Joe Biden

Address in Wilmington, Delaware Accepting Election as the 46th President of the United States

November 07, 2020

My fellow Americans, and the people who brought me to the dance: Delawareans. I see my buddy Tom, Senator Tom Carper down there. And I think I think Senator Coons is there. And I think the governor's around and… is that Ruth Ann? And that's former Governor Ruth Anne Minner. Most importantly, my sisters-in-law, my and my sister, Valerie. Anyway.

Folks, the people of this nation have spoken. They've delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for we, the people. We've won with the most votes ever cast for a presidential ticket in the history of the nation. 74 million.

Well, I must admit, it surprised me tonight. We're 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 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'll 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 America, I believe, is about. It's about people. And that's 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's the honor of my lifetime that so many millions of Americans have voted for that vision. And now the work of making that vision is real. It's a task, the task of our time.

Folks, as I said many times before, I'm Jill's husband. And I would not be here without her love and tireless support of Jill and my son Hunter, and Ashley, my daughter and all our grandchildren and their spouses and all our family. They're my heart.

Jill is a mom, a military mom, an educator. She has dedicated her life to education. But teaching isn't just what she does. It's who she is. For American educators this is a great day for you 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'm so proud of her.

I'll have the honor of serving with a fantastic vice president. You just heard from Kamala Harris, who makes history as the first woman, first Black woman, the first woman from South Asian descent, the first daughter of immigrants ever elected to this country. Don't tell me it's not possible in the United States. It's long overdue.

And we're reminded tonight of those who fought so hard for so many years to make this happen. Once again, America's bent the arc of the moral universe more toward justice. Kamala, Doug, like it or not, you're family. You become an honorary Biden, there's no way out.

All those of you volunteered and worked the polls in the middle of a 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. I owe you. I owe you everything.

And all those who supported us. I'm proud of the campaign we built ran. I'm proud of the coalition we put together, the broadest and most diverse coalition in history. Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservatives, young, old, urban, suburban, rural, gay, straight, transgender, white, Latino, Asian, Native American.

I mean it. And especially those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb, the African-American community stood up again for me. You've always had my back, and I'll have yours.

I said at the outset, I wanted to represent this campaign to represent and look like America. We've done that. Now that's what I want the administration to look like and act like.

For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight. I've lost a couple of times myself. But now, let's give each other a chance.

It's 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 our enemies. They are not our enemies. They are Americans. They're 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's this: America has called upon us to marshal the forces of decency, the forces of fairness. To marshal the forces of science and the 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 everybody in this country a fair shot. That's all they're asking for. A fair shot.

Folks, our work begins with getting covid under control. We can not repair the economy, restore our vitality or relish life's most precious moments, hugging our grandchildren, our children, our birthdays, weddings, 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 advisors to help take the Biden-Harris covid plan and convert it into an action blueprint that will start on January the 20th, 2021.

That plan will be built on bedrock science. It 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'm a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president. I'll 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. It's not some mysterious force beyond our control. It's a decision, a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate.

And I believe that this is part of the mandate given to us from the American people. They want us to cooperate in their interest. And that's the choice I'll make. And I'll call on Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, to make that choice with me.

The American story is about slow, yet steadily widening the opportunities in America. And make no mistake, too many dreams have been deferred for too long. We must make the promises of the country real for everybody, no matter their race, their ethnicity, their faith, their identity or their disability.

Folks, America has always is shaped by inflection points by moments in time. We've made hard 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 twelve years ago, when Barack Obama made history, he told us, yes, we can.

Well folks, we stand at an inflection point. We have an opportunity to defeat despair, to build a nation of prosperity and purpose. We can do it. I know we can. I've 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. And what presidents say in this battle matters. It's time for our better angels to prevail. Tonight, the whole world is watching America, and I believe in 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 know I've always -- believed many of you heard me say it — I've always believed we can define America in one word: possibilities. That in America, everyone should be given an opportunity to go as far as their dreams and God given-ability will take them.

You see, I believe in the possibilities of this country. We're always looking ahead. Ahead to an America that is freer and more just. Ahead to an America that creates jobs with dignity and respect. Ahead to an America that cures diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's. Ahead to an America that never leaves anyone behind. Ahead an America that never gives up, never gives in this great nation.

It's always been a bad bet to bet against America. We're good people. This is the United States of America. There's never been anything, never been anything we've been not able to do when we've done it together.

Folks, the last days of the campaign, I began thinking about a hymn that means a lot to me and my family, particularly my deceased son, Beau. It captures the faith that sustains me, and which I believe sustains America.

And I hope — and I hope it can provide some comfort and solace to the two hundred and thirty thousand Americans who've lost a loved one to this terrible virus this year. My goes out to each and every one of you. Hopefully this hymn gives you solace as well.

And it goes like this: And he will raise you up on eagle's wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, and make you sign just like the sun and hold you in the palm of his hand. And now together, on eagles wings, we embark on the work of that God and history have called upon us to do, with full hearts and steady hands, with faith in America and each other, with love of country, a thirst for justice.

Let us be the nation that we know we can. A nation united, a nation strengthened. A nation healed. The United States of America, ladies and gentlemen, there's never, never been anything we've tried we've not been able to do.

So I remember as my grandpa said when I walked out of his home when I was a kid up in Scranton, he said: "Joey, keep the faith." And our grandmother, when she was alive, she yelled: "No, Joey, spread it. Spread the faith."

God love you all. May God bless America and may God protect our troops. Thank you. Thank you.

Joseph R. Biden, Address in Wilmington, Delaware Accepting Election as the 46th President of the United States Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project