Thursday, August 17, 2023

Remarks by President Biden at a Campaign Reception | Salt Lake City, UT

August 10, 2023

Private Residence
Salt Lake City, Utah

THE PRESIDENT: Please, please sit down. Thank you. Well, first of all, you know, I had forgotten about that incident. It was the time when there was a lot of discussion going on in the administration: would we recognize same-sex marriage.

And I was rai- — I was a lucky man. I was raised by a father who was a — thought everyone was entitled to be treated with dignity. I remember when I was — I hadn’t thought about this a long time. I remember when I was a kid, I — I was a lifeguard at a country club, but I wanted to — I was — got deeply involved in the Civil Rights Movement. And so, I wanted to work in what they called “The Bucket,” which was a public housing complex — a large complex on the east side of Wilmington — and — which was all African American.

And they had the — like all big cities, they had three major swimming pools. One on the east side, which is where they — a thousand African American kids a day would come and swim in this big pool. And I wanted to be a lifeguard there. 

And so, my dad, on the way to work, would drop me off at the city hall to go in and get my — my application for being the employee — the only white lifeguard that — well, not at the time, but I was the only — I wasn’t applying to be the only white — I just happened to be the only white lifeguard.

And it’s in what they call Rodney Square. If any of you have any little corporations in Delaware — there’s more corporations in Delaware than every other state in America combined, not a joke. And the fact is that it was a great corporate entity at the time: Rodney Square. There was the DuPont Building, the Hercules Building, and other major buildings around that square.

So I was getting out of the car to go into the city hall. And these two well-dressed men leaned over and kissed one another. And I’d never seen that before.

I turned and looked at my dad. And I just looked at him. He said, “Joey, it’s simple. They love each other. It’s simple.” And so, I got lucky, the kind of dad I had.

And these two little kids, when we walked into this home were — when I was talking to them, they said, “I want you to meet my daddy and my mommy,” and they were two men. And I watched how they loved both those kids and how the kids loved them.

And I told Barack, at the time, that I wasn’t going to go out and — and make it a campaign issue beforehand. But if anybody asked me, I wasn’t going to be silent. No one had asked me. (Laughs.) No one ever doubts I mean what I say — I mean when I say; sometimes I say all that I mean.

And so, I got on the show, and the first question he asked me was that question. I was persona non grata with everyone but Barack for a while because it was thought to be a political liability...

[In his wide-ranging speech starting with comments on some-sex marriage (above), Biden spoke on various issues and themes, covering education, infrastructure, the economy, and finally, China (below).]

And we have China to deal with.  And China is a ticking time-bomb in many cases But it is — I’m the only one — now people are beginning to agree: China is in trouble.  China was growing at 8 percent a year to maintain growth — and now closer to 2 percent a year. 

China finds itself in a position where it’s — it’s — it has the highest unemployment rate going. It’s in a position where it’s — the number of — the number of people who are of retirement age is larger than the number of people of working age. So, they got some problems. That’s not good because when bad folks have problems, they do bad things.

So — but my point is: managing China and managing that relationship.  And I’ve spent more time with Xi Jinping than any world leader has.  They’ve kept every — they keep tabs of all of it — 68 hours of personally — just he and I with an interpreter each — and another 15 hours on Zoom. 

And this is a guy who is a — who I think I understand. And this is a guy who — we’re not looking for a fight with China. But we’re looking for a rationale relat- — a rational relationship to have with China.

I don’t want to hurt China. But in the meantime, I watched what China was doing. So I put together a thing called the Quad. We brought together as an alliance India, Japan, Australia, and the United States. We put ourselves in a position where now we have the Philippines and, soon, Vietnam and Cambodia wanting to be part of a relationship with us because they’re — they don’t want to — they don’t want to have a defense alliance, but they want relationships because they want China to know that they’re not alone.

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