In his first speech after securing the White House, President-elect Joe Biden is making an appeal to supporters of President Donald Trump.
Biden said Saturday night in Delaware, that “this is the time to heal in America” and pledged to be a president to represent even those who didn’t support him. Noting, "I’ve lost a couple times myself," Biden said, "now, let’s give each other a chance."
Trump has not conceded the race to Biden, pursuing legal challenges over ballot counts in several states.
Biden said “it’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again,” saying of his political opponents, “they are not our enemies. They are Americans.”
Biden is pledging to be a president “who seeks not to divide but to unify.” He delivered his first remarks as president-elect at a victory party in Wilmington, after he was officially declared the winner of the presidential election on Saturday.
Biden jogged onto the stage wearing a black suit, black mask and light blue tie. He pointed and waved at the screaming crowd gathered to hear him speak.
Echoing his campaign stump speech, Biden promised to be a president who “doesn’t see red states or blue states, only sees the United States,” and said he would work “with all my heart” to win the confidence of all Americans.
Biden touted the fact that he’s won more votes than any presidential ticket in history, calling his win “a convincing victory, a victory for the people.” He also said he was “surprised” by seeing the celebrations and an “outpouring of joy” in the wake of his win nationwide.
“Once again, America’s bent the arc of the moral universe more toward justice,” Biden said.
His presidential campaign had announced that he and his wife, Jill, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff would appear at the drive-in rally outside the convention center in Wilmington.
Biden clinched the White House over Trump late Saturday morning 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.
Harris introduced Biden in their first appearances since winning the White House.
“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,” she said.
Harris said voters have “ushered in a new day for America.” She said voters chose hope, unity, decency, science and truth in choosing she and Biden over Trump.
Harris, the first woman to be elected vice president, wore a white pantsuit in tribute to women’s suffrage. She also opened her remarks with a tribute to the late Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a Civil Rights icon, who said democracy is not a state but an act. Harris will also be the first Black woman, and person of Asian descent, to serve as vice president.
Biden pledged to be a president serving all Americans. “For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight, I’ve lost a couple times myself. But now now let’s give each other a chance,” he said.
Hundreds of cars filled the parking lot outside the Wilmington convention center for the drive-in rally to celebrate Biden’s victory in the presidential race.
With temperatures mild Saturday night, more than 1,000 people sat on the roofs of their cars or milled around in small groups nearby, many cheering and waving American flags or Biden campaign signs. The smell of grilling meat hung in the air not unlike a football tailgate, and some of the attendees danced and sang, sweating through facemasks that appeared to be nearly universally worn.
Biden and Harris brought their entire families on-stage with them to close out their victory party on Saturday night.
After delivering speeches outside of the Chase Center in downtown Wilmington, the two were joined by their families to watch as red white and blue fireworks exploded in the sky. A collection of drones spelling out “USA” and outlining Biden’s logo flashed in the sky, prompting the Democrat to gaze at the sky with his mouth wide in delight. Biden’s wife Jill, seven grandkids, his son Hunter and daughter Ashley all gathered around him, and he bounced one of his youngest grandchildren as the family enjoyed the display.
Harris, meanwhile, was joined by her sister Maya, her niece Meena and her husband as well as her two stepchildren. Harris wrapped her arms around a younger grand-niece as they watched the celebration, with more than 1,000 supporters dancing and waving American flags and Biden campaign signs. It was a celebratory ending to a day that was otherwise largely spent by the two Democrats waiting and watching as final returns rolled in.
The campaign set up cranes with towering American flags, an American-flag lined stage and projected a 10-story tall Biden-Harris logo over a digital American flag on the side of a hotel beside the convention center. Blue and red lights illuminated state flags perched on the roof of another nearby building.
Organizers first erected the stage on Tuesday night, expecting to hold a Biden Election Night party. As vote counting continued and no winner was declared, the campaign kept the stage intact and the parking lot remained surrounded by high security fences with police controlling all access in and out.
The outdoor stage in Wilmington features projections of the Biden-Harris logo, colored lights and a line of towering American flags. Outside the security fence, people were already arriving with Biden campaign signs and chanting, “Joe! Joe!” and yelling, “We did it!” Cars in the area honked.