Biden celebrates ‘independence from COVID’ in White House speech

President Joe Biden commemorated the Fourth of July by lauding Americans’ ‘independence from COVID-19’ and promised a ‘bright future’ as he pushed for the unvaccinated to get the jab.

‘America is coming back together,’ the president said during his address from the South Lawn of the White House.

‘Today we’re closer than ever to declaring our independence from the deadly virus,’ Biden said, but struck a serious tone as he warned that there is still a far way to go.

‘Just as our declaration in 1776 was not a call to action – was a call to action… the same is true today. Back then, we had the power of an idea on our side. Today we have the power of science,’ he added.

As Biden made his remarks, he was faced with the reality of missing two big goals in the vaccination efforts – getting 160 million Americans fully vaccinated and making sure 70 per cent of adults received at least one dose by July 4, 2021.

Biden repeated his claim that getting the jab is ‘the most patriotic thing’ an American can do. 

Joe Biden celebrated 'independence from COVID-19 ' during his July 4th speech from the White House on Sunday despite the U.S. missing his goal of getting 70 per cent of Americans at least one shot by the mid-summer holiday

Joe Biden celebrated 'independence from COVID-19 ' during his July 4th speech from the White House on Sunday despite the U.S. missing his goal of getting 70 per cent of Americans at least one shot by the mid-summer holiday

Joe Biden celebrated ‘independence from COVID-19 ‘ during his July 4th speech from the White House on Sunday despite the U.S. missing his goal of getting 70 per cent of Americans at least one shot by the mid-summer holiday

Biden told the hundreds of first responders and military family members gathered for the July 4 celebration the getting vaccinated is the 'most patriotic thing' an American can do

Biden told the hundreds of first responders and military family members gathered for the July 4 celebration the getting vaccinated is the 'most patriotic thing' an American can do

Biden told the hundreds of first responders and military family members gathered for the July 4 celebration the getting vaccinated is the ‘most patriotic thing’ an American can do 

Jill and Joe enjoy the fireworks display from the first-floor balcony, underneath the Truman balcony on the south side of the White House, with granddaughters Finnegan (left) and Naomi (right)

Jill and Joe enjoy the fireworks display from the first-floor balcony, underneath the Truman balcony on the south side of the White House, with granddaughters Finnegan (left) and Naomi (right)

Jill and Joe enjoy the fireworks display from the first-floor balcony, underneath the Truman balcony on the south side of the White House, with granddaughters Finnegan (left) and Naomi (right)








‘Today, we celebrate America. Our freedom, our liberty, our independence. The Fourth of July is a sacred day in our country. A day of history, of hope, remembrance and resolve, of promise and possibilities,’ Biden began in remarks celebrating the holiday. 

Biden arrived back in Washington D.C. from a short trip to Wilmington, Delaware on Sunday afternoon. Joining him on the flight were first lady Jill Biden, granddaughter Finnegan Biden, 21, and her friend.

Biden’s daughter Ashely and granddaughter Naomi, the daughter of Hunter Biden, also joined the president and first lady for the White House festivities on Sunday. 

Ahead of the annual fireworks show, the president hosted a BBQ on the South Lawn of the White House with first responders and military families.

‘It’s the greatest honor to serve as your commander in chief. Thank you for your service and sacrifice,’ the president told the gathered service members.

Biden also highlighted the importance of democracy, saying: ‘Each day we’re reminded there’s nothing guaranteed about our democracy.’ 

'Today we're closer than ever to declaring our independence from the deadly virus,' Biden said, but struck a serious tone as he warned that there is still a far way to go

'Today we're closer than ever to declaring our independence from the deadly virus,' Biden said, but struck a serious tone as he warned that there is still a far way to go

‘Today we’re closer than ever to declaring our independence from the deadly virus,’ Biden said, but struck a serious tone as he warned that there is still a far way to go 

Ashley Biden gives her father Joe Biden a kiss on the cheek as they watch fireworks from the White House on July 4, 2021

Ashley Biden gives her father Joe Biden a kiss on the cheek as they watch fireworks from the White House on July 4, 2021

Ashley Biden gives her father Joe Biden a kiss on the cheek as they watch fireworks from the White House on July 4, 2021

Selfie time: The president mingles with attendees at his July 4 celebration and takes a selfie with a woman standing to meet him in the South Lawn

Selfie time: The president mingles with attendees at his July 4 celebration and takes a selfie with a woman standing to meet him in the South Lawn

Selfie time: The president mingles with attendees at his July 4 celebration and takes a selfie with a woman standing to meet him in the South Lawn

The four presidential mascots who do a race ins jest at every National's baseball game in Washington, D.C. raced around the South Lawn before snapping a picture with the president. Teddy (second from left) broke his losing streak and won the race

The four presidential mascots who do a race ins jest at every National's baseball game in Washington, D.C. raced around the South Lawn before snapping a picture with the president. Teddy (second from left) broke his losing streak and won the race

The four presidential mascots who do a race ins jest at every National’s baseball game in Washington, D.C. raced around the South Lawn before snapping a picture with the president. Teddy (second from left) broke his losing streak and won the race 








‘AMERICA’S BACK TOGETHER’

The theme of the night at the White House was ‘America’s Back Together’, and celebrated a return to normalcy with the creation and distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

Biden vowed when becoming president that Americans would be able to celebrate Independence Day as usual – and he praised his administration during the speech Sunday for delivering on that promise.

Some criticized the White House for going forward with its usual massive South Lawn celebration with variants – like the Delta variant – surging.

Jill Biden took to the band-stand stage at the far-side of the lawn after her husband’s remarks and repeated the sentiment: ‘America’s back together.’

‘We’re emerging from the darkness of years – a year of pandemics, isolation. A year of pain, fear and heartbreaking loss,’ Biden said in his remarks. ‘Think back to where we were a year ago, and think about how far we’ve come.’

He talks about how fans are able to go to their favorite sports events again and families are able to hug one another after a year of being apart.

Biden took this moment to laude economic growth, claiming ‘businesses are opening and hiring’ and there’s ‘record job creation.’

At the onset of the pandemic, a record number of Americans lost their jobs or were furloughed. This led to a series of social programs in form of economic stimulus packages that gave out direct checks and provided boosted unemployment.

Critics claim these programs, expanded under Biden, led to an unenthusiastic American workforce that doesn’t want to return to the office or place or work – instead opting to collect checks.

BIDEN THANKS FRONT-LINE WORKERS

Invited to the BBQ at the White House were the usual slew of military members and their families, a group typically represented during White House July 4 celebrations.

The president paid homage to front-line workers who face particular stresses at their jobs during the last year of the pandemic. Biden’s call-out included thanking researchers, educators and health care workers.

‘While the virus hasn’t been vanquished, we know this – it no longer controls our lives, it no longer paralyzes our nation, and it’s within our power to make sure it never does again.’

And for that,’ he continued, ‘we thank the scientists, the researchers, the educators, all the other frontline essential workers, like many of you here today.’ 

Biden watches fireworks over the National Mall from the White House with Beau's daughter Finnegan (hugging him from behind), Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi (center) and his daughter Ashely (right)

Biden watches fireworks over the National Mall from the White House with Beau's daughter Finnegan (hugging him from behind), Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi (center) and his daughter Ashely (right)

Biden watches fireworks over the National Mall from the White House with Beau’s daughter Finnegan (hugging him from behind), Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi (center) and his daughter Ashely (right)

CIVIL RIGHTS

During his speech, Biden also touched on some progressive agenda items, including the For the People voting rights act that has had trouble garnering Republican support in Congress and failed to overcome a Senate filibuster last month.

The president said Americans have ‘the right to vote and have that vote counted’, which garnered a loud cheer from the hundreds gathered on the South Lawn.

Democrats claim that the American voting system is systematically racist and tries to stifle the black vote by making it harder for poorer communities to cast their ballot.

Biden sympathized with civil rights activists, saying that American hasn’t fully lived up to its creed that ‘all men are created equal.’

After quoting that part of the Declaration of Independence, Biden said: ‘Well we’ve never fully lived up to those words.’

‘We’ve never given up on them,’ he added. 

VACCINE PUSH

Despite the celebratory occasion, the president reflected on the over 600,000 lives lost from the virus’, and continued to push for the rest of Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Biden set a goal to get 70 per cent of Americans at least one dose of the vaccine against coronavirus and for 160 million to be fully inoculated by July 4, 2021 – and the administration fell short of both. Only 67% of adults across America have received one dose of the vaccine by the holiday.

‘The best defense against these variants – you get vaccinated,’ Biden whispered the second part into the microphone and was met with a loud cheer from the mask-less audience.

‘My fellow Americans, it’s the most patriotic thing you can do,’ the president so.

He urged: ‘So please, if you haven’t gotten vaccinated, do it – do it now. For yourself, for your loved ones, for your community.’

President Joe Biden (left) departs Air Force One ahead of his July 4 speech with granddaughter Finnegan Biden, her friend (far right) and first lady Jill Biden in tow

President Joe Biden (left) departs Air Force One ahead of his July 4 speech with granddaughter Finnegan Biden, her friend (far right) and first lady Jill Biden in tow

President Joe Biden (left) departs Air Force One ahead of his July 4 speech with granddaughter Finnegan Biden, her friend (far right) and first lady Jill Biden in tow

Earlier on Sunday, a White House official said that Biden will use the celebration to mark the country’s progress in its pandemic response. 

‘Thanks to his whole-of-government approach and the strength of the American people,’ the official continued, ‘vaccinations continue to rise and cases and deaths have fallen by more than 90 per cent since January.’

‘Because of this, Americans across the country are able to celebrate this Fourth of July together.’

‘He will note that, while we’ve made strong progress against the virus in the United States, the job is far from over,’ the White House official said of Biden’s upcoming speech. ‘He will urge every American to join the fight—to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated—and reiterate his Administration’s redoubled efforts to boost vaccinations.’ 

Back to normal: People gather on the National Mall for the 245th Anniversary of the U.S. declaring independence from Britain. The CDC recommends vaccinated Americans can gather normally without fear of a super spreader

Back to normal: People gather on the National Mall for the 245th Anniversary of the U.S. declaring independence from Britain. The CDC recommends vaccinated Americans can gather normally without fear of a super spreader

Back to normal: People gather on the National Mall for the 245th Anniversary of the U.S. declaring independence from Britain. The CDC recommends vaccinated Americans can gather normally without fear of a super spreader 

A group of women from Ohio dance outside the White House on July 4

A group of women from Ohio dance outside the White House on July 4

A group of women from Ohio dance outside the White House on July 4 

The president started his Independence Day with a trip to church in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware .

He emerged from St. Joseph on the Brandywine on Sunday morning and was pictured walking through the cemetery, where his son Beau Biden is buried.

Jill Biden, who is usually alongside her husband for church services, was not pictured with him this Sunday. Instead, she was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania attending and speaking at the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony in front of Independence Hall.

Biden spends the majority of his weekends away from Washington in Wilmington, where he is usually pictured attending Catholic mass once – sometime twice – during his two-day stay.  

The first couple departed from Wilmington on Sunday afternoon to head back to Washington, D.C. for a July 4 celebration at the White House. 

Biden, a devout Catholic, spent his Independence Day morning attending mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware

Biden, a devout Catholic, spent his Independence Day morning attending mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware

First lady Jill Biden was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania speaking at the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony in front of Independence Hall on July 4 morning

First lady Jill Biden was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania speaking at the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony in front of Independence Hall on July 4 morning

Biden, a devout Catholic, spent his Independence Day morning attending mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. First lady Jill Biden was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania speaking at the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony in front of Independence Hall








The president will make remarks to mark Independence Day, but the White House notes it will also be a speech celebrating ‘independence from COVID-19’. 

Essential workers and military families are invited to the Fourth of July BBQ at the White House ahead of Biden’s remarks – despite concerns of the Delta variant.

‘The President will thank the military families and essential workers who are attending the event for their sacrifices for our country, especially during the pandemic,’ the official said. ‘And he’ll reflect on the progress our nation has made to live up to our founding ideals, and the work still to be done.’

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients defended the celebration to ABC News. 

‘The event at the White House is being done in the right way,’ he said, assuring it is being conducted ‘consistent with CDC guidelines.’ 

Biden and First Lady Jill will then view the annual fireworks display over the National Mall from the White House.

Vice President Kamala Harris is spending her holiday at her home in Los Angeles, California. 

After church, Biden played a round of golf at Wilmington Country Club with former Senator Ted Kaufman. Pictures are the two departing the course on July 4, 2021

After church, Biden played a round of golf at Wilmington Country Club with former Senator Ted Kaufman. Pictures are the two departing the course on July 4, 2021

After church, Biden played a round of golf at Wilmington Country Club with former Senator Ted Kaufman. Pictures are the two departing the course on July 4, 2021

Before heading back to D.C., Biden stopped by Wilmington Country Club for a round of golf with former Senator Ted Kaufman. 

Ahead of the holiday, Biden’s administration has lauded their vaccine push and insisted that celebrating July 4 in the traditional way is safe again – as long as all the people engaging in the festivities have received the jab.

However, the U.S. missed Biden’s goal of getting 160 million Americans fully immunized by the mid-summer holiday. He also wanted at least 70 per cent of adults to have received at least one shot by July 4, 2021, a second vaccine goal that was not reached.

Zients, who succeeded Dr. Deborah Birx, said the failure could be due to young people who were made eligible for the vaccine much later than adults. 

He also told ABC’s This Week on Sunday that this demographic has ‘felt less vulnerable to the disease.’

‘We made a lot of progress,’ Zients praised in a separate interview with CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning. ‘I think we’re much further along than anyone would have anticipated at this point.’








Joe Biden’s Fourth of July speech in full: ‘Today the virus has not been vanquished. But it no longer controls our lives, and no longer paralyzes our nation’

President Joe Biden uses his Fourth of July speech to declare the US close to independence from COVID-19 despite missing 70% vaccination goal

President Joe Biden uses his Fourth of July speech to declare the US close to independence from COVID-19 despite missing 70% vaccination goal

President Joe Biden uses his Fourth of July speech to declare the US close to independence from COVID-19 despite missing 70% vaccination goal

Today we celebrate America. Freedom, our liberty, our independence. The Fourth of July, today of history, hope, remembrance and resolve with promise and possibilities. Before me stands monuments of the greatest and the goodness of our nation – monuments of light and liberty. 

There is a towering memorial of George Washington. A general who led our revolution, the president who set our nation on its course. There’s a memorial for Thomas Jefferson, whose words about liberty and equality literally changed the world. And across the tidal basin, from the Jefferson memorial, there stands Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his arms crossed, his eyes fixed ahead toward the promise land where equality is not only an aspiration but a reality.

They help define who we are. Guide what we do. Remind us of the work that history has given us in our own time.

This year, the Fourth of July, is a special celebration for we are emerging from the darkness of a year of pandemic and isolation, a year of pain, fear and heartbreaking loss. Just think back to where this nation was a year ago, think back to where you were a year ago. 

Think about how far we’ve come. From silent streets to crowded parade routes with people waving the American flag. From empty stadiums and arenas to fans back in their seats, cheering together again. From families, pressing hands against windows, to grandparents hugging their children once again. We’re back traveling again. We’re back seeing each other again. Businesses are opening entirely. We’re seeing record job creation, and record economic growth, the best in four decades, and I might add, the best in the world.

Today all across this nation, we could say with confidence, America is coming back together.

245 years ago we declared our independence from a distant king. Today we’re closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus. That is not to say the battle against Covid-19 is over, we’ve got a lot more work to do. But just as our declaration of 1776 was a call to action, not a reason for complacency, or a claim to victory, it was a call to action. The same is true today. Back then we had the power of an idea on our side, today the power of science. 

Thanks to our heroic vaccine effort, we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus. We can live our lives, our kids can go back to school, our economy is roaring back. Don’t get me wrong. Covid-19 has not been vanquished. We all know powerful variants have emerged like the Delta variant. But the best defence against the virus is to get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. The most patriotic thing you can do, please, if you have not gotten vaccinated, do it, do it now. For yourself. For your loved ones. For your community. For your country. You know, that is how we’ll stay ahead of this variant. 

'Today we're closer than ever to declaring our independence from the deadly virus,' Biden said, but struck a serious tone as he warned that there is still a far way to go

'Today we're closer than ever to declaring our independence from the deadly virus,' Biden said, but struck a serious tone as he warned that there is still a far way to go

‘Today we’re closer than ever to declaring our independence from the deadly virus,’ Biden said, but struck a serious tone as he warned that there is still a far way to go 

We never again want to be where we were a year ago today. So today, while the virus hasn’t been vanquished. We know this – it no longer controls our lives, it no longer paralyzes a nation. We have the power to make sure it never happens again. For that, we can thank the scientists and researchers, the educators, and all the frontline workers, like many of you here today who became the light to see us through the darkness.

I hope you know that you, the American people, have been part of one of most remarkable achievements in American history. But in this moment of joy, weknow that this day falls hard on those who lost a loved one. 

Each day I carry in a card in my pocket with my schedule on it. On the back of that card, I have the number of Americans who lost their lives. As of tonight, that number is 603,018. They’re mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, neighbors, coworkers.

We also remember all those who lost this year, families that have lost to other causes of death and cruel twists of fate. They too left behind loved ones unable to grieve, mourn, closure. Those of you who have been through all this, you have to remember. We commit to always remember them. 

I’ve long said America is unique. Unlike every other nation on Earth, we were founded on an idea. We hold these truths to be self evident that all people are created equal and have right, among them, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And while we have never fully lived up to the words but we never give up on them. They continue to animate us and remind us at our best, we as Americans believe in honand dignity. treat everyone with dignity and respect, giving hate no safe harbor. And leaving no one behind. We lead by the power of our example, not the example of our power. And we are part of something so much bigger than ourselves. We stand as a beacon to the world. It’s a code uniquely American, it’s who we are.

Biden told the hundreds of first responders and military family members gathered for the July 4 celebration the getting vaccinated is the 'most patriotic thing' an American can do

Biden told the hundreds of first responders and military family members gathered for the July 4 celebration the getting vaccinated is the 'most patriotic thing' an American can do

Biden told the hundreds of first responders and military family members gathered for the July 4 celebration the getting vaccinated is the ‘most patriotic thing’ an American can do 

Selfie time: The president mingles with attendees at his July 4 celebration and takes a selfie with a woman standing to meet him in the South Lawn

Selfie time: The president mingles with attendees at his July 4 celebration and takes a selfie with a woman standing to meet him in the South Lawn

Selfie time: The president mingles with attendees at his July 4 celebration and takes a selfie with a woman standing to meet him in the South Lawn

All of the servicemen and women here tonight, all of you serving around the world, it’s the greatest honor to serve as your commander in chief. Jill and I and our entire family, thank you for your service and sacrifice. Like so many military families, thinking of loved ones who served, we think of our son Beau today. You’re all part of a long chain of patriots who pledged their lives and their sacred honor in defense of this nation and democracy around the world. For freedom and fair play, for peace and security and opportunity. For the cause of justice, for the soul of America itself. 

The defence of all that we love doesn’t fall on your shoulders alone. It falls on every one of us, every American. Each day we are reminded of there’s nothing guaranteed about our democracy, nothing guaranteed about our way of life. We have to fight for it, defend it, earn it. Folks, it’s up to all of us to protect the right to life, liberty and justice. The right to equal law and the right to vote and have that vote counted. The right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and know our children and grandchildren are safe on this planet for generations to come. The right to rise in this world as far as your God-given talent can take you. Unlimited by barriers of privilege or power. 

One of the great gifts of spirit of Independence is the capacity to see ourselves whole and see ourselves honestly – what we’ve got right, what we’ve got wrong. It’s a measure of the greatness of America, of a  a nation. We are a great nation. We don’t seek to bury the wrongs. We face it. We make it right. History tells us when we stand together, when we unite in common causes, when we see ourselves not as Republicans or Democrats, there is simply no limit to what we can achieve. Today we see the results of unity and purpose.

Together we are beating the virus. Together we are breathing life into our economy.  Together we will rescue our people from division and despair. But together we must do it. 

Over the past year, we have lived through some of our darkest days. Now I truly believe, we’re about to see our brightest future. Folks, this is a special nation, a great nation, no matter your race or ethnicity or gender or faith.

And there is a timeless truth about America. The most powerful idea in the history of the world, in the hearts of the people of this country. It beats in all of our hearts, no matter your gender or ethnicity or your gender or sexual orientation, no matter your disability, no matter your faith. It beats in the hearts of rich and poor alike, it unites America, whether your ancestors were native to the land or forced here as slaves, or immigrants generations back like my family who came from Ireland, or you are coming here today looking to build a better life for your family, like our fellow Americans that I just swore in, in the White House two days ago. The American creed. We use that phrase, the American creed. We all know that phrase, it was written a long time ago. But the genius is every generation of Americans has expanded it wider and wider to include those who were excluded before. That’s why it’s never gathered dust in our history books, it’s still alive today. Alive in our hearts, alive in the work of our hands. Alive not only in the history we read but the history we are making. 

Jill and Joe enjoy the fireworks display from the first-floor balcony, underneath the Truman balcony on the south side of the White House, with granddaughters Finnegan (left) and Naomi (right)

Jill and Joe enjoy the fireworks display from the first-floor balcony, underneath the Truman balcony on the south side of the White House, with granddaughters Finnegan (left) and Naomi (right)

Jill and Joe enjoy the fireworks display from the first-floor balcony, underneath the Truman balcony on the south side of the White House, with granddaughters Finnegan (left) and Naomi (right)

My fellow Americans, now we’re the guardians of the idea of America, it is up to us to save it, to preserve it, to build on it. And I know we will. On this sacred day, I look out to those monuments on our National Mall, and beyond them to the hearts of the people across the land, I know this – it’s never ever been a good bet to bet against America, never. 

We just need to remember who we are. We are the United States of America. There is nothing, nothing we can’t do if we do it together. 

Happy Fourth of July America. God bless you all. May God protect our troops.

 

 

 

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