‘This is the time to heal’: President-elect Joe Biden, VP-elect Kamala Harris address nation

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris delivered remarks ahead of President-elect Joe Biden Saturday night during a prime-time address to the nation.

Biden and his wife, Jill, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, appeared at a drive-in rally outside the convention center in Wilmington, Delaware.

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Harris was first on stage, opening her remarks by remembering the late Congressman John Lewis, and she thanked voters.

“So, Congressman John Lewis, before his passing, wrote, ‘Democracy is not a state, it is an act.’ And what he meant was that America’s democracy is not guaranteed, it is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it, to guard it and never take it for granted,” Harris said.

“Protecting our democracy takes struggle and takes sacrifice, but there is joy in it, and there is progress, because we the people have the power to build a better future," she said. "And when our very democracy was on the ballot in this election with the very soul of America at stake and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America."

She thanked campaign staff and volunteers, saying, “Thank you for bringing more people than ever before into the democratic process.” 

She said times have been challenging, "But we have also witnessed your courage, your resilience and the generosity of your spirit." 

"You delivered a clear message: You chose hope and unity, decency, science and, yes, truth," Harris said. 

“You chose Joe Biden as the next president of the United States of America,” she proclaimed, as supporters cheered and honked car horns. 

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Harris thanked her family and spoke on the historical significance of her election. Her voice was full of emotion as she remembered her late mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who passed in 2009.

“She believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible,” Harris said. “And so I am thinking about her and about the generations of women — Black women, Asian, White, Latina, Native American women — who, throughout our nation’s history, have paved the way for this moment tonight. Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all,” Harris said.

Harris praised Biden for choosing the first female vice presidential candidate.

“What a testament it is to Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that existed in our country and select a woman as his vice president,” Harris said.

“But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris said, to applause. “Because, every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities. And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition. Lead with conviction and see yourselves in a way that other may not, simply because they have never seen it before.”

Following Harris’ remarks, Biden jogged to the podium, opening his remarks by saying, “The people of this nation have spoken. They've delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory... for we the people.”

"Tonight, were seeing all over this nation... an outpouring of joy, hope, renewed faith in tomorrow bringing a better day, and I am humbled by the trust and confidence you have placed in me," he said. 

He pledged to unite and restore the “soul of America” and to make  "America respected around the world again."

US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris deliver remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7, 2020, after being declared the winners of the presidential election.

He thanked his family and praised his wife Jill Biden as well as his children and grandchildren, saying, “They’re my heart.” 

Recognizing the historic significance of his and Harris’ victory, Biden said, “Don’t tell me it’s not possible in the United States. It’s long overdue.”

He praised Harris, saying, "We're reminded tonight of those who fought so hard for so many years," adding that Harris and her husband have become honorary Bidens. "There's no way out," he joked.

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Biden continued to urge unity within the country. He addressed Trump supporters, saying he understands their disappointment. "I lost a couple of times myself," he said. "To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents like enemies. They are not our enemies — they are Americans," he added. 

He declared that it is time for the country to heal. "Americans have called on us to marshal the forces of decency, fairness, science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time," he said. 

Biden announced that he will name a group of scientists and experts as transition advisers to convert his COVID-19 plan into an action blueprint to start immediately in January 2021. He explained that the group of advisers would be built on “bedrock science” and based on “empathy and concern.” 

He promised to work on cultivating cooperation between Democrats and Republicans and said he would work for those who voted for him but work harder for those who didn’t. 

"I believe in the possibilities of this country," he said.

Biden briefly spoke of his son, Beau, who died of cancer. Biden said he believes America is a country that finds solutions and “cures diseases like cancer,” adding that it has always been bad to “bet against America.” 

He thanked the American people, asking them to “spread the faith.” 

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The president-elect brought his family onto the stage where fireworks exploded over a joyous crowd. 

Meanwhile, the Twitter accounts for both Biden and Harris posted their remarks. 

Biden tweeted, “With full hearts and steady hands, with faith in America and in each other, with a love of country — and a thirst for justice — let us be the nation that we know we can be.”

Harris tweeted, “Now the real work begins,” writing a list of challenges she and Biden face as they enter the White House in January. 

“The road ahead won't be easy. But America is ready. And so are @JoeBiden and I,” she wrote.

Biden was projected by the Associated Press, FOX News and other major news outlets as the next president of the United States on Saturday morning with a victory in Pennsylvania, claiming the 20 electoral votes needed to push him past a 270 vote threshold to win the White House. 

He was later projected to also win Nevada, for a total of 290 electoral votes over President Donald Trump’s 214, according to counts by the Associated Press and FOX News. 

Georgia, North Carolina and Alaska are still uncalled.

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The outdoor stage in Wilmington featured projections of the Biden-Harris logo, colored lights and a line of towering American flags. Outside the security fence, people were already arriving Saturday afternoon with Biden campaign signs and chanting, “Joe! Joe!” and yelling, “We did it!” 

The projected win came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials worked tirelessly in key battleground states to sort through a surge of mail-in votes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden, in a statement, said he was humbled by the victory and it was time for the battered nation to set aside its differences.

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"I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris," the statement said. "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. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together."

The projected victory is historic, as Biden’s running mate, Harris, is the nation’s first Black and female vice president-elect. Biden, 77, will also become be the oldest president ever to take office and the first president from the state of Delaware.

Biden was on track to win the national popular vote by more than 4 million, a margin that could grow as ballots continue to be counted.

Trump has refused to concede and promised unspecified legal challenges seeking to overturn the outcome of the race. His campaign released a statement after the win was called by the Associated Press and FOX News, calling the election “far from over.” 

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.