8 Nov 2020

Watch: President-elect Joe Biden's victory speech

3:25 pm on 8 November 2020

Watch - Democrat Joe Biden has outlined his vision for the United States in his victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware, after winning the US presidential election today.

Watch Biden's victory speech here:

The result was called after Biden overtook President Donald Trump in the state of Pennsylvania, winning the state gave Biden more than 270 Electoral College seats which he needed for victory.

Taking to the stage for his speech, Biden said the people had spoken.

"They have delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory."

He said he had seen an outpouring of "joy, of hope, of renewed faith in tomorrow to bring a better day, and I am humbled by the trust and confidence you placed in me".

US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7, 2020, after being declared the winner of the presidential election. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)

Photo: AFP

"I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify. Who does not see red states or blue states, and only sees the United States.

"I sought this office to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation ... and to make America respected around the world again.

"It's the honour of my lifetime for so many of you to vote for that vision. Now, the work of making that vision is real. It is the task of our time."

He said he understood Trump voters will be upset.

"I've lost a couple of times myself. But now, lets give each other a chance. It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric ... and to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies... they are Americans.

"This is a time to heal in America."

US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7, 2020, after being declared the winner of the presidential election.

Photo: AFP or licensors

He said having someone like Vice-President elect Kamala Harris in the White House was long overdue.

"Once again, America has bent the arc of the moral universe more towards justice."

He said those who worked to run the election deserved the thanks of the nation.

He said he believes Americans have called for leadership to marshall the forces of decency, fairness, science and hope to stand up to the "great battles of our time".

"The battle to control the virus, the battle to build prosperity, the battle to secure your family's healthcare. The battle for racial justice and to root out systemic racism in this country. And the battle to save our planet by getting climate change under control.

"Folks, our work begins with getting Covid-19 under control. On Monday, I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisers to help take the Biden-Harris recovery plan and convert it into a blueprint that will start on January 20th 2021."

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - NOVEMBER 07: President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris take the stage at the Chase Center to address the nation November 07, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Photo: AFP

Biden said he was a proud Democrat, but will govern as an American president.

"I will work as hard for those who didn't vote for me as for those who did. Let this grim era of demonisation in America begin to end here and now. Refusal of Democrats and Republicans to work with one another ... is a choice we make... and if we can decide not to co-operate, we can choose to co-operate. And I believe that this is part of the mandate given to us from the American people. They want us to co-operate in our interest."

Too many dreams in America have been deferred for too long, he said.

He said the country had always been shaped by its decisions in tough times, and America was at one of those moments now.

"We have the opportunity to defeat despair. I have long talked about the battle for the soul of America. We can restore soul of America. Our nation is shaped by constant battle by our better angels and our darkest impulses. And what a president says in that battle matters. It's time for our better angels to prevail.

"Tonight, the whole world is watching America. And I believe that at our best, America is a beacon for the world. We will lead not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example."

Follow the latest developments with RNZ's live blog.

At the age of 77, Joe Biden will be the oldest president in American history, while Harris will be the first ever female vice-president.

Introducing the new President-elect, Harris thanked the American people "who make up our beautiful country" and thanked them for turning out in record numbers to make their voices heard.

"I know times have been challenging ... for four years you marched and organised for equality and justice... and then you voted. You delivered a clear message."

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - NOVEMBER 07: Vice President-elect Kamala Harris addresses the nation from the Chase Center November 07, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Photo: AFP

She said Biden will help the United States regain its sense of purpose.

She said was was thinking about all the women who had paved the way for this night.

"Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all, including the Black women who are so often overlooked, but prove they are the backbone of our democracy.

"All the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century. One hundred years ago with the 19th amendment, 55 years ago with the Voting Rights Act and now in 2020 with a new generation of women in our country who cast their ballots and continued the fight for their fundamental right to vote and be heard.

"But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities."

In ending his address, Biden said there was nothing the United States had tried that it could not do, and he used an anecdote about his grandparents.

"As my grandpappy 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, yelled: 'No Joey, spread it'. Spread the faith. God love you all, may God bless America, and may God protect our troops."

Biden and Harris are expected to be inaugurated on 20 January 2021.

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Photo: Graphic by RNZ's Vinay Ranchhod, AFP photo

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