Biden pledges to be president who unifies in first speech as president-elect

President-elect Joe Biden pledged to be a president who unifies the country, saying he doesn’t see red or blue states, just “the United States.”

He said he will work to win the confidence of all Americans and asked Trump voters to give him a chance.

“It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric,” Biden said. “To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans."

The former vice president also said that his administration will be about the people, adding that he sought the office to restore the country’s soul, rebuild the middle class and make the U.S. respected around the world.

Biden thanked poll workers who volunteered their time, especially during a pandemic with a record amount of votes.

He also thank all of his supporters, saying he was proud of the diverse coalition his team put forward.

“I said from the outset I wanted a campaign that represented America, and I think we did that,” Biden said. “Now that’s what I want the administration to look like.”

He specifically thanked the African American community for supporting him, saying “they always have my back, and I’ll have yours.”

Biden noted Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will make history as the first female, as well as first Black woman and woman of South Asian descent, to hold the position in the country.

“It’s long overdue, and we’re reminded tonight of all those who fought so hard for so many years to make this happen,” he said.

Harris said it was a testament to Biden’s character to have the “audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country and to select a woman as vice president."

Biden said his administration will start with getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control.

“On Monday, I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors to help take the Biden-Harris COVID plan and convert it into an action blueprint that starts on Jan. 20, 2021,” he said.

Harris also thanked Americans for coming out to vote in record numbers, saying voters chose “hope and unity.”

“For four years you marched to equality and justice,” she said. “And you voted. And you sent a clear message. You chose hope and unity, decency, science and truth. You chose Joe Biden as the next president of the United States of America.”

Harris said that Biden will be a president “for all Americans” and that she will support him much like Biden supported former President Barrack Obama.

The Associated Press, which this news organization follows on election calls, declared former Vice President Biden the winner of Pennsylvania Saturday morning, putting him over the 270 Electoral College votes needed to secure the presidency.

“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris,” read a statement on Biden’s website. “In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America. With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation.”

President Donald Trump has not conceded. His campaign filed lawsuits in multiple battleground states following Election Day, alleging that election laws were not followed in some states.

A statement from his campaign shared on Saturday said the “election is far from over,” noting that the results have not been certified.

“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated” the statement read. “The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots.”

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