Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday formally accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, laying out his vision for building the nation back better in a speech that capped off the four-day virtual Democratic National Convention.
Almost right at the beginning of his speech, Biden directly took aim at incumbent President Donald Trump without uttering his name, saying that “the current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger. Too much fear. Too much division.”
“If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us not the worst. I will be an ally of the light not of the darkness,” Biden said at the Chase Center in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, pledging that while he is a Democratic candidate, he will be “an American president,” and that he will work as hard for those who didn’t support him as he will for those who did.
The 77-year-old Democratic candidate, who is running for the White House for the third time, highlighted “four historic crises” now facing the United States: the coronavirus pandemic that has infected over 5.5 million people and claimed over 170,000 lives in the country, a national economy that is reeling from the worst recession since the Great Depression, sweeping protests across the nation for racial justice following the killing of black man George Floyd by police brutality, and the rapidly worsening climate change.
“Now history has delivered us to one of the most difficult moments America has ever faced. Four historic crises. All at the same time. A perfect storm,” Biden said, stressing that the upcoming election “is more consequential” as “America is at an inflection point, a time of real peril, but of extraordinary possibilities.”
Biden spent a big chunk of time during his speech detailing what he would do to tackle the coronavirus from day one as president, including making testing widely available with immediate results, giving schools necessary resources for them to safely reopen, stocking the country with adequate U.S.-made medical supplies and personal protective equipment, as well as requiring a national mandate on mask-wearing.
“The tragedy of where we are today is it didn’t have to be this bad,” Biden said, contrasting his country’s world-leading cases and deaths with the lower numbers in European and Asian countries. “And after all this time, the president still does not have a plan,” Biden said of Trump.
Turning to other issues, Biden promised an economic plan that will build the nation back better, a healthcare system expanded on the basis of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act that Trump vowed to undo, and an education system that better trains students for jobs and makes tuition and debt no long a burden for young people.
Biden also talked about bridging the income gap, turning the challenges posed by climate change into job-creating opportunities, reversing the Trump tax cuts by taxing the wealthiest and the biggest corporations, and protecting the seniors’ social security that he said Trump threatened to disrupt by cutting the tax that pays for almost half of it.
He then made an appeal to the young progressives — the most difficult group for him to win over — by saying he heard their voices against inequity and injustice that exist in economic, racial and environmental spheres. He vowed to “restore the promise of America to everyone.”