President-elect Joe Biden used his acceptance speech as the 2020 election winner to unite a divided nation and rally the country to solve problems at home and abroad.
“I will govern as an American president,” Biden said to the crowd assembled in Wilmington, Delaware. “I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did. Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now.”
He continued: “This is the United States of America. There has never been anything we have not been able to do when we have done it together.”
The address stood in stark contrast to the general message of President Donald Trump, who uses most of his speeches to try to drive a wedge between his base and the rest of the country while finding opportunities to congratulate himself.
Biden’s victory speech made sure to thank his supporters, campaign staff, and family for his win, and to laud his running mate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the first woman elected to the vice presidency.
“Don’t tell me it is not possible in the United States. It’s long overdue,” Biden said of Harris’s historic first. “And we are reminded tonight of those who fought so hard for so many years to make this happen. Once again, America has bent the arc of the moral universe more toward justice.”
Finally, Biden appealed to all Americans to help make his presidency a success.
A big question remains: whether Biden can deliver on his promise to unite the divided states of America. For the moment, though, it seems his intention is genuine.
Read a rush transcript of Biden’s victory speech below.
Folks, the people of this nation have spoken. They have delivered us a clear victory. A convincing victory. A victory for we, the people.
We won with the most votes ever cast on a presidential ticket in the history of the nation: 74 million. Well, I must admit it surprised me. Tonight, we are seeing all over this nation, all cities and all parts of the country, indeed across the world, an outpouring of joy, of hope, renewed faith in tomorrow to bring a better day.
And I’m humbled by the trust and confidence you have placed in me. I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify. Who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States.
I work with all my heart with the confidence of the whole people to win the confidence of all of you.
And for that is what I believe America is about. It is about people. And that is what our administration will be all about. 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. And to unite us here at home.
It is the honor of my lifetime that so many millions of Americans have voted for that vision. Now the work of making that vision is real.
Folks, as I said many times before, I’m Jill’s husband. And I would not be here without her love and tireless support. And my son Hunter and my daughter and all our grandchildren and their spouses and all our family. They are my heart. Jill is a military mom, an educator. She dedicated her life to education. Teaching is not just what she does, it’s who she is.
For American educators, it is a great day for y’all. You’re going to have one of your own in the White House. And Jill is going to make a great first lady. I am so proud of her.
I will have the honor — you just heard from Kamala Harris, who will make history as the first woman, the first Black woman, the first woman from South Asian descent, the first immigrant ever elected to this country.
Don’t tell me it is not possible in the United States. It’s long overdue. And we are reminded tonight of those who fought so hard for so many years to make this happen. Once again, America has bent the arc of the moral universe more toward justice. Kamala, Doug, like it or not, you’re family. You have become an honorary Biden. There is no way out.
For all of you who volunteered and worked the polls in this pandemic, local elected officials, you deserve a special thanks from the entire nation. And to my campaign team and all the volunteers and all who gave so much of themselves to make this moment possible, I owe you everything — I owe you everything.
All those who supported us, I am proud of the campaign we built and ran. I am proud of the coalition we put together: Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservative, young, old, rural, suburban, gay, straight, transgender, Native American.
I mean it: Especially in those moments when the campaign was at its slowest, the African American community stood up again for me. You all had my back, and I will have yours.
I said at the outset I wanted to represent this campaign, to make it look like America. We have done that. For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight. I lost a couple times myself. Now, let’s give each other a chance.
It is time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again, and to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as an enemy. They are not our enemies: They are Americans — they are Americans.
The Bible tells us, to everything there is a season, a time to build, a time to reap and a time to sow and a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America.
Now this campaign is over, what is the will of the people? What is our mandate?
I believe it is this — America has called upon us to marshal the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, to marshal the forces of science and forces of hope in the great battles of our time. The battle to control the virus. The battle to build prosperity. The battle to secure your family’s health care. The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country. And the battle to save our planet by getting climate under control.
The battle to restore decency, defend democracy, and give everyone in this country a fair shot. That is all they are asking for, a fair shot.
Folks, our work begins with getting Covid under control. We cannot repair the economy or relish life’s most precious moments, hugging our grandchildren, birthdays, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us, until we get it under control.
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 action blueprint that will restore it on January 20, 2021. That plan will be constructed out of compassion, empathy, and concern. I will spare no effort, none, or any commitment to turn around this pandemic.
Folks, I am a proud Democrat. But I will govern as an American president. I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did. Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now. Refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not some mysterious force beyond our control; it is a decision, a choice we make.
If we decide not to cooperate, we can decide to cooperate. I believe this is part of the mandate given to us from the American people. They want us to cooperate in their interests. That is the choice I will make. I will call on Congress — Democrats and Republicans alike — to make that choice with me.
The American story is about a — about slow, yet widening the opportunities in America. Too many dreams have been deferred for too — deferred for too long. No matter their race, faith, identity, or disability.
Folks, America has always been shaped by inflection points, by moments in time where we made our decisions about who we are and what we want to be. Lincoln in 1860 coming to save the union. FDR in 1932 promising a beleaguered country a new deal. JFK in 1960 pledging a new frontier. And 12 years ago, when Barack Obama made history, he told us, “Yes, we can.”
Folks, we stand at an inflection point. We have the opportunity to beat despair, to build prosperity and purpose. We can do it. I long talked about the battle for the soul of America. We must restore the soul of America. Our nation is shaped by the constant battle between our better angels and our darkest impulses. It’s time for our better angels to prevail.
Tonight, the whole world is watching America. And I believe at our best, America is a beacon for the globe. We will lead not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.
I have always believed, and many heard me — heard me say we can define America in one word: Possibility. That in America everyone should be given an opportunity to go as far as their dream and God-given ability will take them. You see, I believe in the possibility of this country.
We are always looking ahead, ahead to an America that is freer and more just, that treats jobs with dignity and respect, an America that cures diseases like cancer and Alzheimers, an America that never leaves anyone behind. Ahead to an America that never gives up, never gives in.
This is a great nation. It has always been a bad bet to bet against America. This is the United States of America. There has never been anything we have not been able to do when we have done it together.
Folks, in the last stages of the campaign, I began thinking about a hymn that means a lot to me and my family, that captures the faith that sustains me, and which I believe sustains America. And I hope it can provide comfort and solemn to the Americans who lost a loved one to this terrible virus this year. Our hearts go out to each and every one of you.
Hopefully this hymn gives you solemn. It goes like this: And he will raise you up on eagle’s wings, and make you a sign like the sun and hold you in the palm of his hand.
Together on eagle’s wings we embark on the work God called upon us to do with full hearts and steady hands, with faith in America and in each other, with love of country, a thirst for justice. Let it be the nation that we know we can be, a nation united, a nation strengthened, a nation healed.
The United States of America, ladies and gentlemen, there has never been anything we have tried and not been able to do. Remember, as our grandpop said when we walked out of our home, he said, “Joe, keep the faith.” Our grandmother, when she was alive, said, “No, spread the faith.”
May God bless America, and may God protect our troops.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.