Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called for national unity while delivering remarks at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, as he disavowed political division in the grueling final weeks leading up to the November presidential election.
Biden began his speech by arguing that “there’s no more fitting place” than the Civil War battlefield to discuss “the cost of division.”
“And how much it has cost America, in the past, but how much it is costing us now,” Biden said. “And about why I believe at this moment, we must come together as a nation.”
Biden then invoked former President Abraham Lincoln as he urged the country against remaining “a house divided.”
“Today, once again, we are a house divided. That, my friends, can no longer be. We are facing too many crises. We have too much work to do,” Biden said.
This year alone, the nation has suffered more than 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, which has wiped out millions of jobs and forced untold businesses to shutter.
“We have too bright a future to leave it shipwrecked on the shoals of anger and hate and division,” Biden said.
Biden also urged the end of “unrelenting partisan warfare” before nodding to protests against racial injustice in the wake of incidences of police brutality against Black people, such as George Floyd in Minneapolis and Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“I think about what it takes for a Black person to love America,” Biden said, after quoting remarks by Floyd’s daughter, Blake’s mother and Los Angeles Clippers basketball coach Doc Rivers expressing injustice. “That is a deep love for this country that has for far too long never been recognized.”
Biden turned his focus to the COVID-19 pandemic later in his speech. Without directly mentioning President Trump, the Democratic presidential nominee urged the public against politicizing COVID-19.
“Wearing a mask is not a political statement, it’s a scientific recommendation,” Biden said. “Social distancing isn’t a political statement, it’s a scientific recommendation. Testing, tracing, the development and approval and distribution of a vaccine isn’t a political statement.”
During their first presidential debate last week, Trump mocked Biden for wearing “the biggest mask I’ve ever seen” even when the former vice president is practicing social distancing.
But Biden used his speech Tuesday to emphasize that the COVID-19 pandemic “isn’t a red or blue state issue.”
“It affects us all and can take anyone’s life,” Biden said. “It’s a virus. It’s not a political weapon.”
Biden concluded his remarks with a call to “end this era of division.”
“You and I are part of a covenant, a common story of divisions overcome and hope renewed. If we do our part, if we stand together, if we keep faith of the past and with each other, the divisions of our time will give way to dreams of a a better and brighter future,” Biden said. “This is our work. This is our pledge, this is our mission. We can end this era of division. We can end the hate and the fear.”
Shortly after Biden’s speech concluded, President Trump weighed in on the state where Biden appeared, expressing concern over his sinking poll numbers in Pennsylvania.
How does Biden lead in Pennsylvania Polls when he is against Fracking (JOBS!), 2nd Amendment and Religion? Fake Polls. I will win Pennsylvania!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2020