US Elections

Biden's victory speech after winning US Election 2020 and becoming the new president

President-elect Biden took a conciliatory tone as he gave a speech saying he would be honoured to be the 46th president of the United States.

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Biden's victory speech after winning US Election 2020 and becoming the new president
WIN MCNAMEE AFP

Joe Biden gave a powerful, uplifting victory speech to the American nation on Saturday evening, after the presidential race was called for the Democratic candidate earlier in the day as the numbers mounted up to give him an insurmountable position in the battle for the White House, despite current president Donald Trump proclaiming that the election battle was not yet over.

Speaking in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, Biden was introduced by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman, as well as the first Black person and first South Asian, to hold the office.

A smiling Harris, flanked by huge blue screens reading "The people have chosen empathy", took the stage to the deafening sound of car horns along with Mary J Blige on the sound system, and began talking about the importance of democracy, saying it is not guaranteed, "it is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it. It takes struggle, it takes sacrifice, but there is joy in it, because we the people have the power to build a better future.

She thanked the campaign team for bringing more people than ever before into the democratic process, and all the poll workers who made the election possible. And pointedly said they had "protected the integrity of our democracy".

She then turned to her running mate and said to the American people: "You have chosen hope, unity, decency and science, you have chosen Joe Biden". Continuing, she said "he is a healer", someone with a "tested and steady hand".

Harris dedicated much of her speech to the fact she will be the first woman in the office, saying she was "standing on the shoulders" of all the women who had worked to help her to get where she is today.

President-elect Joseph Biden

After Harris' turn on the podium she announced her running mate to wild cheers and yet more car horns blaring: "It is my great honour to introduce the president-elect of the United States of America, Joe Biden!"

Biden came running out to loud music and took the podium clearly hugely fired up at his election win. "Hello, my fellow Americans, and the people who brought me to dance, Delawarians!", which got a pretty good cheer from the home crowd.

Biden's message was bold and positive throughout and a clear message to try and bring the country back together, although he began by making it clear he has won this election, despite Trump still arguing it has not been decided.

"Folks,", said Biden, "the people of this nation have spoken, they have delivered us a convincing victory." The president-elect said it was the most votes ever for a presidential ticket - 74 million. "I am humbled by the trust and confidence you have placed in me."

Biden calls for unity and cooperation

As expected, Biden reached out to Trump supporters, saying he knew what it was like to lose, and said now was the "time to give each other chance". He repeated the message he gave in his post-election speeches, saying it was "time to turn the temperature down", and pleading for an end to hate in politics. "I won't see red and blue states but I'll be a president for all the states," and Biden promised to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify".

There were constant calls for cooperation from Biden, saying Democrats and Republicans have to work together. "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. And I believe that this is part of the mandate given to us from the American people. They want us to cooperate and their interest. And that's a choice I'll make. And I'll call on Congress. Democrats, Republicans alike to make that choice with me."

Along those lines, in the aftermath of a bitter election battle, Biden said "this is the time to heal in America"

There was also a determined commitment to start working before Biden even takes office: "On Monday I will name a group of leading scientists and experts to work as transition advisors to the Biden-Harris administration in their fight against covid, we'll plan, which will be converted into an action blueprint that will start on 20 January 2021 and it will be built on bedrock science, and constructed out of compassion, empathy and concern. I will spare no effort, nor any commitment to turn around this pandemic, folks."

The president-elect also spent a lot of time talking about his family and his evident deep love for them, and noted that his wife, Jill, is an educator, "it's not just what she does, it's what she is" and said to all educators, "you've got one of your own in the White House".

Smiling he also said that his running-mate Kamala Harris and her husband were now honorary Bidens, "you're not getting away!"

One word to define America: Possibility

Biden said that if there was one word that defines America it is "possibility". "Everyone should be given an opportunity to go as far as their dreams. I believe in the possibilities of this country. It is never good to bet against America."

Biden finished saying that as he left his grandparents house when he was a kid his grandfather would tell him to "keep the faith", but his grandmother would shout out to him: "No, spread the faith!"

Celebrations around the US before Biden's speech

Before Biden's speech parties had erupted in cities around the United Sates, with Biden fans and supporters taking to the streets to celebrate his win, and also the removal of Trump from the office, without doubt the most divisive president the country has ever known.

Trump himself was out golfing when the news broke that Biden was the president-elect based on the reporting of votes (note the official announcement comes after the votes are certified in each state). He responded by screaming on Twitter: "I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT". He also released a statement saying that Biden was "rushing to falsely pose as the winner" and saying the "election is far from over".

The now-lame-duck president also mentioned the legal challenges that his campaign is bringing in a number of states.

Notably, Biden received messages of congratulation from a number of world leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, French President Emmanuel Macron and Britain's Boris Johnson.