Former Vice President Joe Biden delivered an address on Tuesday that many are calling the best speech of his campaign so far. He spoke for just 25 minutes and didn’t mention President Donald Trump‘s name once.
Biden gave the speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, site of perhaps the most famous battle of the American Civil War and where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic Gettysburg Address.
Biden quoted Lincoln’s opening line and drew on the 19th century Republican’s rhetoric in comments that warned of dangers to the country but also struck a positive note.
“He [Lincoln] taught us this: A house divided could not stand. That is a great and timeless truth,” Biden said.
“Today, once again, we’re at a house divided. But that, my friends, can no longer be. We are facing too many crises, we have too much work to do, we have too bright a future to have it shipwrecked on the shores of anger and hate and division.
“The country is in a dangerous place. Our trust in each other is ebbing. Hope seems elusive,” he said. Biden made what appeared to be references to the president without saying his name.
“Too many Americans seek not to overcome our divisions, but to deepen them,” he said. “We must seek not to build walls, but bridges. We must seek not to have our fists clinched but our arms open. We have to seek not to tear each other apart. We have to seek to come together.”
The Democratic nominee reiterated his campaign line that this election is a fight for the soul of the nation. He’s made similar remarks before, including during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on August 20.
“Today we’re engaged once again in a battle for the soul of the nation, the forces of darkness, the forces of division, the forces of yesterday are pulling us apart, holding us down and holding us back. We must free ourselves of all of them,” Biden said.
Biden also addressed the COVID-19 pandemic. He wore a mask to the podium and held it in his hand while he spoke. The crowd at Gettysburg was also socially distanced.
“Wearing a mask is not a political statement, it’s a scientific recommendation. Social distancing isn’t a political statement, it’s a scientific recommendation,” he said.
“We can be so much better. We can be better starting today,” Biden said, urging a national strategy for tackling the virus that puts politics aside in favor of saving lives.
“It’s a virus. It’s not a political weapon,” he said.