South Carolina State University
Orangeburg, South Carolina 

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  All right.  Can we hear it for South Carolina State’s Drumline?  (Applause.)

Good afternoon, everyone.  Good afternoon.

Can we please applaud Karrington for her inspiration, for her excellence?  (Applause.)  And thank you for that introduction.

Thank you, thank you.

And, of course, it is good to be with so many extraordinary leaders, including Jaime Harrison — I want to thank him — a son of South Carolina — (applause) — and the head of the National Democratic Party.

And, of course, Assistant Leader Jim Clyburn.  Listen, I — I don’t need to tell South Carolina what a powerful leader Jim Clyburn is.  And he always speaks the truth with courage and with conviction, and he is truly one of the closest advisors and friends to President Joe Biden and me.

Leader Clyburn, thank you for all you are and all you do.  (Applause.) 

And it is so wonderful to be back in this beautiful state.  This is my third trip to South Carolina just since the beginning of the year and my ninth trip to the state as Vice President.  And, of course, there were many trips that I have taken to be here and visit with you before.

And in 2020, it was South Carolina that put President Joe Biden and me on the path to the White House.  (Applause.)

In 2020, in the height of an historic pandemic, in the midst of so much loss and uncertainty, the people of South Carolina showed up to vote.  You convinced your friends and your family members and neighbors and coworkers of the power of their vote and the power they have when they show up to vote.

And it is because of that work that Joe Biden is President of the United States and I am the first woman and first Black woman to be Vice President of the United States.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And an auntie.  (Laughs.)

In 2020, you sent us to the White House because, frankly, we had some business to handle. (Applause.)

In 2020, South Carolina said, “We need to take on the issue of high-speed Internet.”  For years, I have spoken with leaders from Hemingway to Lower Richland to here in Orangeburg about the urgent need for high-speed Internet — in particular for rural communities, where students have had to go to the public library just to submit their homework on the Wi-Fi.

Because you voted in 2020, President Biden and I are connecting every person in America with high-speed Internet, including more than 100,000 families right here in South Carolina.  (Applause.)

In 2020, you said, “We need to do more to help folks struggling with student loan debt” — the young couples who worry that they will never be able to buy a home or start a family because of their student loans, the mothers who work two and three jobs just to keep up with their monthly payments.

And so, because you voted in 2020, President Biden and I have canceled more than $136 billion in student loan debt — (applause) — for more than three and a half million Americans.  

And although the Republicans in Congress refuse to work with us to cancel more debt, we will not be deterred.  President Biden and I will keep fighting for relief from student loan debt. 

South Carolina, in 2020, you said — as you just heard, I say it often — “HBCUs are centers of academic excellence” — (applause) — “and we must do more to support them.”  They don’t have the kinds of endowments that some other schools have, although they produce leaders of our country and our world.

So, as a proud HBCU graduate, I made sure we invested more than $7 billion in HBCUs across our nation — (applause) — including nearly $60 million for the students right here at South Carolina State — (applause) — to help them pay for textbooks and laptops and rent.

In 2020, you told us, “We need to lower healthcare costs, especially for insulin for our seniors.”

In fact, raise your hand if you have a family member with diabetes.  Right.

For too many years, too many of our seniors had to make the choice of either filling their prescription or filling their refrigerator. 

But because you voted, President Biden and I took on Big Pharma and we capped the cost of insulin for our seniors at $35 a month.  (Applause.)  And we capped the entire cost of prescription medication to $2,000 a year.

So, this is just some of what we have accomplished since we took office.

Over the past three years, President Biden and I have lowered costs, created opportunity, and are building an economy that works for working people.

We have created more than 14 and a half million new jobs, increased wages for tens of millions of Americans.  Today, consumer confidence is up and consumer spending is an all-time high.

And although we have more work to do, let us be clear: America’s economy continues to be the strongest in the world.  (Applause.)

So, it all comes down to this.  President Biden and I are guided by a fundamental belief: We work for you, the American people.  And every day, we fight for you.

Sadly, however, that is not true for everyone.  Case in point: Donald Trump.

Former President Trump has made clear time and time again his fight is not for the people.  He fights for himself.

He openly talks about his intention to weaponize the Department of Justice.  He openly says that he is, quote, “proud,” that he overturned Roe v. Wade — proud that he took the freedom of choice from millions of American women.

For years, the former President has stoked the fires of hate and bigotry and racism and xenophobia for his own power and political gain.  He accused immigrants of, quote, “poisoning the blood of our country.”  And after neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville, he said there were, quote, “very fine people on both sides.”

The former President openly talks about his admiration for dictators and has vowed that he will be a dictator on “day one.” 

Understand what dictators do.  Dictators put journalists in jail.  Dictators suspend elections.  Dictators take your rights.

And as the great Maya Angelou once said, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.”  Well, the former President has told us who he is.  And it is on us, then, to recognize the profound threat he poses to our democracy and to our freedoms.

And let us recognize: There are extremists across our country who have been inspired, encouraged, and even cowered by the former President.

In this moment, just look at states across our country where we witness a full-on attack on hard-fought, hard-won freedoms and rights: the freedom to vote, the freedom to be safe from the horror of gun violence, the freedom to live without fear of hate or bigotry, the freedom to be who you are and love who you love openly and with pride, the freedom to learn and acknowledge our nation’s true and full history, and the freedom of a woman to make decisions about her own body and not have the government telling her what to do.  (Applause.) 

And on that point, I know all of us are clear.  One does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling her what to do with her body.  (Applause.)

So, across our nations — across our nation, fundamental freedoms are at stake.  And understand, and I say this in particular to the students, it does not have to be this way.  It does not have to be this way.

When we win majorities in the United States Congress and when Congress passes a bill that reinstates the protections of Roe v. Wade, President Joe Biden will sign it.  (Applause.)

When we win majorities in Congress, President Biden will sign into law an assault weapons ban.  He will sign into law the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act.  (Applause.)  And he will sign into law the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.  (Applause.)

On these issues and so many more, who sits in the White House — it matters.

And in this election, we each — each one of us, we face a question: What kind of country do we want to live in?  We each face that question.  What kind of country do we want to live in?

Do we want to live in a country of liberty, freedom, and rule of law or a country of disorder, fear, and hate?  We face a choice: cruelty or compassion?  Chaos or competence?  Division or unity?

Each of us has the power to answer these questions on a daily basis — and, South Carolina, tomorrow at the ballot box.  (Applause.)  Because tomorrow, of course, is Primary Day here in South Carolina.  It’s on a Saturday this year.

And, South Carolina, you are the first primary in the nation.  And President Biden and I are counting on you.  We are counting on you.  (Applause.)

We are counting on you to vote and to get everyone you know to vote; to send out text messages, to knock on doors, and to make your voices heard.

So, in conclusion, then, I ask: Are you ready to make your voices heard?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!  (Applause.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Do we believe in freedom? 


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Do we believe in democracy?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!  (Applause.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Do we believe in opportunity for all? 


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And are we ready to fight for it?


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And when we fight, we win.

God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Thank you, all.  (Applause.) 

Thank you.  Thank you.


Stay Connected

Sign Up

We'll be in touch with the latest information on how President Biden and his administration are working for the American people, as well as ways you can get involved and help our country build back better.

Opt in to send and receive text messages from President Biden.

Scroll to Top Scroll to Top