Joe Biden pledges to be a president ‘who seeks to unify’

By John Besley, PA
·4-min read

Joe Biden has pledged to be a president “who seeks not to divide, but to unify” in his maiden address as President-elect of the United States.

Speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, Mr Biden said his election win was a victory for “the people”.

He said: “The people of this nation have spoken. They’ve delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for you the people.

“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 to unify. Who doesn’t see red and blue states, only sees the United States. And who will work with all my heart to win the confidence of all of you, and for that, I believe, is what America is all about.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris took to the stage first, commencing the proceedings by reflecting on civil rights leader John Lewis.

She said: “Congressman John Lewis, before his passing, wrote ‘Democracy is not a state. It is an act’. And what he meant, was that 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.”

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

She continued: “Protecting our democracy takes struggle. It takes sacrifice. But there is joy in it. And there is progress.

“Because we the people have the power to build a better future. And when our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, the very soul of America at stake, the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America.”

Ms Harris also said she was thinking of her mother and “the generations of women, black women, Asian, white, Latina, native American women who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight”.

She added: “While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last.”

Mr Biden clinched victory after winning the key battleground of Pennsylvania on Saturday – some four days after polls closed – pushing him over the 270 electoral college votes threshold.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, speaking on Sunday, congratulated Mr Biden and Ms Harris and urged the two nations to work together on climate change, trade and international security, adding that there was “far more that unites” than divides the UK and the US.

“The United States is our closest and most important ally, and that has been the case president after president, prime minister after prime minister – it won’t change,” he told broadcasters.

Former president Barack Obama said he “could not be prouder” to congratulate Mr Biden and Ms Harris, while former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton hailed the pair as “a history-making ticket, a repudiation of Trump, and a new page for America”.

In his speech, Mr Biden made a point to reach out to those who voted for President Donald Trump as he called for an end to the “harsh rhetoric” that plagued the election campaign.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

He said: “For all those of you who voted for President Trump, 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, see each other again, listen to each other again.”

With coronavirus still surging throughout the country, Mr Biden said one of his priorities would be to tackle the pandemic.

He said: “We cannot repair the economy, restore our vitality, or relish life’s most precious moments – hugging a grandchild, birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us – until we get it under control.”

He closed his speech by calling on the nation to come together to “restore the soul of America”.

He said: “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.”

Trump
President Donald Trump plays a round of Golf at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia (Steve Helber/AP)

Meanwhile, a White House official said Donald Trump will “accept the results of a free and fair election”.

They added the Trump administration is following all statutory requirements that govern government transitions.