Full text of Michelle Obama’s ‘closing argument’ speech where she makes a final argument for Americans to support Joe Biden. The speech was premiered on October 6, 2020.
Michelle Obama – Former First Lady of the United States
Believe it or not, the election is right around the corner. Votes are already being cast. And if you’re still deciding who to vote for or whether to vote at all, I wanted to take a moment to remind you what’s at stake and to urge you to make a plan to vote today.
Because let’s be honest, right now our country is in chaos because of a president who isn’t up to the job. If we want to regain any kind of stability, we’ve got to ensure that every eligible voter is informed and engaged in this election.
Because the stakes are on display every day, not just in the headlines, but in our families. If you’re a parent like me, you’re feeling the consequences of this president’s failure to take this pandemic seriously. From his constant downplaying of the importance of masks and social distancing, to his relentless pressure on schools to open without offering a clear plan or meaningful support to keep students and teachers safe.
Look, our daughters are in college now, and luckily, they’re taking classes from home this semester. But in just a few weeks since schools have resumed, many of their friends who returned to campus have either tested positive or are living with someone who has.
Yes, it’s anecdotal, of course, and everybody wants their kids back in school as soon as it’s safe. But as a mom, it is frightening thinking about all these young people who were just our babies yesterday, quarantined alone in dorms or apartments with little or no support as the disease continues to spread, unable to come home if their symptoms get worse.
Just imagine the toll that worry is taking on families across this country. Yes, thankfully there’s some relief in knowing that most cases in young people are mild and I pray every day that no one faces longer-term consequences to this disease.
But the truth is we just don’t know yet, and we simply cannot trust this president to tell us the truth about anything.
Meanwhile, parents with younger kids are dealing with another set of stresses, from grade-schoolers who want to learn but struggle to connect with their teacher through a screen, to schools that open and close with little advance notice, leaving everyone in an endless cycle of uncertainty.
Too many parents are still juggling two jobs and multiple kids without any support, not to mention the millions of families anxious about making rent or getting internet access or affording childcare.
It’s painful to think that months into this crisis, this is still where we are with no clear plan, no peace of mind. And the worst part is it didn’t have to be like this.
Look around the world. So many other countries aren’t experiencing this level of extended suffering and uncertainty. These countries were hit by the same viruses we were. They have the same kind of resources to contain it as we did, but what they didn’t have to contend with was this president. A man who had every resource at his disposal, the finest medical experts, our best intelligence, and yet ignored all the advice and failed to produce a plan to provide enough tests for worried families or protective equipment for our healthcare workers.
A man who knew how deadly this virus is, but who lied to us and told us it would just disappear. Who in the greatest crisis of our lifetimes doubled down on division and resentment, railed against measures that could have mitigated the damage and continues to hold massive events without requiring masks or social distancing, knowingly exposing his own supporters to a dangerous virus.
Today, more Americans have died from this virus than died in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and Korea combined. Take all those lives bravely sacrificed and double it. That is roughly the scale of this tragedy and our Commander-in-Chief, sadly, has been missing in action and his willful mismanagement of the COVID crisis is just one example of his negligence.
When wildfires rage out west, he says nothing for weeks. When Americans of all backgrounds peacefully protest racism and police violence, he disparages them, yet eggs on heavily armed militias. When our heroic young men and women answer the call and give their lives for our country, he calls them suckers and losers and publicly mocks Gold Star families and prisoners of war. All this from someone who, as a wealthy, connected young man avoided military service.
With millions and millions of Americans left reeling from the worst job losses in recent history, with small businesses closing their doors for good, he and his party dragged their feet to provide necessary relief for people whose lives have been decimated under his watch.
Seven months later, he still doesn’t have a plan for this virus. Seven months later, he still won’t wear a mask consistently and encourage others to do the same, even when those simple actions could save countless lives. Instead, he continues to gaslight the American people by acting like this pandemic is not a real threat.
And yet, even in the face of all this incompetence, Americans keep digging deeper, finding new reserves of strength, doing whatever it takes to get through this. That’s one of the beautiful things that has given me hope over the past four years, our country’s resilience. From the essential workers keeping us safe, to the doctors and nurses caring for our loved ones, to the teachers and childcare workers doing everything they can for our kids.
Americans have stepped up to answer the call. It’s not too much to ask our leaders to rise to the occasion as well.
Thankfully, we have the chance to elect a president who can meet this moment, a leader who has the character and the experience to put an end to this chaos, start solving these problems and help lighten the load for families all across the country, and that leader is Joe Biden.
After seeing the presidency up close for eight years, maybe the most important thing I’ve learned about the job is this: how a president focuses their time and energy in office is a direct reflection of the life they’ve lived before entering the White House.
A president’s policies are a direct reflection of their values and we’re seeing that truth on display with our current president who has devoted his life to enriching himself, his family and other wealthy people he truly understands, cutting taxes for the rich and big corporations, cutting regulations that protect regular families from getting taken advantage of by people like him, cutting his friends loose from prison time.
He boasts about gains in the stock market, but when you look at the lives of regular folks, whether it’s creating blue-collar jobs, making healthcare more affordable, protecting the environment, keeping our family safe from gun violence, let alone the coronavirus, there’s nothing much to brag about.
By contrast, Joe Biden has lived his life guided by values and principles that mirror ones that most Americans can recognize. I know Joe. He is a good man who understands the struggles of everyday folks. When he was a kid, his dad lost his job. His family had to move to find work.
As a young man, he quit his job at a lucrative law firm to serve as a public defender protecting the rights of those who couldn’t defend themselves. He continued to serve this country, even in the face of unimaginable tragedy, losing his wife and baby daughter, later in his life, his eldest son. Relying on his deep faith in God to carry him through, never growing cynical and always willing to see the humanity in us all.
It is that spirit, that determination that will make Joe the kind of president we need right now, one who will continue to put the needs of the country before his own to ensure that all families can get back on their feet and our economy can get back on track.