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Biden urges unity: ‘We are at war with virus, not with each other’

It was an election that we won easily,” he said. “We won it a lot.”

The president intended to appear there in person, but abruptly canceled those plans after a campaign adviser who had been near Mr Giuliani tested positive for the coronavirus. Later that day, Mr. Trump invited some of Pennsylvania’s lawmakers to the White House to discuss what someone familiar with the situation said were voting irregularities. Mr Trump did the same with a group of Michigan lawmakers – he pressured them not to certify the vote for Michigan’s 2020 election, which Mr Biden did – but it did not work.

Contrary to Mr. Trump’s thoughtless efforts to overturn the election results, Mr. Biden praised the sanctity of the vote in his speech and praised Americans for voting in record numbers despite the pandemic. “Our democracy has been put to the test this year,” he said. “What we have learned is this: The people of this nation are up to the task. In America we have full, fair and free elections. And then we honor the results.

He called the vote “the noblest instrument of non-violent protests ever.”

Mr. Trump, in the early days of the pandemic, tried to call himself a “war president” before claiming, wrongly, that the country had “rounded the curve”. On Wednesday, Mr Biden appeared to take up the torch of war, describing the coronavirus pandemic as “a battle of nearly a year” that has “devastated this nation”.

“America is not going to lose this war,” he said, reminding people, “Don’t get tired of yourself.”

Mr. Biden also tried to paint an optimistic view of the future, despite the current crisis, and called on Americans to “dream again.”

“We will rule the world by the power of our example, not just by the example of our power,” he said. “We are going to run the world on climate and save this planet. We will find cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes, I promise you.

Mr Biden’s speech was steeped in his own experience of devastating loss, which he often quotes when addressing a nation that has so far lost more than 260,000 lives to the virus.