Former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech Thursday night accepting the Democratic nomination for president.

Former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech Thursday night accepting the Democratic nomination for president. Andrew Harnik/AP

Biden Pledges to Lead Empathetic Government, Rely on Experts

Democratic presidential nominee says he will not muzzle scientific experts and will allow them to share with Americans the “honest, unvarnished truth.”

Joe Biden on Thursday promised to lead a government full of empathy as he accepted the Democratic nomination for president, saying his first task would be to solve the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

In a speech delivered from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., he vowed to rely on experts, promising to “take the muzzle off” of them so the American public could receive the “honest, unvarnished truth.” Americans “can deal with that,” he said.

Speaking more generally about the role of government, Biden said as president he would lead a government empathetic to the needs of the citizenry. The former vice president said he would confront four crises as his top priorities: the pandemic, the resulting economic fallout, calls for racial justice and the threat of climate change. He unveiled specifics primarily on how he would respond to coronavirus, saying he would deploy a national strategy that included rapid testing, listening to experts and a national mask mandate that would be presented as a patriotic duty rather than a burden.

He criticized President Trump for leading the “worst performance of any nation on Earth.” While Biden did not mention the federal workforce specifically, he did promise to empower labor unions. In quoting his father, he said the government need not solve every problem but it should understand them. 

The Democratic nominee said he would use the force of the military when necessary, vowing to “defend us from every attack, seen and unseen.” His son, Beau, "served our nation in uniform. A decorated Iraq war veteran," Biden noted. "So I take very personally the profound responsibility of serving as commander in chief." In a video leading up to his speech, various speakers celebrated his commitment to military spouses and his work leading the Recovery Act under President Obama. 

Biden did not mention the Postal Service by name, as his running mate Kamala Harris did in her speech on Wednesday, but vowed to confront any threats to voting access.  

Biden’s speech wrapped up the Democratic National Convention. The Republicans will follow next week.