Biden calls for healing as he celebrates 'clear' victory over Trump

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By Graham Slaughter and Jackie Dunham, CTV Montreal

TORONTO -- U.S. president-elect Joe Biden celebrated his win over Donald Trump as “clear" and "convincing” in a hometown victory speech as he vowed to waste no time cracking down on the COVID-19 pandemic and called on Americans to set aside their differences once and for all.

“This is a time to heal in America,” Biden said Saturday night on stage in Wilmington, Delaware as a drive-in rally of masked supporters cheered.

“Let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to each other again.”

Biden’s speech came roughly eight hours after he was declared winner of the U.S. election, thanks in large part to Midwestern and suburban voters who helped him deny Trump four more years in the White House. He won both the electoral college and the popular vote, and is the first presidential candidate in history to surpass 74 million votes.

At 77, Biden is the oldest person ever elected U.S. president.

Hailing the record-breaking turnout, Biden promised to be a president for all Americans, no matter if they voted for him or not.

“I’ve pledged to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify. Who doesn’t see red states and blue states, who only sees the United States.”

Combatting COVID-19 was a core message in Biden’s campaign. He announced that, starting Monday, he plans to assemble a task force of scientists and experts who will help him confront the crisis as soon as he’s inaugurated in January.

“I will spare no effort, none, or any commitment to turn around this pandemic,” he said.

Biden was introduced by vice president-elect Kamala Harris, who makes history as the first woman and the first person of colour elected to the nation’s second-highest office.

Harris said that, while she may be the first female vice-president, she won’t be the last.

“Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities. And to the children of our country: regardless of your gender, your country has sent you a clear message. Dream with ambition. Lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before,” she said.

“And to the American people, no matter who you voted for, I will strive to be a president like Joe was to president Obama: loyal, honest and prepared, waking up every day and thinking of you and your family.”

Biden reached 290 electoral votes on Saturday morning after The Associated Press called Pennsylvania and Nevada in his favour. AP’s electoral college vote count includes Biden winning Arizona, which other major news networks had yet to declare as they await the results from about 450,000 outstanding ballots.

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