Joe Biden stands on the brink of becoming the next president of the United States.
He addressed the American people from Delaware on Friday night, urging them to remain calm and to stay together. He said: “Democracy works. Your vote will be counted. The purpose of our politics is not unending warfare.”
It comes at the end of another day of vote counting and frustration across America, with Donald Trump clinging to power despite the Democratic nominee’s lead increasing in critical swing states.
Despite reports that some White House aides were urging Mr Trump to concede, even as others encourage him to fight on, the president himself shows no sign of backing down.
As trickling returns from Pennsylvania and three other states made Trump’s path to a second term increasingly unlikely, Biden repeated that he believed he would win but said he would wait for the process to complete.
Instead, Biden delivered a late-night address with the tone of a president-elect and vowed to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic as new cases Friday hit a new high of more than 127,000 cases.
“We must put the anger — and the demonisation — behind us. It’s time for us to come together as a nation and heal,” Biden said in his home city of Wilmington, Delaware accompanied by his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris.
“My responsibility as president will be to represent the whole nation,” he said, drawing a stark contrast with Trump’s nearly four years of rule by provocation.
Biden said he and Harris had already been meeting experts on how to control the “skyrocketing” cases of COVID-19, which has claimed more than 230,000 lives in the United States, more than in any other country.
“I want everyone to know that on Day One, we are going to put our plan to control this virus into action, Biden said.
“That can’t save any of the lives that have been lost, but it will save a lot of lives in the months ahead.”
Biden’s lead grew inexorably in Pennsylvania, which would hand him the keys to the White House if he secures its 20 votes in the Electoral College that determines presidential races.
By late Friday he had an advantage of almost 29,000 votes over Trump, although that was still within the narrow margin that would likely trigger a recount.