US President-elect Joe Biden has called for national healing after a deeply divisive campaign of harsh rhetoric but issued a warning against those who would “bet against America”.
In his victory speech in Delaware on Saturday night after the media declared him the winner of the 2020 presidential race, Biden said: “We embark on the work that God and history have called upon us to do.”
The speech focused on domestic issues, especially bringing the nation together and pulling it out of the Covid-19 crisis.
The brief mention of the world spoke to its power and its leadership, with the warning to those betting against it.
He said his task is “to make America respected around the world again”.
“Tonight, the whole world is watching America,” he said.
“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.
“This is a great nation. It has always been a bad bet to bet against America. We are good people. This is the United States of America,” Biden added.
The former Vice President did not get into any specifics of policy or programme except on the coronavirus pandemic.
During his campaign he accused President Donald Trump of mishandling the pandemic, which has resulted in over 225,000 deaths and made fighting it a priority.
“I will spare no effort or commitment to turn this pandemic around,” he said.
He announced that he was appointing a panel of leading scientists and experts to create an action programme based on his and Kamala Harris’s Covid-19 plan for fighting it starting on January 20, the day a President is sworn in.
“That plan will be built on a bedrock of science. It will be constructed out of compassion, empathy and concern.”
Addressing the nation’s polarisation, he said: “Let this grim era of demonisation in America begin to end, here and now.”
Speaking directly to Trump supporters, he said: “To those who voted for President Trump, I understand your disappointment tonight. I’ve lost a couple of elections myself.”
He appealed to them to “give each other a chance”, to end “the harsh rhetoric” and to “lower the temperature”.
He said he “doesn’t see Red and Blue states, but a United States”.
“I ran as a proud Democrat. I will now be an American president. I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did,” he pledged.
Facing the possibility of a Senate controlled by the Republicans, Biden asked them to work with the Democrats, calling it a mandate from the voters.
“The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision. It’s a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate.”