Biden calls for unity, healing in acceptance speech

By Charlie McKenna

President-elect Joe Biden delivered a speech to supporters in his home state of Delaware Saturday evening, officially claiming the presidency while attempting to unify a nation deeply divided after the 2020 presidential race. 

Biden, who ran his campaign on the premise of “healing the soul of our nation,” reached out to Trump supporters and Americans who didn’t vote for him during the speech. He pledged to work for them, even if they don’t support him.

“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, but only sees the United States,” he said to a crowd of onlookers, honking their car horns in support. 

The 2020 campaign cycle was one marked by vitriolic discourse between Biden, incumbent President Donald Trump, and their supporters.

Typically, the president-elect delivers their acceptance speech to a crowd of thousands, but as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage across the country, Biden delivered his speech to a crowd of onlookers in their cars. 

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the first woman and first woman of color to serve as vice president, introduced Biden—and praised voters for turning out in record numbers. A total of 66.4 percent of eligible voters participated in the 2020 election, the highest turnout in the U.S. in more than a century. 

“When our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, the very soul of America at stake, and the world watching you,” Harris said, “You ushered in a new day for America.”

Biden received more votes in the 2020 election than any other president in history, a feat he thanked supporters for. 

“It is the honor of my lifetime that so many millions of Americans have voted for this vision,” he said. “And now the work of making this vision real is the task of our time.”

The former vice president praised his wife Jill for her work as an educator. He later welcomed his family on to the stage, as balloons and confetti rained down in celebration.

“I would not be here without the love and tireless support of Jill, Hunter, Ashley, all of our grandchildren and their spouses, and all our family,” he said. “They are my heart. Jill’s a mom — a military mom — and an educator. She has dedicated her life to education, but teaching isn’t just what she does — it’s who she is.”

After the speech, Harris rejoined the stage, along with her family, for a fireworks display as music from Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, and Tom Petty played.