Remarks by President Biden at Equal Pay Day Celebrating Women’s History Month

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Remarks by President Biden at Equal Pay Day Celebrating Women's History Month

Remarks by President Biden at Equal Pay Day Celebrating Women’s History Month


6:01 PM ET

THE PRESIDENT: Well, hello everyone. Welcome to the White House. This was the biggest crowd we’ve had since we got here. (applause.)

I’m Joe Biden. I’m Jill Biden’s husband. (Applause.) And proud of it.

Welcome to the Women’s History Month celebration. We are proud to host our most inspiring event at the White House to date.

I have often said that American strength is not just an example of our strength, but the strength of our example. I mean. Look at — I’d say: look at this stage, but that’s enough. Look at this stage. (Laughter.) But with the first lady’s husband contracting the coronavirus, the arrangements on stage changed a bit.

But look at this room and what you see.

FIRST LADY: (Inaudible.)


FIRST LADY: You’re talking about the first lady — whatever. (laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Exactly. she’s fine. (Laughter) I’m not together.

Second Pull – First Gentleman. (Laughter) How about that.

In any case, an incredible group of congressmen led by the first female speaker, Nancy Pelosi — (applause) — I believe she will be considered the greatest speaker in our history one. I mean. (applause.)

She knew I was serious. I have said this for many years.

and the most diverse cabinet in the nation’s history. (Applause.) The first to have equal numbers of women and men in the cabinet. (applause.)

I’m incredibly proud of this team. One person I’m especially proud of — and I’m about to introduce — is Kamala Harris. But Kamala — (Applause) — as I said, Kamala chose not to take the risk because her husband had Covid-19, even though I was told he was feeling fine.

And, by the way, when he tested – he was fine, but out of an abundance of caution she decided not to join us today. But let’s send our love to her because she’s another story. (applause.)

I know how proud she is of our team:

Avril Haines – The first woman to lead our intelligence community as Director of National Intelligence. (Applause.) Stand up, Avril. hurry up. stand up. Everything she does is secret. That’s why she didn’t want to stand up.

Jennifer Granholm, former Governor of the Department of Energy. (Applause.) I joke with her a lot — when I’m seeking nominations, I’m not joking. If she was born in America, she would be standing here and I would be sitting there. (Laughter) She’s a former Michigan governor. Michigan. Incorrect. She’s the ex — she’s the governor. (Laughter) No, I’m joking. But we often joke about it.

And Isabel Guzman of the Small Business Administration. Where are you? (applause.)

U.S. Trade Representative Kathryn Day. She knows how to make a deal. (applause.)

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There is also Cece Rouse, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. (applause.)

Some members are not here today as they travel on behalf of the government:

Jale – Janet Yellen, the first female Treasury Secretary. (applause.)

Deb Haaland, the first Native American in the Cabinet to serve as Secretary of the Interior. (applause.)

Former Governor Gina Raimondo leads the Commerce Department. (applause.)

Marcia Fudge, Housing and Urban Development. (applause.)

If I steal any more congressmen, I’m in real trouble with Nancy. (laughter.)

And Saranda Young, who just confirmed — (applause) — just a few minutes ago. Where is she? Saranda, stand up. Where is Saranda? where – where are you? She- where is she?

I guess she’s not- well. Leads the Office of Management and Budget.

And Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenhouse — Greenfield, sorry — who has done an incredible job for us at the United Nations. (applause.)

Not just the cabinet. At every level of the White House and administration, we have women in senior positions, many of whom are here today.

I am very proud: I kept my promise to nominate the first black woman to the Supreme Court. (Applause.) And she’s really good.

That’s not all. We have identified more black women to the Circuit Court of Appeals than successive administrations combined. (Applause.) In fact, 75 percent of my judicial nominees are women. (applause.)

This is important. This is important.

Most importantly, we see the strength of each of you in the example they actually give to the entire country.

You know, I want to thank all of you for being here — at home and to all who helped me — helping governments around the world.

It — which included the first lady’s special guests — and Iceland’s first lady, Eliza Reed. Eliza, where are you? (Applause.) Stand up. Give her a big hand. (applause.)

She is a true champion of gender equality. We had a long and pleasant chat.

Women’s History Month is an opportunity to honor the legacy, vision and achievements of the pioneering women and girls who built, shaped and strengthened this nation’s character – the character of this nation.

Despite hardship, exclusion, and discrimination, women are fighting for their rights—winning the vote, fighting injustice, breaking down countless barriers, and expanding possibilities for all Americans. I think you underestimate everything you do.

They came to us, they are all here – and today from all over the country, especially all those who have lived through this pandemic – frontline workers and service personnel, researchers and teachers – (applause) – nursing personnel, community leaders.

Today, I am honored to be with some of the greatest football players in the world who happen to be women — (applause) — the U.S. Women’s National Team, past and present.

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Please — if I may ask you, please come on stage.

I was going to make them stand, but if they were standing, you wouldn’t be able to see them anyway because everyone else was standing.

It’s — they won the World Cup, Olympic gold — gold, and, you know, because — after a long, long time, equal pay. (Applause.) Equal pay for equal work.

Today is Equal Pay Day. (Applause.) They just came from an event discussing our government’s efforts to close the pay gap. So thank you very much. (Applause.) By the way, you’re not only helping yourself, you’re helping us do this work for other women.

Miss. Cone: Thank you. Yes. That is (inaudible).

THE PRESIDENT: All right. Thank you. (applause.)

And, look, we’re doing this by expanding access to high-paying jobs and reducing the cost of childcare and eldercare so women can get back to work and their families can be financially secure.

Earlier today, I signed an executive order promoting efforts to achieve pay equity and pay equity for federal contractor employees. I hope this sets an example for all private companies as well. That’s what I’m doing this for. (applause.)

Let me end this: Gender equality isn’t just a women’s issue; it benefits everyone. This is a fact. It benefits everyone – our society, our economy and our country.

I hope you’ll be able to visit our wonderful exhibit downstairs celebrating Women’s History Month and the history of the American journey.

Back to Fer- Back in February, I was in Lorraine, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland, talking about a new infrastructure law that would transform our country. It was the day before Lorraine’s most famous birthday – one of her most famous daughters, Nobel, Pulitzer, Nobel – Nobel laureate, Pulitzer laureate, and Jill most One of my favorite writers is Toni Morrison. So is Tony—and the mother-in-law of Dr. Rouse, one of the top economic thinkers in our country.

Ms Morrison left us with words to rely on. “We have more yesterday than anyone. We need some kind of tomorrow,” she said. “We need some kind of tomorrow.”

Downstairs is an exhibit honoring Tony Morrison and a unique belief in tomorrow — a unique belief in America — where anything is possible.

Xi Jinping once asked me in China – how do I define America. I said yes. all in all. “God’s Truth – One Word: “Possibilities”. We believe that anything is possible in this country.

This unique power of example shows our daughters, our granddaughters, that there is nothing a man can do that a woman cannot do better or do better.

And, by the way, I can honestly say, don’t worry about contradictions: from the moment my daughter was born – our daughter was born – so, from the moment our four granddaughters were born – every day I Tell them there’s nothing they can’t listen to that they can’t do. I am from the heart. They are living proofs of this truth.

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I would now like to start talking about my granddaughters if I may. But— (laughter).

You know, especially the women I’ve been honored to introduce, they’ve been more influential and role models, and I think I’m lucky that they’ve been lucky enough to witness and be a part of that.

Then, let me introduce the First Lady of the United States. Before she shows up, I want you to know: everyone knows that I love her more than she loves me. (Laughter) I’m going to tell a story, Jill.

First Lady: No. (laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: I’m going to tell this story.

When we first got to the Office of the Vice President, you people in Washington know that you walk down the steps of the Eisenhower Building and you can see the Office of the Vice President. I think the windows are 16 feet tall with 12 large panes of glass, four of which go through the office. I think it’s four.

And – so, Jill’s favorite day of the year is – Valentine’s Day. So as a professor — a teacher — she’s still teaching full time — a teacher, she gets erasable paint that you can use. And she, at every window—every window—she had the maintenance guy pull up the ladder. In every window she had a big heart and she said, “Joe loves Jill.” (Laughter) Swear to God. in every window. (laughter.)

Well, my media guy came to me – because she did it at night and – she – the night before Valentine’s Day. He said, “Listen, they want you to go to CBS tomorrow morning and talk about Valentine’s Day. We think you should.” Now, her name — the interviewer is Juju Zhang. And Juju — we’re sitting in the vice president’s big office with all the curtains drawn, and in the dark, only the lights are on — you know, Klieg’s lights. Our knee to knee. When we were ready, Juju Zhang looked at me and said, “You know, everyone says you and your wife have a wonderful relationship.” I said, “I think so.” I said, “But everyone Know that I love her more than she loves me.” She looked me straight in the eyes – I assure you – and said, “That’s what they said.” (Laughter.)

Ladies and gentlemen, the love of my life and the love of my life: Jill. (applause.)

6:16 PM ET

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108 shares, 89 points