WILMINGTON, Del. – Joseph R. Biden Jr. addressed the nation for the first time as president-elect on Saturday night, delivering a message of unity and trying to allay the extraordinary divisions that have defined the past four years in politics American.
“May this dark era of demonization in America begin to end here and now,” he said.
In a speech to a drive-through audience in Wilmington teeming with longtime friends from his home state Delaware, he directly appealed to the tens of millions of Americans who have supported President Trump’s re-election, seeking to hold up his promise the country together.
“To all of you who voted for President Trump, I understand tonight’s disappointment,” said Biden, speaking after his third run for president. “I lost myself a few times. But now let’s give ourselves a chance. It‘s time to put the harsh rhetoric aside, turn down the heat, meet again, listen to yourself again.
He added, “Now is the time to heal in America.”
Mr. Biden’s upbeat speech, peppered with references to American faith and history, came 48 years to the day after he was first elected senator from Delaware. He spoke from a flag-adorned stage outside the Chase Center on the Riverfront, an event center near the Christina River, where he invoked themes that shaped his presidential campaign.
The message, as it was throughout the campaign, was rooted more in a sense of values than a particularly ideological standpoint, an approach that helped him build a broad coalition throughout the campaign. campaign but which will be tested in a Washington partisan.
Yet Mr Biden became passionate about insisting that despite all the tensions in the country, Americans still wanted to see their leaders find common ground. He pledged to bring stable leadership and experience to deal with the staggering crises the country is facing, especially the coronavirus.
“What is our mandate?” he said. “I believe it is this: Americans have called us to bring together the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, to bring together the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time . “
Deputy President-elect Senator Kamala Harris spoke first, telling voters they had chosen “hope and unity, decency, science and, yes, the truth.”
She invoked her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, who came to the United States from India at the age of 19, and paid tribute to the women “who throughout the history of our nation have led the way in this time. tonight”.
“Although I am the first woman to occupy this office, I will not be the last,” she said. “Because every little girl who looks tonight sees that this is a land of possibilities.”