President-elect Joe Biden delivered a celebratory message but also a message of healing for the nation in his first remarks Saturday following a bitter and divisive battle for the presidency.
“America has always been shaped by inflection points, by moments in time we’ve made hard decisions about who we are and what we want to be,” Biden said at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, where the horns from hundreds of cars and cheers could be heard between his words. “Folks, we stand at an inflection point.”
Biden’s remarks came as President Donald Trump continues to contest the results of the cliffhanger election, arguing without evidence that hundreds of thousands of votes are in question. His address, in addition to setting the tone for a Biden transition and presidency, were a symbol that the Democrat was working to move the nation past the contentious election.
The former vice president sought to drive that message home from the very beginning of his remarks – saying voters had delivered a “clear victory, a convincing victory.”
“Folks, the people of this nation have spoken,” he said.
Reciting one of his slogans from the campaign trail, Biden said he ran for president for all Americans, not just Democrats.
“For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment,” Biden said. “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.”
Biden was introduced by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, wearing all white in nod to the suffragist movement. The first woman vice president, Harris said she wouldn’t be the last.
“Every little girl that’s watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” she said.
Biden quotes Catholic hymn ‘On Eagle’s Wings’ in his acceptance speech
Presient-elect Joe Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president after John F. Kennedy, recalled the Catholic hymn “On Eagle’s Wings,” a song he said was important to his family and his deceased son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015.
“It captures the faith that sustains me, which I believe sustains America. And I hope and I hope I can provide some comfort and solace,” he told the crowd before reciting the hymn. “And he will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn. Make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of his hand.”
During the campaign, President Donald Trump accused Biden of being “against God” despite the devout Catholic’s frequent references to his faith. Biden, who has often talked about how his Catholic faith helped him survive the death of his first wife and their daughter in a 1972 car crash, dismissed Trump’s comments as an attempt at making a cynical appeal to religious conservatives.
As he wrapped his remarks on Saturday, Biden recalled his grandfather telling him to “keep the faith” before adding that his grandmother chimed in, “no Joey, spread it. Spread the faith.”
This year’s election, the most unusual in recent history given the constraints of the pandemic, remained in doubt for days because of the unprecedented volume of mail-in ballots.
Pennsylvania, with 20 crucial electoral votes, was among states that could not begin processing its 2.6 million absentee ballots until Election Day. It meant initial numbers on election night showed Trump ahead before most of the mail-in ballots – which overwhelmingly favored Biden – could be tallied. Biden surpassed Trump in the vote tally on Friday and continues to build his lead.
A similar “blue shift” favoring Biden played out in other states including Georgia, where the race is still too close to call but Biden leads, and Nevada, which Biden also secured Saturday.
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