhere, appeared the Gay Men’s Chorus.  (Laughter.)  And just seemingly out of nowhere, they arrived at City Hall and started tuning up.  And it was — (laughs) — and it was just layer after layer after layer of pure joy and pride 11 years ago. 

So, let’s hold onto those kinds of days to remind ourselves of what we stand for and why we fight.  Because there are so many here who can testify and give the testimonials about the heartache and pain that for years went into this movement, which is not over yet.  We still need to pass the Equality Act. 

We still need to deal with what’s happening in terms of people who are trying to turn back the clock, like a “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida.  You know, I think about that Chad — so, 20 years ago, performed same-sex marriages, and then I think about some young teachers in Florida, who are probably in their 20s, who are afraid to put up a photograph of themselves and their partner for fear they could lose their job.  Their job being what?  God’s work: teaching other people’s children. 

And so, thinking about how the clock people are trying to rollback, knowing what we are fighting for now, but also remembering the joy that comes with the product of that struggle — let’s remember all of that.  Let’s remember all of that. 

Many of you may know, my first campaign manager — when I first ran for district attorney of San Francisco, nobody thought we could win.  I started out at six points in the polls, which, if anyone doesn’t know, that means six out of 100.  (Laughter.)  I knew when we got to 12, we could win. 

And my first campaign manager was — God rest his soul — a man by the name of Jim Rivaldo.  Jim Rivaldo was Harvey Milk’s campaign manager.  And Jim and I spent — and my mother actually took care of Jim as he was dying.  He actually ha- — ended up having AIDS.  But Jim would talk to me — and I never met Harvey; that was before my time.  But — but Jim would talk about the movement in the early days.  And San Francisco, of course, takes great pride in being a birthplace of the movement.  And he would talk about how Harvey and he and the leaders at that time thought about what the movement would require for success. 

And they talked about it in the context — and he, in particular — of the importance of building community and reminding and remembering that the forces against progress — I don’t say change; I say progress — will always try to demean and belittle and suggest to people that they’re — by themselves, are somehow subversive in trying to undo what should be the values of America.  And he would talk about — understand that’s — that’s the pathology of it all.  That’s how it works.  That’s what they do. 

And so, we, in these movements for progress, must be intentional about building community and reminding people they are not alone and building coalitions. 

And I think often about Rivaldo in this moment, as I have throughout my career.

I asked my team — so, okay, one of the things that I — I do about a lot of things, I — I love Venn diagrams, let me just tell you.  I love Venn di — I — I’m a nerd.  I love Venn diagrams.  If ever you are facing conflict, throw up a Venn diagram.  It will help you sort it out, just those three circles.  (Laughter.)

So, I asked my team: Let’s do a Venn diagram.  Show me from which states are we seeing attacks on LGBT- — that was so funny, Rob.  LGB- — the “Q” and the “plus” weren’t even around then.  (Laughter.) 

LGBTQ+ rights — where are the attacks coming from on that?  Where are the attacks coming from on voting rights?  Where are the attacks coming from on reproductive freedoms?  No one here would be surprised to know: complete — almost complete overlap, coming from the same places.

Full-on attack on hard-won, hard-fought freedoms and rights: freedom to have access to the ballot box, freedom to love who you love openly and with pride, freedom to live free from fear of hate and bigotry, freedom to make decisions about your own body and not have your government tell you what to do.  This is what we are seeing.  (Applause.)

And in these moments, then, I think about Rivaldo.  And I think, “Hey, let’s — let’s see the opportunity in this crisis to build our coalition up.”  All those folks who have been fighting for voting rights, all those folks who have been fighting for reproductive freedom and maternal health care, all the folks who have been in our movement fighting for LGBTQ+ rights — let’s bring everybody together. 

We’re in the middle of a movement.  And the next inflection point in our movement will be this election.  But what we know, in any movement that is about freedom and liberty, is we stand on broad shoulders of the folks who came before us, and we are sitting here — right now, together — because they passed us the baton in this relay race of history. 

And the question is going to be: While we are carrying the baton, what will we do with it?  And I have full confidence in the answer to that question.

This election is going to be about what kind of country do we want to live in.  We love our country.  We know what kind of country we want to live in. 

And I’ll end with this.  When you know what you stand for, you know what to fight for. 

And when we fight, we win.  (Applause.)

END                  4:34 P.M. PDT

Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2024/06/29/remarks-by-vice-president-harris-at-a-campaign-reception-10/

The post Remarks by Vice President Harris at a Campaign Reception first appeared on Social Gov.

originally published at Politics - Social Gov