Nov. 8 (UPI) — President-elect Joe Biden emphasized healing and cooperation — and the need to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control — during a Saturday night victory address.
Speaking several hours after he was projected to win the presidency and five days after polls closed, Biden vowed to “work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did.”
“It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other,” Biden told an audience outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del. “The Bible tells us to everything there is a season, a time to reap and a time to sow and a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America.”
In addition to stressing that he intended to usher in an era of bipartisanship and cooperation, Biden, who frequently criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on the campaign trail, said his first priority is to get the virus under control.
“I will spare no effort — none — or any commitment to turn around this pandemic,” he said.
To that end, he told the crowd that on Monday he plans to release the names of a “team of leading scientists and advisers” who will serve on his coronavirus task force.
Biden also thanked voters, especially Black voters, for turning out in record numbers this election, and talked about running mate Kamala Harris’s historic rise to the role of vice president-elect.
Harris will be the first woman and the first Black or Asian-American person to hold the office.
“Don’t tell me it’s not possible in the United States,” Biden said. “It’s long overdue.”
Speaking before Biden, Harris also stressed the need for bipartisan cooperation and thanked the generations of women of all races who fought for the 19th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act, making it possible for her to be elected.
“I stand on their shoulders,” said Harris, who entered the stage walking between two screens projecting the words, “The people have chosen empathy.”
Harris opened her address with a quote from civil rights icon and longtime congressman John Lewis, who died in July.
“Congressman John Lewis, before his passing, wrote, ‘Democracy is not a state. It is an act.’ And what he meant is that America’s democracy is not guaranteed. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it,” Harris said.
She, too, thanked voters for turning out in record numbers to support Biden.
“You chose hope and unity, decency, science — and yes, truth. You chose Joe Biden as the next president of the United States of America,” Harris said.