Joe Biden Gives First Speech After Winning the Presidential Election

On Saturday, November 7—four days after Election Day and exactly 48 years after Joe Biden was first elected to the U.S. Senate—it was officially announced that Biden and Kamala Harris will be the next president and vice president of the United States.

In the end, the two received the most votes ever cast for a U.S. presidential ticket, an especially impressive feat when you consider the election occurred in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country,” Biden tweeted. “The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans—whether you voted for me or not.”

He then addressed the American people in Wilmington, Delaware for his first speech as president-elect.

“This is a time to heal in America. Now this campaign is over. What is the will of the people? What is our mandate? I believe it’s this: Americans have 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 healthcare. The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country. The battle to save our planet by getting the climate under control. The battle to restore decency, defend democracy, to give everybody in this country a fair shot. That’s all they’re asking for. A fair shot,” he said in a wide-ranging speech that touched on coronavirus, racial injustice, climate change, and bringing the country together.

Hello, my fellow Americans and the people who brought me to the dance, Delawarians. I see my buddy Senator Tom Carper down there and I think Senator Coons is there, and I think the governor’s around. Is that Ruth Ann? And former Governor Ruth Ann Minner. And most importantly, my sisters in law, my sister, Valerie. Anyway, folks, the people of this nation have spoken. They’ve delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for we the people. We’ve won with the most votes ever cast for a presidential ticket in the history of the nation—74 million.

What I must admit has surprised me, tonight, we are seeing all over this nation, all cities and all parts of the country, indeed across the world, an outpouring of joy, of hope, renewed faith in tomorrow to bring a better day. And I’m humbled by the trust and confidence you’ve placed in me. I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states or blue states, only sees the United States. I’ll work with all my heart, with the confidence of the whole people, to win the confidence of all of you, and for that is what America, I believe, is about. It’s about people, and that’s what our administration will be all about. 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, and now the work of making that vision is real. It’s a task, the task, of our time.

Folks, as I said many times before, I’m Jill’s husband, and I would not be here without the love and tireless support of Jill and my son Hunter and Ashley, my daughter, and all our grandchildren, and their spouses, and all our family. They’re in my heart. Jill’s a mom, a military mom, an educator. She’s dedicated her life to education, but teaching isn’t just what she does, it’s who she is. For American educators, this is a great day for you all. You’re gonna have one of your own in the White House, and Jill’s gonna make a great first lady; I’m so proud of her.

I’ll have the honor of serving with a fantastic vice president, you just heard from, Kamala Harris. She makes history as the first woman, the first woman from South Asian descent, the first daughter of immigrants ever elected in this country. Don’t tell me it’s not possible in the United States. It’s long overdue, and we’re reminded tonight of those who fought so hard for so many years to make this happen, but once again, America’s bent the arc of the moral universe more toward justice. Kamala, Doug, like it or not, you’re family. You’re going to become an honorary Biden; there’s no way out. For all those of you who volunteered to work the polls in the middle of the pandemic, local elected officials, you deserve a special thanks from the entire nation. My campaign team and all the volunteers and all who gave so much of themselves to make this moment possible, I owe you. I owe you everything. And all those who supported us, I’m proud of the campaign we built and ran, I’m proud of the coalition we put together. The broadest and most diverse coalition in history. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, progressives, moderates, conservatives, young, old, urban, suburban, rural, gay, straight, transgender, white, Latina, Asian, Native American. I mean it. Especially in those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb, the African American community stood up again for me. You’ve always had my back. I said at the outset, I wanted to represent this campaign to represent and look like America. We’ve done that. Now that’s what the administration can look like and act like.

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, and to make progress. We have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies; they are Americans. They are Americans. The Bible tells us to everything there is a season: A time to build, a time to reap and a time to sow, and a time to heal. This is a time to heal in America. Now this campaign is over. What is the will of the people? What is our mandate? I believe it’s this: Americans have 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 healthcare. The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country. The battle to save our planet by getting the climate under control. The battle to restore decency, defend democracy, to give everybody in this country a fair shot. That’s all they’re asking for. A fair shot. Folks, our work begins with getting COVID under control.

We cannot endure the economy, restore our vitality or relish life’s most precious moments: Hugging our grandchildren, our children, on birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us, until we get it under control. On Monday, I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors to help take the Biden/Harris COVID plan and convert it into an action blueprint that will start on January 20, 2021. That plan will be built on bedrock science, it will be constructed out of compassion, empathy and concern. I will spare no effort—none—or any commitment to turn around this pandemic.

Folks, I’m a proud Democrat, and I will govern as an American president. I’ll work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did. Let this grim era of demonization in America begin and end here and now. Refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another. It’s not some mysterious force beyond our control: it’s a decision, a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate, and I believe that this is part of the mandate given to us and the American people. They want us to cooperate in their interest, and that’s the choice I’ll make. And I’ll call on Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, to make that choice with me.

The American story is about slowly yet steadily widening the opportunities in America. And make no mistake, too many dreams have been deferred too long. We must make the promise of the country real for everybody, no matter their race, their identity, or their disability. Folks, America has always been shaped by inflection points, by moments in time where we made hard decisions about who we are and what we want to be. Lincoln, in 1860, coming to save the union, FDR in 1932, promising a beleaguered country a new deal. JFK, in 1960, pledging a new frontier, and 12 years ago, when Barack Obama made history, he told us ‘Yes we can.’ Folks, we stand at an inflection point. We have an opportunity to defeat despair, to build a nation of prosperity and purpose. We can do it, I know we can. I’ve long talked about the battle for the soul of America. We must restore the soul of America. Our nation is shaped by the constant battle between our better angels and our darkest impulses, and what presidents say in this battle matters. It’s time for our better angels to prevail. Tonight, the whole world is watching America, and I believe at our best America is a beacon for the globe. We will lead, not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. I’ve always believed—many have heard me say—I’ve always believed we can define America by one word: Possibilities. That, in America, everyone should be given the opportunity to go as far as their dreams and God-given ability will take them. I believe in the possibilities in this country.

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