WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden delivered a celebratory message but one of healing and unity in his first remarks Saturday following a bitter and divisive battle for the presidency.
“America has always been shaped by inflections points, by moments in time we’ve made hard decisions about who we are what we want to be,” Biden said outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, where cheers and the horns from hundreds of cars could be heard between his words. “Folks, we stand at an inflection point.”
His remarks came as President Donald Trump continues to contest the results of the cliffhanger election, arguing without evidence that hundreds of thousands of votes are in question. His address, in addition to setting the tone for a Biden transition and presidency, was a symbol that the Democrat was working to move the nation past the contentious election.
“Folks, the people of this nation have spoken,” Biden said, kicking off his 15-minute victory speech. “They’ve delivered a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for we the people.”
Biden to Trump supporters: ‘Let’s give each other a chance’
Calling it a “time to heal in America,” Biden promised to restore a spirit of civility, decency and compromise to the White House. He said it is part of an election “mandate from the American people,” setting a different tone from the tumultuous and divisive four years under Trump.
Biden also made a direct appeal to Trump supporters, some of whom protested the former vice president’s election win Saturday outside statehouses across the country.
”For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment,” Biden said empathetically. “I’ve lost a couple of times myself. But now let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again.”
He stuck to his campaign’s core message to the end, telling Americans he will seek to “restore the soul of this nation.” He pledged to be a president who “seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, but only the United States.”
“Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end — here and now,” Biden said. “The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision. It’s a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate.”
Harris, first woman elected VP, calls US a ‘country of possibilities’
Biden spoke hours after he crossed 270 electoral votes Saturday morning. Clinching a win in Pennsylvania put him over the top four days after Election Day as officials in several states continued to count a record volume of mail-in ballots cast during the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden, 77, the oldest president the country has elected, was introduced by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, wearing all white in nod to the suffragist movement. The first female vice president, Harris said she wouldn’t be the last.
“Every little girl that’s watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” said Harris, who will also become the first African American and South Asian American vice president.
“For four years, you marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives and for our planet,” said Harris, a U.S. senator from California. “And then you voted. And you delivered a clear message. You chose hope and unity, decency and science and, yes, truth.”
She gave a nod to the work that Black women specifically have put into this nation’s democracy. Black voters, particularly Black women, helped pushed Biden’s victory in the primary and onto victory to the White House.
“Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all,” she said, “including the Black women who are often, too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy.”