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(CNN)President-elect Joe Biden spoke to a deeply divided nation tonight, making a plea for unity and understanding after four years of turmoil and conflict fomented by President Donald Trump, who showed no indication Saturday that he plans to concede and continued to push the falsehood that he had won the election.
Speaking in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, Saturday evening, The President-elect reached out to voters who supported Trump. “I understand the disappointment tonight. I’ve lost a couple of times myself. But now, let’s give each other a chance,” Biden said. “This is the time to heal in America.”
Biden said he was humbled by the trust and confidence that America has placed in 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.”
“I sought this office to rebuild 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.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris introduced her running mate, invoking the legacy of the late Georgia Congressman John Lewis and praising the campaign’s supporters for turning out in record numbers. She said voters had chosen hope, science and truth by selecting Biden as the next president, calling him a “healer and a uniter.”
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“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.”
Kamala also credited Biden for taking the risk of choosing a woman as his running mate: “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
The former vice president stepped up to the microphone in his hometown to outline his plans to address the grave challenges gripping this country in the midst of a pandemic that has claimed more than 235,000 American lives and cost millions their jobs.
When the campaign started nearly two years ago, it would have been extraordinary to think that Americans would show up to a victory rally wearing masks. The fact that they had to, and at a drive-in event outside in November, were a reminder of the moment of national extremis that Biden and Harris will inherit in January.
As he prepared for that victory speech, jubilant celebrations erupted in big cities across America, with supporters pouring into the streets — shouting, chanting, singing, dancing and waving flags as drivers honked their horns — to mark his victory and the end of Trump’s presidency. With Biden’s win, Harris will make history as the first woman — and the first Black person and first South Asian — to serve in that office.
Those celebrations began near the White House on Saturday while Trump was golfing in Virginia — forcing the smoldering President to wind his way back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in his motorcade through those crowds after hitting the links. There was no sign that Trump would offer a concession to Biden or even extend the traditional invitation for a White House visit to the President-elect as he continues to falsely maintain that the election was stolen from him.