US President-elect Joe Biden, in his first speech after winning a bitter election, said that it was “time to heal” a deeply divided America, even as President Donald Trump refused to concede his defeat and vowed to legally challenge the results. Biden clinched Pennsylvania on Saturday to put him over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes needed to secure the US presidency, ending four days of extreme suspense since polls closed on Tuesday. The victory gave his followers and supporters to come out in the streets of major cities in celebration. “The people of this nation have spoken. They have delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory,” Biden told his supporters in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. “This is the time to heal in America,” he added.
In his remarks, the former Vice President took aim at the tumult of the last four years under President Trump yet extended a hand toward the latter’s supporters, saying he understood their disappointment. “But now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric. To lower the temperature,” he said. “To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans.” “Let this grim era of demonisation in America begin to end here and now.
The 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.” Biden also thanked Black voters, saying that even at his campaign’s lowest moments, the African-American community had stood up for him. “They always have my back, and I’ll have yours,” he said. Biden promised to name on Monday a select team of scientists and experts to devise a plan to confront the coronavirus pandemic, saying the experts would start as quickly as possible, directed by science, not politics.
“That plan will be built on a bedrock of science. It will be constructed out of compassion, empathy, and concern,” he said. Biden was joined by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, 56, the first Black and Indian-American woman to serve in that role. They greeted each other on stage wearing masks and did not shake hands, acknowledging the peril of pandemic that they have pledged to fight. “Protecting our democracy takes struggle. It takes sacrifice, but there is joy in it. We the people have the power to build a better future,” Harris said. She also hailed Biden for selecting a woman as his deputy.
“What a testament it is to Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country, and select a woman as his vice president,” Harris said. Trump, in the meantime, accused Biden of “rushing to falsely pose as the winner.” “This election is far from over,” Trump said in a statement. He returned to the golf course in Sterling, Virginia, on Sunday, his motorcade met by a smattering of pedestrians holding Biden-Harris and Trump 2020 signs.
Trump showed no sign of concession on Sunday as he posted remarks on Twitter from commentators casting doubt on the election’s integrity including, “This was a stolen election.” Twitter flagged the comments, noting “this claim about election fraud is disputed,” the latest instance of a social media platform flagging his posts.
Trump has filed a raft of lawsuits to challenge the results, but elections officials in states across the country have said there has been no evidence of significant fraud, and legal experts say Trump’s efforts are unlikely to succeed.
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