President-elect Joe Biden declared it was “time to heal” a deeply divided America in his first speech after prevailing on Saturday in a bitter election, even as President Donald Trump refused to concede and pressed ahead with legal fights against the outcome.
Biden’s victory in the battleground state of Pennsylvania put him over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes he needed to clinch the presidency, ending four days of nail-biting suspense and sending his supporters into the streets of major cities in celebration.
“The people of this nation have spoken. They have delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory,” Biden told honking and cheering supporters in a parking lot in his home town of Wilmington, Delaware.
The Democrat pledged that as president he would seek to unify the country and “marshal the forces of decency” to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, rebuild economic prosperity, secure healthcare for American families and root out systemic racism.
Without addressing his Republican rival, Biden spoke directly to the 70 million Americans who cast ballots in support of Trump, some of whom took to the streets on Saturday to demonstrate against the results.
“For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight. I’ve lost a couple 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 said.
He also thanked Black voters, saying that even at his campaign’s lowest moments, the African American community had stood up for him. “They always have my back, and I’ll have yours,” he said.
Biden was introduced by his running mate, US Senator Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman, the first Black American and the first American of Asian descent to serve as vice president, the country’s No. 2 office.
“What a testament it is to Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country, and select a woman as his vice president,” Harris said.