In his first of two events of the day, Biden spoke from a resort on a mountaintop in Warm Springs, Georgia, close to where President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought treatment for polio and maintained a private retreat during his time in the White House.
Biden selected the location “to talk about the need to heal our nation,” according to his prepared remarks, and reflected on three intertwining crises: the health crisis caused by the coronavirus, the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic and the months of protests over racial injustice.
“These are all historic, painful crises. The insidious virus. Economic anguish Systemic discrimination. Any one of them could have rocked a nation,” he said. “Yet we’ve been hit by all three at once. But if we’re honest with ourselves, the pain striking at the heart of our country goes back not months, but years.”
Biden acknowledged the “divisions in our country are getting wider,” but struck an optimistic note.
“I tell you this from my heart. I believe in an America of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division. Of love, not hate,” he said.
The Democratic nominee also criticized White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who said on Sunday that the U.S. is “not going to control the pandemic.” Biden called his comments a “capitulation, a waving of the white flag.”
“It’s a window into a shocking truth about this White House. They never even tried,” he continued. “I’m here to tell you we can and will get control of this virus. As president, I will never wave the white flag of surrender.”
Biden said he selected Warm Springs because it’s “a reminder that though broken, each of us can be healed. That as a people and a country, we can overcome a devastating virus. That we can heal a suffering world. That yes, we can restore our soul and save our country.”