Joe Biden, making his victory speech Saturday night, gave a shout-out to the LGBTQ+ community as part of the diverse coalition that helped elect him and Kamala Harris as president and vice president, while both pledged to unify the nation and Harris noted the historic nature of her election.
“I am proud of the campaign we built and ran,” President-elect Biden told a jubilant crowd in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., a few hours after he was declared the winner of the election with Pennsylvania putting him over the top in the Electoral College. “I am proud of the coalition we put together, the broadest and most diverse in history.
“Democrats, Republicans, and independents. Progressives, moderates, and conservatives. Young and old. Urban, suburban, and rural. Gay, straight, transgender. White. Latino. Asian. Native American. And especially for those moments when this campaign was at its lowest — the African-American community stood up again for me. They always have my back, and I’ll have yours. I said from the outset I wanted a campaign that represented America, and I think we did that. Now that’s what I want the administration to look like.”
He said he understood the disappointment of those who voted for Donald Trump, and he promised to be a president for everyone.
“I ran as a proud Democrat,” he said. “I will now be an American president. I will 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.”
“Americans have called on us to marshal the forces of decency and the forces of fairness,” he continued. “To marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time.”
These include the battles to end the COVID-19 pandemic, restore the economy, preserve and expand health care, “save the climate,” and “achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country.”
He called on Democrats and Republicans to work together to expand opportunity to all. “Too many dreams have been deferred for too long,” he said, a reference to the poem “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes, a Black gay man. “We must make the promise of the country real for everybody — no matter their race, their ethnicity, their faith, their identity, or their disability.”
Harris, preceding Biden on the stage, said that in choosing him to be president, Americans “chose hope, unity, decency, science, and, yes, truth.”
“Joe is a healer,” she added. “A uniter. A tested and steady hand. A person whose own experience of loss gives him a sense of purpose that will help us, as a nation, reclaim our own sense of purpose. And a man with a big heart who loves with abandon.”
Harris thanked her family and Biden’s, and noted that her late mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, an immigrant from India, is “the woman most responsible for my presence here today.”
“I’m thinking about her and about the generations of women — Black women. Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment tonight,” said Harris, the first woman to be elected vice president, the first Black woman, and the first woman of South Asian descent. “Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty, and justice for all, including the Black women, who are too often overlooked but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy.
“All the women who worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century: 100 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.
“Tonight, I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision — to see what can be unburdened by what has been — I stand on their shoulders. And what a testament it is to Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country and select a woman as his vice president.”
She added, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I 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, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before. And we will applaud you every step of the way.”
She also promised to be the type of vice president Biden was to President Obama — “loyal, honest, and prepared, waking up every day thinking of you and your families.”
At the end of the event her family and Biden’s joined them onstage as fireworks went off and the crowd continued to cheer.
Watch Biden’s and Harris’s speeches below.