Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden promised to listen to scientists and push legislation to mitigate the financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Airport on Friday evening.
“The American people don’t give up, we don’t give in,” the former vice president said. “Unlike Donald Trump, we’re not going to surrender to this virus.”
The Democratic nominee stood behind a podium emblazoned with “Battle for the Soul of the Nation.”
Biden talked about “building back better” from the COVID-19 pandemic — adding a Medicare-like option to the Affordable Care Act to extend more affordable health care protections to more people, creating new and better-paying jobs and shoring up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
“Donald Trump thinks health care is a privilege,” he said. “I think it’s a right people should have.”
Biden’s speech in front of about 50 people, including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the sheriffs of Milwaukee and Dane counties, followed a rally by President Trump in Green Bay earlier in the day, where Trump touted the event’s large turnout and said a coronavirus vaccine would be ready “momentarily.”
The Trump campaign’s request to hold a rally at the airfield at General Mitchell on Oct. 23 was rejected. Airport officials told WTMJ-TV that the Biden campaign’s event was permitted because the size fell well below the city-mandated 250 person maximum for large gatherings, and wouldn’t disrupt airport operations.
During Friday evening’s appearance, Biden repeatedly referenced remarks made by President Trump.
“He said today at a rally that our doctors are the problem, he said they’re making up deaths from COVID-19 because they get more money,” Biden said. “My Lord.”
Biden talked about Monica Watry, an ICU nurse in Milwaukee who was in the audience. He said in a phone call with Watry, and in conversations with other medical professionals, he’s heard about many nurses, doctors and first responders getting sick while waiting for personal protective equipment like masks and gowns. He said Watry, and others were scared they might bring the disease home to their families, and that Watry had her husband wait in the garage with a bathrobe so she could immediately change out of her work clothes and head straight to the shower.
“So many people, over a thousand Monicas, have given their lives trying to save other lives,” he said. “And this guy says they’re making it up because they want to make more money.”
He said Trump “waived the white flag” and surrendered to the coronavirus. Biden urged Americans to wear masks, saying medical professionals have said universal mask-wearing could save hundreds of thousands of lives.
“This isn’t a political statement of us wearing these masks,” he said. “For god’s sake, it’s a patriotic duty.”
Biden’s speech was preceded by remarks from U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, a Democrat who represents Milwaukee and its suburbs. She described the United States’ “trifecta of problems:” a pandemic, a resulting economic crisis and a crisis of justice.
“In just four more days, we have an opportunity to elect Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris,” she said. “They are going to build back better. They are going to trust science, and have us do the testing and the tracing, and have us do the measures that will contain the virus.”
He noted the pandemic’s toll on Wisconsin and Milwaukee specifically, both in terms of economic strains and lives lost.
“More than 225,000 people — I think it’s 229,000 as I speak — have already lost their lives to COVID-19,” he said. “Two-thousand here in Wisconsin, 600 here in Milwaukee, each one memorialized by an empty chair this morning at breakfast, or tonight at dinner. An empty chair at MacArthur Square.”
The former vice president outlined what he saw as Trump’s failure to act on urgent issues, specifically the pandemic, but also climate change and racial justice.
Biden, likewise, urged people to vote, after noting that millions have already cast their ballots.
“If you’ve already voted, get your mom, dad, brother, sister, neighbor — get them to vote,” he said. “This election, I promise you, your grandkids are going to write about how it set the path for at least a generation here in America.”
Donald Trump and Joe Biden came to different corners of Wisconsin Friday, but they may as well have been in different worlds.
The Republican president brought thousands of people together in Green Bay, where he contended the Democratic nominee would endanger the economy. Biden, wearing a mask and speaking to a small socially distanced crowd, ripped into Trump in Milwaukee, saying he had neglected his obligation to shield the country from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Donald Trump waved the white flag, surrendered to the virus,” Biden said in a Mitchell International Airport hangar. “Unlike Donald Trump, we’re not going to surrender to this virus.”
Biden said the president had been unwilling to take on a virus that has killed nearly 230,000 Americans, noting Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, last weekend said, “We are not going to control the pandemic.”
“The thing that bothers me the most was the president who gave up,” Biden said.
He argued Trump had hurt the state’s economy with trade wars, saying he had “devastated the Wisconsin dairy industry” and caused mass layoffs.
“Harley-Davidson slashed 800 manufacturing jobs, repurchased stock … and then shifted some of its production overseas. So much for helping,” Biden said, referring to the Milwaukee motorcycle company.”
The two candidates have taken two very different approaches to campaigning in the middle of the pandemic. And they were in a state where cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been spiking.
Trump has continued to hold large rallies across the country, appearing in front of thousands of mostly unmasked supporters.
Biden has appeared at far smaller events, where social distancing and mask-wearing are mandatory.
About four hours after President Donald Trump wrapped up his third crowded Wisconsin rally of the week, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden stood behind a podium at a hangar in Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee for a limited, socially distanced speech in which he covered many familiar beats in his closing arguments of the 2020 campaign.
The bulkiest portion of Biden’s remarks centered on Trump’s failed response to the coronavirus pandemic that has left 8.9 million Americans infected and 228,000 dead, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Biden referenced the ever-growing numbers in Wisconsin: 220,000 infections and 1,972 deaths as of Friday, according to Department of Health Services data.
“Thing that bothers me the most is the president gave up,” Biden said, cutting into Trump for his August statement that the virus “is what it is” and Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ shocking admittance last weekend that the White House is “not going to control the pandemic.”
The former vice president also took shots against Trump for the state of dairy farming in Wisconsin. Trump’s trade war with China caused serious harm to the state’s dairy industry; over 800 Wisconsin dairies closed in 2019 alone—a rate of more than two per day. It has gotten worse during the pandemic, with many farms missing out entirely on COVID relief funds.
Biden vowed to pass a bipartisan relief package for all sorts of people affected by the pandemic. He bashed Trump for his failure to get a single relief bill passed in Congress since the CARES Act in March.
“I know how to do this,” Biden said.
The crowd at Mitchell International was sparse, limited to about 50 people spaced out in a hangar, all wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. High-profile guests included Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas and US Rep. Gwen Moore. Others included educators, students, a local entrepreneur, and a nurse.
A couple hours north, the scene was entirely different as Trump delivered remarks in Green Bay, home to one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the country currently. (His speech there was previously scheduled for earlier in October, but it was canceled after he was diagnosed with coronavirus and soon thereafter hospitalized with a severe case.)
Thousands of people, many without masks, packed into grandstands at Austin Straubel International Airport for the president’s speech, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.
Doctors with the Committee to Protect Medicare held a press call before Trump’s arrival begging him to cancel his rally, as they have done in advance of his other recent visits to Wisconsin hotspots.
Trump again told the falsehood that the United States is “rounding the turn” even as Brown County recorded 1,400 new COVID-19 cases and a dozen deaths since the start of the work week.
MILWAUKEE – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was in Wisconsin on Friday, Oct. 30 — for a private meeting at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport.
Biden said the president has waved the white flag and has given up when it comes to the pandemic.
The former vice president, who wore a mask throughout the event, said he has a plan to fight the virus without shutting down the economy. He called for mask mandates and increased testing.
Biden also promised to protect the health care system and bring down the price of prescription drugs.
Although he is running as a Democrat, Biden said he will govern as an American and that he needs Wisconsin voters to put him in the White House.
“I believe you can use your power. Your power to vote and change the course of this country and it starts here in Wisconsin,” Biden said.