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Election Highlights: Biden Wins Presidency, Saying ‘America’s Back’

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*Election Highlights: Biden Wins Presidency, Saying ‘America’s Back’


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 soothe the extraordinary divisions that defined the last four years in American politics.

“Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now,” he said.

In remarks before a drive-in audience in Wilmington, he sketched out a vision for confronting the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the nation, and he offered a direct message for the tens of millions of Americans who backed President Trump’s re-election.

“For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight,” Mr. Biden said. “I’ve lost a couple times myself. But now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again.”

He added, “This is the time to heal in America.”

Mr. Biden’s appearance came 48 years to the day after he was first elected a senator from Delaware. He spoke from a flag-bedecked outdoor stage near the Chase Center on the Riverfront, an event center near the Christina River, where he invoked themes that defined his presidential campaign. He implored Republicans and Democrats to work together, and he called on the deeply divided country to come together.

“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify,” he said at the outset of his speech. “Who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States.”

Senator Kamala Harris, the vice president-elect, spoke first on Saturday night, telling voters that they had chosen “hope and unity, decency, science, and yes, truth.”

She invoked her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, and paid tribute to the women “who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight.”

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Ms. Harris said. “Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”

Mr. Biden had already appeared outside the Chase Center once this past week, in the early morning hours on Wednesday, when in brief remarks he said he was “on track to win this election.” In the days that followed, he limited himself to short and measured public statements as he and his team waited for news organizations to call the race.

Before he spoke, Mr. Biden addressed his staff in a private video call, where he thanked them for their efforts and stressed the importance of engaging Americans who had supported President Trump.

“I would urge you to reach out, you know, that person who had that Trump sign in their lawn next door or down the street,” he told his team. “Reach out to them. Tell them, ‘This isn’t personal, this is about getting together and restoring the basic values we’ve had for generations and generations here in America.’”

Mr. Biden also acknowledged the vast challenges facing the nation and the staggering responsibilities his team must now undertake.

“The rest of the country is looking to us, the rest of the world is looking to us,” he said. “So we’re going to make sure that both the county is moving toward being united and the world that’s in disarray, the message is, America’s back.”

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