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Tuesday 3 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# A nation once again
'This is the time to heal in America': Joe Biden vows to unite the US in his election victory speech
The 77-year-old has pledged to heal divisions in the country.

election-2020-biden AP / PA Images President-elect Joe Biden speaks at his base in Delaware AP / PA Images / PA Images

US PRESIDENT-ELECT Joe Biden has promised to unite Americans and to heal divisions after what he called a clear and “convincing” victory over Donald Trump.

The Democrat is projected to win the presidency and become the 46th US president after widening his lead in Pennsylvania at around 4pm Irish time yesterday.

In a speech at his campaign base in Wilmington, Delaware, the 77-year-old pledged to start work immediately and said his administration would bring a the country together.

“This is the time to heal in America,” he told supporters at an outdoor rally shortly after 1am Irish time.

“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, but only sees the United States, and work with all my heart with the confidence of the whole people, to win the confidence of all of you.

“For that is what America I believe is about. It’s about people. And that’s what our administration will be all about.”

Biden also acknowledged the disappointment of Trump supporters, but reached out to those who voted for his Republican rival.

“They are not our enemies. They are Americans,” he said.

“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.”

He added: “Let this era of demonisation in America begin to end here. 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.”

Biden was upbeat as he addressed the socially distanced crowd, racing to the podium after an introduction by vice president-elect Kamala Harris to the sounds of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘We Take Care of Our Own’.

“Folks, the people of this nation have spoken. They’ve delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory,” Biden said.

The president-elect said his work would start with getting the Covid-19 outbreak in the US under control, and pledged to name a group of leading scientists as “transition advisers” on Monday.

“I will spare no effort, none, or any commitment to turn around this pandemic,” he said.

Biden also said his administration must “restore the soul of America” and make the country set an example for the rest of the world.

“We will lead not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” he promised.

The former vice president paid particular tribute to the African-American community, pointing to its role in selecting him as the Democratic nominee to challenge Trump.

And he heaped praise on his running mate Kamala Harris, whose election as the second person of colour and first woman to vice president he said has been “long overdue”.

‘America’s democracy is not guaranteed’

In her speech before Biden’s appearance, Harris began by quoting the late Georgia Senator and civil rights leader John Lewis, saying that “democracy is not a state; it is an act”.

“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,” she said.

“And protecting our democracy takes struggle, takes sacrifice. But there is joy in it, and there is progress, because we the people have the power to build a better future.”

Harris said that the “very soul of America” was at stake during the election, and thanked the Biden campaign’s staff for bringing so many people out to vote.

She paid tribute to her own mother, who moved to the US from India at the age of 19.

“She believed so deeply in an America, where a moment like this is possible. I am thinking about her, and about the generations of women – black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women – who throughout our nation’s history have paved away for this moment tonight,” the vice president-elect said.

Harris also praised American women in general, from those who fought for their right to vote over a century ago those to those who voted in this year’s election. And she thanked Biden for helping to make her the first woman to become US Vice President, pledging to be a trailblazer for others.

“While I will be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” she said.

Contains reporting from © AFP 2020

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