Yesterday, Joe Biden wrote an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel making his closing argument to the people of Wisconsin and outlining his vision to bring America together and build back better. Vice President Biden discussed his conversation from April with Monica Watry — a Milwaukee ICU nurse on the front lines of the pandemic — and his comprehensive plan to beat the virus, support workers, and help Wisconsin’s economy recover. Read more below:
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Americans are resilient and hopeful. They need a president who has respect for the job, and them
By Vice President Joe Biden
This past April, I spoke with Monica Watry, an ICU nurse in Milwaukee who has spent this year risking her life to save the patients in her hospital. The work, she told me, has taken a toll — made worse by the shortage of personal protective equipment we’ve seen across the country. Day after day after day, Monica was forced to wear the same mask while treating infected patients.
“It’s a lot of death at work,” she told me, “and I’m worried about the health care professionals’ mental health when this is over.”
Her kids are worried, too. Every time the phone rings, Monica’s 10-year-old daughter cries and asks her to stay home. But Monica knows she can’t do that. As she told me: “My job is to go to work and help people who are sick.”
That’s the resilience and sense of purpose that defines Wisconsin — that defines America — especially in tough times. If only the president had the same respect for his job that Monica has for hers — because across this state, too many people are suffering due to his failed leadership.
Nearly 215,000 Wisconsinites have been infected with COVID-19, with cases surging again right now. More than 1,900 have died. And about a quarter of small businesses in the state have shuttered.
Meanwhile, the 100 richest people in America have made more than $300 billion since the start of this year, as ordinary folks, wondering how they’re going to pay rent or put food on the table, have been forced to ask: “Who’s looking out for me?”
Worst of all, it didn’t have to be this way.
Back in February, the president knew this disease was a very serious risk for us. He knew how dangerous it was. But he didn’t tell the American people. Instead, he lied to us. Think about the damage that caused. Think about the empty chairs around dinner tables. Think about all the folks who lost jobs and lined up at food pantries.
And now, he’s given up on even pretending to do his job. The day before we crossed the threshold of 200,000 American deaths, Trump held a rally and claimed that the virus “affects virtually nobody.” Who exactly was he talking about when he said that? Seniors, who have been unable to hug their grandkids for months? Black and brown Americans, who have been dying from this disease at disproportionate rates?
When President Trump was asked about the fact that 1,000 Americans are dying from COVID-19 every day, he said, “it is what it is.”
It is what it is because he is who he is.
The sad truth is that President Trump only sees the world from Park Avenue. He thinks Wall Street built this country. He looks down on guys like me, who grew up in places where people make a living with their hands.
I see the world very differently than President Trump. I see it from my hometown of Scranton, Pa. I know that working people built this country, and I measure our economic success by what families actually need.
That’s why Sen. Kamala Harris and I will make sure that as we recover from this pandemic, we don’t just try to get back to where we were before — we will build back better. President Trump has accused me of wanting to listen to scientists. For once, he’s absolutely right. My plan starts by listening to what they have to say and getting the virus under control. We will make testing free, quick, and available. We’ll make treatment free, too. And as soon as we have a safe and effective vaccine, we will ensure everyone can get it without having to pay a dime.
To rebuild our economy, I will make big corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share. With the help of that revenue, we’ll not only protect Social Security and Medicare, we’ll create millions of good-paying jobs in manufacturing, technology, and clean energy — because we need to make sure our future is Made in America. And I will not raise taxes on anyone who makes less than $400,000 a year. Period.
I know that American farmers and workers can out-compete anyone — but their government needs to fight for them. In my administration, when we need to build or purchase, we’ll buy from American companies creating American jobs, including ones in Wisconsin, because we need to lead by example.
That’s why we’ll end tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas. We’ll give folks a hard-earned raise by passing a $15 federal minimum wage. We’ll lower the cost of health care. We’ll make education beyond high school more affordable. And, we’ll make an unprecedented investment in the infrastructure of care in our country — making child care more affordable and accessible for working families, and making it easier for aging relatives and people with disabilities to have quality, affordable care inside or outside the home.
All told, an independent analysis put out by Moody’s Analytics projects that my economic plan, if enacted, would create 7 million more jobs and lead to $1 trillion more in economic growth than what the president has proposed.
And yet, even so, I know that this election is about so much more than policy details.
The character of this country is on the ballot. It’s been a tough year — a tough four years.
Kamala and I will work every day to bind up our wounds and start bringing this country back together. We’ll govern as American leaders. We’ll work as hard for those who don’t support us as for those who do. That’s the job of a president: to care for everyone, just as folks like Monica do every single day.
If you agree with the idea that there’s more than brings us together than divides us, I am asking you to vote for me on or before Nov. 3. Go to IWillVote.com/WI and make a plan to cast your ballot early in person now.
Because together, we can do more than just win an election. We can begin to restore the soul of this nation we love.
Joe Biden is the former vice president of the United States and the Democratic candidate for president.