'We're gonna win this race': Biden doesn't declare victory in Friday-night speech, instead focusing in on on unity and combatting the COVID-19 pandemic

  • At the Biden-Harris campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday, President-elect Joe Biden spoke with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris by his side.
  • Biden did not declare victory but urged patience and trust in the vote-counting process.
  • Biden's message revolved around unity, the mounting COVID-19 crisis, and the work ahead.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President-elect Joe Biden spoke on Friday night at the Biden-Harris campaign HQ in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden and his campaign did not declare victory but stressed the former vice president's lead.

Insider and Decision Desk HQ called the race for Biden after projecting a win in Pennsylvania putting him over the 270 electoral vote threshold. (You can read why Decision Desk HQ and Insider called it for Biden.)

As Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stood by his side, Biden began by saying, "we don't have a final declaration of victory yet, but the numbers tell a clear and convincing story — we're gonna win this race."

In his speech, Biden talked about his mounting leads in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Nevada. "We're on track to 300 electoral votes, the clear majority of the nation behind us," Biden said, adding that he had received the most votes of any candidate ever.

Biden also touched on the slow burn of the electoral vote count and noted with his confirmed victories, "We rebuilt the blue wall that crumbled a few years ago."

While conceding that the slow vote counting — the result of increased use of mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic — can be "numbing" he urged Americans to be patient with the democratic process and assured viewers that every vote would be counted.

This did not stop him from laying out his vision for the future, and explain that he and Harris had already started work on combatting the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 236,000 and infected 9.7 million in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University data. During his speech, his main focus was largely on the new daily records of coronavirus cases in the US, and on the economic recovery ahead.

"There are 240,000 empty chairs at the dinner table, and we will never be able to measure all that pain," Biden said. Trump did not mention the rising COVID-19 cases in his speech yesterday.

"Our hearts break with you, we are with you," Biden said, adding that their future administration "can save a lot of lives" in the months ahead, underscoring the economic crisis gripping Americans. 

Biden's speech also revolved heavily around the need to be united and his immediate vision in governing. 

"Our journey is to a more perfect union," Biden said, appealing to Trump voters, calling them opponents and not enemies. "The purpose of our politics isn't total unrelenting warfare, not to fan the flames of conflict, it's to solve problems," Biden said.

Biden's tone and message struck a vastly different chord than President Trump's over the course of the week after Election Day.

Trump held an early electoral college lead after winning Ohio and Florida on November 3. Many battleground states, including Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada have yet to finish counting votes, and the tallies coming in mainly from mail-in ballots have been in Biden's favor, though only Pennsylvania was called for Biden by Insider and DDHQ.

Trump, who has been in the White House occasionally tweeting today, suggested several times in the weeks leading up to the election that he would not accept the outcome, that the process was "rigged" against him, and that the increase in mail-in voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic would result in widespread voter fraud.

Sonam Sheth contributed to this report.

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