Detroit Metropolitan Airport
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It was a good day in Detroit, and it’s always great to be back here. We had some very important conversations. Obviously, one was about voting and what we know is happening around the country and the concern that people have around the country about an active effort to suppress the vote.
And so, we had a long conversation about that with community leaders and people who have been working on the ground to remind voters, to remind people that their voice is important and that they are at risk of having a legislative bodies impede their right to vote if we don’t stand up and understand what’s happening, see it for what it is, and then, obviously, be more engaged.
On the issue of vaccinations, I’m very concerned — in many parts of our country, including in Michigan, that we still have so many folks who have not been vaccinated. So the point of the trip also was to just remind people that vaccines are safe, they’re free, and they’ll save lives.
I’ve begun to talk more about also the significance of just looking at the facts, which is that, when people are hospitalized, the vast majority of people who are in the hospital right now for COVID-19 are unvaccinated. The vast majority of people we’ve been seeing dying from COVID-19 — unvaccinated.
And so, we’re going to continue to push out the message that the vaccine will save your life. Not only that, you know, I — it’s “love thy neighbor.” You all heard me talk about that, but also “love your family.”
When we know that getting vaccinated means that you are very, very, very — almost ensured that you will not be hospitalized or die from COVID-19, why wouldn’t you do that on the one hand, versus, on the other hand, risking contracting this virus so that your family and your friends will have to sit by your bedside in a hospital or, worse yet, mourn your loss. Like, let’s not do that to family and friends. Let’s think about this in the context of the loss that occurs because of this virus.
So that was the conversation of today. And, of course, I’ll come back to Detroit and to Michigan; it’s an important state for many reasons.
Q Madam Vice President, how do you signal to activists on the ground the importance of voting rights, given the current debate about the filibuster and not changing it or not modifying it?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s trips like this — I’ve been traveling around the country, talking to folks on the ground — activists — to hear from them about what’s actually happening on the ground — how it’s playing out.
There’s so much work that we will do and are committed to doing that’s about everything from supporting the legislation in Washington, D.C. — the two bills — of course, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and For the People Act.
But it is also about making and increasing awareness for folks about what’s happening in their states. Again, I applaud the effort of the Texas legislators who are standing in the way of a blatant attempt to suppress the vote.
There’s also the piece that is about about increasing voter engagement and, eventually and even now, that’s going to be about voter registration. There’s the piece that’s about voter protection. And we are working on all fronts.
This will require a multilateral approach to the issue, which is everything from what people are doing around litigation, to legislation, to organizing, community building — all of that. And — and there are going to be many phases to this approach.
Q Will you meet with the Texas legislators if they come to D.C.?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don’t know. I’ve been here. But I’ll keep you posted.