In a prime-time address on December 14, Joe Biden addressed the nation for the first time as the official president-elect of the United States. Biden’s speech came shortly after the last electors cast their ballots to formally confirm him the winner of the 2020 presidential election with 306 electoral votes. Amid continued cries from President Donald Trump on Twitter that the election was still rigged, Biden delivered a message of hope: “If anyone didn’t know it before, we know it now. What beats deep in the hearts of the American people is this: Democracy. The right to be heard. To have your vote counted. To choose the leaders of this nation. To govern ourselves.”
Tune in as President-elect Biden delivers remarks on the electoral college vote certification and the strength and resilience of our democracy. https://t.co/DK3fLbQQNJ
— Biden-Harris Presidential Transition (@Transition46) December 15, 2020
Biden appeared to be appealing directly to Trump supporters with his speech, attempting to unify the nation after the incumbent president’s unequivocal loss — again. Despite frequent attempts at lawsuits and multiple recounts, the results are the same: Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris legally won the 2020 presidential election by a landslide, both in the popular and electoral vote. “In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed,” Biden said. “We the people voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal.”
Biden called out President Trump, who, five weeks later, has still refused to concede the election. “In America, politicians don’t take power — the people grant it to them,” Biden, recently named TIME’s Person of The Year, stated. “The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know that nothing — not even a pandemic or an abuse of power — can extinguish that flame… I will work just as hard for those of you who didn’t vote for me as I will for those who did.”
He praised the 155 million Americans who cast their ballots on November 3, who were determined that their voices be heard, no matter who they were voting for. “Our democracy — pushed, tested and threatened — proved to be resilient, true, and strong,” Biden said. He pointed out that his electoral vote count (306) was what Trump and Vice President Mike Pence received in 2016. “At the time, Trump called his electoral college tally a landslide. By his own standards, these numbers represented a clear victory then and I respectfully suggest they do so now.”
Calling threats against election workers “unconscionable,” Biden condemned Trump’s supporters for intimidating public servants for trying to count votes during the election and subsequent recount periods. “It is my sincere hope we never again see anyone subjected to the kind of threats and abuse we saw in this election,” he stated firmly. “We owe these public servants a debt of gratitude… Our democracy survived because of them.
Biden concluded his speech by remembering the 300,000 Americans who have now died of COVID-19, whose families will now spend the holidays without them. “There is urgent work in front of all of us,” the president-elect said. “Getting the pandemic under control to getting the nation vaccinated against this virus: delivering immediate economic help so badly needed by so many Americans who are hurting today and then building our economy back better than ever.”