Nov 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden: "This is the time to heal in America"

Joe Biden delivers his victory speech
Biden gives his victory speech in Wilmington, Del. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden said "this is the time to heal in America" and called on the nation to come together to get the coronavirus under control, address systemic racism, confront climate change and "restore decency."

Driving the news: Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris addressed the nation Saturday night at a drive-in style rally in Wilmington, Del., hours after news networks projected Biden as the winner of the U.S. presidential election.

  • The milestone comes exactly 48 years after Biden was first elected to the U.S. Senate.
  • He served 36 years as senator from Delaware before his two terms as Barack Obama's vice president.
  • Biden, who turns 78 on Nov. 20, will be the oldest president to be sworn in.

Details: Biden, in a black face mask, jogged to the outdoor podium at the Chase Center at 8:39 pm Eastern, bumping fists with Harris before speaking. He warned Harris and her husband, "You’ve become an honorary Biden; there’s no way out."

  • Biden thanked Black Americans for making his victory possible and pledged: "You've always had my back — and I'll have yours."
  • He thanked poll workers and election officials for their work amid the pandemic.
  • He addressed President Trump's supporters directly, saying he understood their disappointment and imploring, "Let's give each other a chance."

Biden said Americans have given him a mandate with an expectation he will renew cooperation across partisan lines, "defeat despair" and restore "the soul of America."

  • "I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but to unify, who doesn’t see red states or blue states but the United States."
  • He said it is time for America's "better angels" to prevail over its "darkest impulses."

Behind the scenes: The outdoor rally at the Chase Center was one of the largest crowds they have addressed in a campaign shaped by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Attendees wore face masks and waved American flags.
  • Admission was capped to those who could fit into about 360 automobiles permitted onto the site — though the crowd size appeared to number well over 1000.

What they're saying: “In my mind, it’s a crystallization of the fact that over four years of tumult we are saying this is not who we are —  and this is who we want to be,” said Javon Lee, a 23-year-old Black man from Wilmington.

  • “Things have gotten a lot more dodgy in current times under Trump, but this is the way we’re showing we’re going to move forward. That Biden is right to unite America and help us as African Americans to progress further than we have before.”

The other side: President Trump has not conceded the race. On Twitter Saturday, he claimed falsely, "I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT," alleged elections violations without evidence and vowed to fight in court.

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