Biden declares 'clear victory' in US election; pledges to be president who will unify, not divide
Joe Biden declared victory on Saturday (Nov 7) in the race to be the 46th president of the United States. Voters narrowly rebuffed Republican incumbent Donald Trump's tumultuous leadership in favour of the former Democratic vice president.
WILMINGTON, Delaware: Joe Biden declared victory on Saturday (Nov 7) as the 46th president of the United States after voters narrowly rebuffed Republican incumbent Donald Trump's tumultuous leadership in favour of the former Democratic vice president.
"The people of this nation have spoken. They've delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory," Biden said in Wilmington, Delaware after he was declared the winner by all major US TV networks after four days of nail-biting suspense following Tuesday's election.
Acknowledging the disappointment of Trump supporters, Biden said of them: "They are not our enemies. They are Americans."
"Let this era of demonisation in America begin to end here," Biden said.
"I sought this office to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class, and to make America respected around the world again," Biden said.
"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 said. "This is the time to heal in America."
He said his first act as president-elect would be to name scientific advisers and experts to lead the coronavirus response.
"On Monday I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisers to help take the Biden-Harris plan and convert it into an actual blueprint that will start on Jan 20, 2021," he told supporters.
Barack Obama's vice president paid particular tribute to the African-American community, pointing to its role in selecting him as the Democratic nominee to challenge Trump.
Biden was introduced by his running mate, US Senator Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman, the first black American and the first American of Asian descent to serve as vice president, the country's number two office.
"What a testament it is to Joe's character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country, and select a woman as his vice president," Harris said.
Harris took the stage in Wilmington, Delaware in a white suit in honour of the women's suffragist movement to the sounds of Mary J Blige.
"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," Harris said to cheers from the socially distanced outdoor crowd.
Congratulations poured in from abroad, including from conservative British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, making it hard for Trump to push his repeated claims, without evidence, that the election was rigged against him.
Trump, who was golfing when the major television networks projected his rival had won, immediately accused Biden of "rushing to falsely pose as the winner".
"This election is far from over," he said in a statement.
Trump has filed a raft of lawsuits to challenge the results but elections officials in states across the country say there has been no evidence of significant fraud, and legal experts say Trump's efforts are unlikely to succeed.