'Time to heal': Biden unveils plan to fix America

 

President-elect Joe Biden says he is seeking to "restore the soul" of America and will work to gain the confidence of the people.

Delivering his victory speech to supporters in Wilmington, Delaware, Mr Biden said it was "time to heal" and it was "time for our better angels to appear" as he thanked his wife and family.

"The people of this nation have spoken. They've delivered us a convincing victory. A clear victory," Mr Biden said.

"I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but to unify," Biden said.

Joe Biden delivers his victory speech after winning the US presidency. Picture: Getty
Joe Biden delivers his victory speech after winning the US presidency. Picture: Getty

"I sought this office to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class."It's the honour of my lifetime that so many millions of Americans have voted for that vision."

Mr Biden said the US would now face a battle to restore and defend democracy in the post-Trump era.

"The battle to control the virus. The battle to build prosperity, the battle to secure your family's healthcare. The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country," he said.

"And the battle to save our planet by getting the climate under control. The battle of restoring decency, defending democracy, and giving everybody in this country a fair shot."

Mr Biden said the opportunity to build the nation on prosperity and purpose started with putting an end to the "era of demonisation in America".

US vice President-elect Kamala Harris addresses the nation. Picture: Getty Images
US vice President-elect Kamala Harris addresses the nation. Picture: Getty Images

"I have always believed we could define America in a single word, possibilities," he said.

"We are always looking ahead to an America that is freer and more just, an America that creates dignity and respect, an America that never leaves anybody behind, an America that never gives up."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, and ladies and gentlemen, there is never, never been anything we have tried not been able to do."

Mr Biden said it was possible for Democats and Republicans to work together.

"If we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate," he said.

"And I believe this is part of the mandate of the American people, they call on us to cooperate."

"Let this grim era of demonisation in America begin to end here and now," Mr Biden said.

Speaking before Mr Biden took the stage, vice president-elect Kamala Harris thanked voters for choosing "hope, unity, science and truth".

Ms Harris, the first woman of colour and South Asian American woman to become vice president-elect, began her victory speech by quoting the late civil rights leader John Lewis, who said, "Democracy is not a state, it's not an act."

"Protecting our democracy takes struggle, takes sacrifice," she said. "But there's joy in it."

"We the people have the power to build a better future. And when our very democracy was on the ballot in this election and the very soul of America was at stake and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America."

Kamala Harris arrives to address the nation in Wilmington, Delaware. Picture: Getty
Kamala Harris arrives to address the nation in Wilmington, Delaware. Picture: Getty

Ms Harris paid tribute to her late mother Shamala Gopalan Harris.

"When she came here from India, at the age of 19, she maybe didn't quite imagine this moment. But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible," she said.

"So I am thinking about her and about the generations of women - black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women - who throughout our nation's history have paved the way for this moment tonight.

"While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last," Ms Harris said, to loud cheers from the audience.

Earlier, Scott Morrison said he had faith in the US democracy to deal with the "choppy" situation following the election of Joe Biden.

The Prime Minister said American institutions had proven they were able to deal with challenges, as he extended an invitation for President-elect Biden to come to Australia next year.

"This relationship is bigger than anyone individual and those who have the great privilege to serve in either the offices of the Prime Minister or President are the custodians of that enduring relationship," Mr Morrison said on Sunday.

"The US is one of the world's greatest democracies, alongside Australia and many others, and democracy has proven, not just in the times of still waters but when the waters can get choppy and of course we have seen that in recent times in the US.

"Democracy is the process they have always stood by to resolve such differences."

Mr Morrison also thanked President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their service.

Mr Biden will address the nation at midday (AEST) with a message of unity.

His grand-daughter, Naomi, tweeted an image of the new President-elect being hugged by his grandchildren and son Hunter after the historic win.

Mr Trump has refused to concede and is threatening further legal action over ballot counting.

BIDEN WINS

Democrat Joe Biden has won the US presidency, taking more than 270 electoral college votes with the state of Nevada and Pennsylvania called in his favour.

It comes as Americans took to the streets to celebrate in Mr Biden's hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, and other major cities such as New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles.

Mr Biden's running mate, Californian Senator Kamala Harris, will become the first female vice president.

Mr Biden released a statement welcoming the verdict.

"I am honoured and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris," he said.

"America, I'm honoured that you have chosen me to lead our great country.

The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans - whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me."

"In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America.

"With the campaign over, it's time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation.

"It's time for America to unite. And to heal.

"We are the United States of America. And there's nothing we can't do, if we do it together."

Donald Trump, however, remains defiant, and has not conceded defeat, and will still pursue legal challengers in the states where the vote was close. Earlier, Mr Trump said on Twitter he had won the election "by a lot".

America's first female Vice President-elect Kamala Harris posted a video of the moment she called Mr Biden, saying, "We did it! You're going to be the next president of the United States."

 

Former president Barack Obama said he "could not be prouder" to congratulate "my friends" Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

"We're fortunate that Joe's got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way. Because when he walks into the White House in January, he'll face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has - a raging pandemic, an unequal economy and justice system, a democracy at risk, and a climate in peril," Mr Obama said.

 

Outside the Philadelphia Convention Centre, hundreds claimed the victory as a personal one, with their state having pushed Mr Biden over the top of 270 electoral college votes.

Mr Biden and Ms Harris are expected to address the nation later on Saturday (local time) from his Delaware campaign base.

But the path to the White House remains unclear, with Donald Trump having launched several lawsuits to cling on to the presidency, claiming Democrats have cheated.

If these fail Mr Biden, who will turn 78 this month, is set to become the oldest ever US president.

It's a remarkable bookend to his public life, which started when he was the youngest elected senator 47 years ago.

 

 

WORLD LEADERS CONGRATULATE BIDEN

World leaders including Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Nicola Sturgeon and Micheal Martin rushed to congratulate Mr Biden.

It comes as Americans took to the streets to welcome the result, with thousands gathering in cities including Washington DC, New York and California for spontaneous parties.

PELOSI: 'BIDEN IS A UNIFIER'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said Mr Biden would help bring the country together after Mr Trump's polarising presidency.

"Joe Biden is a unifier because he is determined to bring people together," Mrs Pelosi said.

A record number of Americans turned out to give their verdict on Mr Trump's first term, which was marked by the highs of a soaring economy and foreign policy victories such as the defeat of ISIS and new Middle East peace deals.

But it was rarely easy, with Mr Trump's untraditional approach, divisive language and obsessive need to dominate the national spotlight tearing the country's social fabric.

 

TRUMP DEFIANT: 'I WON BY A LOT'

Mr Trump appears to have no intention of going quietly, having claimed the ballot was stolen just last night, and vowing to take his battle to the Supreme Court.

Team Trump immediately slammed the results, with a statement from the president vowing to keep making legal challenges and repeating his claims that Republican ballot watchers have been blocked access to counting in Philadelphia.

"The simple fact is this election is far from over. Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor," Mr Trump said in a statement released by his campaign while he was golfing in Virginia.

"Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.

"The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots. This is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election. It remains shocking that the Biden campaign refuses to agree with this basic principle and wants ballots counted even if they are fraudulent, manufactured, or cast by ineligible or deceased voters.

"Only a party engaged in wrongdoing would unlawfully keep observers out of the count room - and then fight in court to block their access.

"So what is Biden hiding? I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands."

Before the result was called, Mr Trump took to Twitter to say he had "won by a lot". Twitter flagged the tweet.

It comes as Mr Trump, who has described the entire election as a "fraud", already launched several lawsuits to cling on to the presidency, claiming Democrats have cheated.

Mr Trump's unfounded accusations of voter fraud have been condemned by some of his fellow Republicans, while some top party figures have maintained their support.

Senator Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate who has been strongly critical of Mr Trump, was among those speaking out.

"He is wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt and stolen," Romney said in a statement, while noting that Trump nevertheless had the right to pursue legal remedies if he had evidence of fraud.

"Doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundation of the republic, and recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions."

 

AMERICANS TAKE TO THE STREETS

Joyous New Yorkers poured into the streets after Mr Biden defeated Mr Trump to win the White House, erupting in celebration as the business mogul and former star of The Apprentice was told: "You're fired." Revellers cheered across a city that has sparred for years with the president who rose to prominence in the New York real estate world.

A reliable Democratic stronghold, the US financial capital's disdain for the Republican's conservative policies was no secret.

On an unseasonably balmy fall day Manhattan residents yelled and clapped, some waving flags and others banging pots from their balconies as car horns punctuated the applause.

Catherine Griffin cried tears of joy outside with one of her two kids, telling reporters: "I'm happy that Trump has gone from our lives, hopefully forever."

"Having a little normalcy back in our lives, and my kids being able to see a decent human being in charge again - that just makes me happy for the day," the 47-year-old said.

Hundreds of people gathered outside Trump Tower, while large crowds at Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza - in a nod to the outgoing president's "You're fired!" catchphrase from his days hosting The Apprentice reality show - chanted: "Trump got fired!"

Thousands more began amassing at Times Square and Columbus Circle, where a demonstration to protect the integrity of ballot tallying turned into a giant party.

"Biden has won finally," said JD Beebe, a 35-year-old who works at an online company.

"I just feel like it's a very American moment," he said, adding: "I know the country is split almost 50/50, but I still think this is a very good day for democracy.

"I'm honestly looking forward to not every day having to be on a roller coaster about what ridiculous thing our leadership is going to say, or what they're going to do to any oppressed portion of the community."

 

 

US CELEBRATES: 'WE CAN GET BACK ON TRACK NOW'

Meanwhile, the sound of car horns throughout the city of brotherly love, where the election result handed the Presidency to Joe Biden, was ironic after weeks and weeks of Trump supporters sounding off whenever they saw a flag honouring their orange-haired hero.

"I am really proud to be a Philadephian," said medical student Anna through a huge smile as she celebrated outside the Philadelphia Convention Centre where the vote was declared in Biden's favour. Thousands of Biden supporters surrounded her, while a couple of dozen Trumpers scowled metres away.

"Democracy did its job and we here in Philadelphia pushed democracy over the line."

Jermaine Pave was also partying outside of the convention centre - and he admitted he had not always been a Biden Believer.

"I had mixed feelings about Joe Biden because I didn't know what he stood for," Mr Pave said.

"But what Joe Biden is all about is perseverance. He's all about staying true, even through the hardest times."

Then he laughs and points across the street to despondent Trumpers who look like they are having a very bad day indeed.

"I love that they look sad over there!" he laughs.

His pal Andrew Toriello said the election result had delivered the US a fresh opportunity to build a future based on hope and respect.

"I was a Bernie fan, I had my doubts about Joe, but he has come through," Mr Toriello said.

"The cities - Philly, Detroit, Chicago - they carried the country out of fascism."

But where there are happy winners, there are inevitably unhappy losers.

"America is dead, there is no freedom left in this country," opined Trumper Grace Ruska.

"This cap is famous," she says, pointing to her red MAGA hat. "We cannot give up, not now, not ever."

But today belonged to the winners, like Kate and Wilbur in their party hats, squealing with delight when asked if they felt good about the future of the US.

"Yes! We can get back on track now. This is fantastic."


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