Politics

Joe Biden's victory speech: 'This is the time to heal in America' (Full transcript)

The president-elect of the United States addressed viewers and supporters in Wilmington, Delaware. Here is the full transcript of his remarks.

Folks, the people of this nation have spoken. They’ve delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for we, the people. And we’ve won with the most votes ever cast for a presidential ticket in the history of the nation. Seventy-four million.

I must admit, it surprised me. Tonight, we’re seeing all over this nation, all cities in all parts of the country, indeed across the world, an outpouring of joy, of hope, renewed faith in tomorrow to bring a better day. I’m humbled by the trust and confidence you’ve placed in me.

I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify. Who doesn’t see red states, only sees the United States. Will 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 honour of my lifetime that so many millions of Americans have voted for that vision. And now, the work of making that vision real is the task of our time.

Folks, as I said many times before, I’m Jill’s husband. And I would not be here without the 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’s 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. Jill’s going to make a great First Lady, I’m so proud of her.

And I’ll have the honour of serving with a fantastic vice-president, who 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 in 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 a moral universe more toward justice. Kamala, Doug, like it or not, you’re family. You’ve become an honourary Biden, there’s no way out.

To all those of you who volunteered and worked the polls in the middle of this pandemic, local elected officials, you deserve a special thanks from the entire nation. When 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.

To all those who supported us, I’m proud of the campaign we built and 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.

Especially in those moments. Especially in those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb, the African American community stood up again for me. You always have 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 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 that this campaign is over what is the will of the people? What is our mandate? I believe it’s this: America called upon us to marshal the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, to marshal the forces of science, and the forces of hope. And the great battles of our time: The battle to control the virus; the battles to build propensity; the battle to secure your families 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 cannot repair the economy, restore our vitality, or relish life’s most precious moments—hugging our grandchildren, our children, or 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 20, 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 is not some mysterious force beyond our control; it’s a decision—a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, we can decide to cooperate. And I believe that this is part of the mandate given to us by 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 opportunities in America. And make no mistake: too many dreams have been deferred for too long. We must make the promise of the country real for everybody, no matter their race, their ethnicity, their faith, their identity or their disability.

Folks, America has always shaped been by inflection points, by knowledge and 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 12 years ago, when Barrack Obama made history he told us: “Yes, we can.”

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 is 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 know, I’ve always believed—many of you have heard me say it—I’ve always believed we could 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’s 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 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. We’re good people. This is the United States of America. There’s never been anything we’ve been not able to do when we’ve done it together. Folks, in the last days of the campaign I began thinking a lot 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 it can provide some comfort and solace to the 230,000 Americans who’ve lost a loved one through this terrible virus this year. Our heart go out to each and every one of you; hopefully this hymn gives you solace as well. It goes like this:

And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
And bear you on the breath of dawn
And make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His hand.

And now together on eagle’s wings we embark on the work that God and history have called upon us to do, with full hearts and steady hands, with faith in America and in each other, with love of country and thirst for justice, let us 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’s never, never been anything we’ve tried and not been able to do. So remember, as my grandpoppy 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. May God bless America and may God protect our troops. Thank you, thank you, thank you.