President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Saturday hit on themes of decency in their remarks to the nation after being declared the winners of the 2020 election.
Speaking to a cheering crowd at a drive-in rally in Delaware, Biden said he would be a president for all Americans, not just his supporters.
Biden reiterated his campaign message of seeking to “restore the soul of America,” after a divisive four years under President Trump, and called on the nation to move on from “this grim era of demonization.”
“I sought this office to restore the soul of America to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class, and to make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home. It’s the honor of my lifetime that so many millions of Americans have voted for that vision," Biden said.
He noted the spontaneous celebrations that broke out in cities across America Saturday afternoon after news organizations declared him the winner of the 2020 election around midday.
“Tonight, we’re seeing all over this nation...indeed across the world, an outpouring of joy, of hope, a renewed faith in tomorrow, to bring a better day,” Biden said. “And I’m humbled by the trust and confidence you’ve placed in me.”
Biden also had a message for supporters of President Trump, asking for their support and urging calm from all sides.
“I understand the disappointment tonight. 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,” he said.
“We have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies,” Biden added. “They are Americans.”
He called on all Americans to reach for strength to face the challenges ahead.
“America has called upon us to marshal the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, to marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope and the great battles of our time, the battle to control the virus, the battle to build prosperity, the battle to secure your family’s healthcare, the battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country," he said.
In remarks introducing Biden, Harris said that the American people had protected democracy in the 2020 election, and vowed to work to build a better future amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“America’s democracy is not guaranteed. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it, to guard it and never take it for granted,” Harris said. “And protecting our democracy takes struggle, takes sacrifice, but there is joy in it."
Harris made note of her historic accomplishment as the first woman and first woman of color to win the vice presidency. She credited her mother, an immigrant from India, and other women who blazed the trail before her, in getting her to where she is today.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities. And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent a you clear message," she said. “Dream with ambition. Lead with conviction. And see yourselves in a way that others may not, simply because they never because they’ve never seen it before. But know that we will applaud you every step of the way.”
Biden clinched the White House over Trump Saturday with a victory in Pennsylvania, the state where he was born. He later added Nevada to his column for a total of 290 electoral votes with three states uncalled.
The outdoor stage in Wilmington featured projections of the Biden-Harris logo, colored lights and a line of towering American flags.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.