Elected President Joe Biden called for unity on Saturday and promised “a new day for America” in his first national speech since winning the tense US election and ending Donald Trump’s historically turbulent and divisive era.
After jogging out on the outdoor stage to music by Bruce Springsteen in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, Biden delivered a message of hope and healing to a crowd of encouraging followers and tens of millions more on television.
The Democrats’ victory numbers followed a desperately bitter election held in the midst of a raging coronavirus pandemic. But instead of sounding triumphant, Biden’s emphasis was more on changing the hearts of a country that split the middle between Democrats and Republicans.
Biden promised “not to share but to unite”, reached out directly to Trump supporters and declared “they are not our enemies, they are Americans”.
“Let’s give each other a chance,” he said, urging the country to “lower the temperature.” He said, “Let this gloomy demonization in America begin to end, here and now.”
Biden looked further and said he would “make America respected around the world again” – a reference to Trump’s dismantling of traditional diplomatic ties.
“Tonight the whole world is watching America and I think America is at best a lighthouse for the world,” he said.
Addressing the coronavirus, which has killed more than 237,000 Americans under Trump’s irregular leadership, Biden said he would form a working group of “leading researchers” on Monday.
Fireworks, Springsteen and Tina Turner
While the presence for social distancing purposes was limited to about 360 cars at the drive-in event, crowds of thousands of people, many of them dancing and waving American flags, crowded along the highway leading to the facility.
This was Biden’s first public appearance since US television networks announced earlier Saturday that he had taken an insurmountable lead in the almost complete number from Tuesday’s election, giving him victory over Trump, who will now become a rare one-year president.
The celebratory event, which featured confetti, fireworks and a soundtrack including Springsteen and Tina Turner, also gave Americans a closer look at Biden’s ruling Kamala Harris, who will make history as the country’s first female and first black vice president.
>> Kamala Harris becomes first female, first black, first South Asian American vice president
In his speech, cheering every other second by the ecstatic crowd, Harris praised the record attendance and said that after so much division, “Joe is a healer.”
“When our democracy was on the ballot in this election, with the soul of America at stake, and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America,” she said.
Biden, who turns 78 later this month, will be the oldest person to become president when he takes office on January 20.
( Jowharwith AFP)