Biden addressed the country Saturday night for the first time as president-elect of the United States, after succeeding in his decades-long quest to win the White House.
Around 8:40 p.m., Biden jogged onto the stage outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., and peered out onto the raucous parking lot, where people cheered, waved American flags and honked their car horns.
“Folks, the people of this nation have spoken. They’ve delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for we, the people,” Biden said.
He spent a good portion of the beginning of his speech shouting out his family — especially his wife, Jill Biden. He also thanked local elected officials and volunteers who worked the polls in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
“You deserve a special thanks from the entire nation,” Biden said.
Biden was proud, he added, of the coalition he had built on the way to his win, one that included “Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservatives, young, old, urban, suburban, rural, gay, straight, transgender, White, Latino, Asian, Native American.” But he reserved his final and deepest thanks to the African American community who “especially in those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb . . . stood up again for me.”
Biden said he would govern as a president for all Americans and extended a hand to those who had supported Trump.
“I understand the disappointment tonight. I’ve lost a couple of times myself,” Biden said, nodding to his two previous failed presidential runs. “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. And to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They’re Americans.”
Biden closed by saying he would announce on Monday a group of scientists and experts as transition advisers who would help him tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Without that, he said, the country could not repair the economy.
He also spoke about what he believed his administration’s mandate to be.
“America called upon us to marshal the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, to marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time: the battle to control the virus, the battle to build prosperity, the battle to secure your family’s health care,” Biden said. “The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country, the battle to save our planet by getting climate under control, the battle to restore decency, defend democracy and give everybody in this country a fair shot.”