The president-elect’s speech in Wilmington was yet another victory lap, but Biden did not hold back on criticism of GOP intransigence as denying the will of the American people. Unlike his predecessors, Trump has refused to concede, even after Biden’s clear electoral college victory today. But Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have yet to publicly declare Biden the president elect.
All of the major broadcast and cable networks carried the speech, including Fox News, which had a chyron that read, “Biden speaks after electoral college affirms victory.” The network projected Biden as the winner on Nov. 7, but some of its personalities, like Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo and Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs, have provided an uncritical platform for the unfounded claims and conspiracy theories.
With more than 81 million votes cast for him and Kamala Harris, Biden said that “democracy worked,” with record turnout in the midst of a pandemic.
“Our democracy — pushed, tested, threatened — proved to be resilient, true and strong,” Biden said.
Often clearing his throat, Biden called the turnout in the election a “number so big that this election now ranks as the clearest demonstration of the true will of the American people. One of the most amazing demonstrations of civic duty we’ve ever seen in our country. It should be celebrated, not attacked.”
Trump’s actions, which include making false claims that the election was rigged, have raised concerns that it could lead to violence, as his supporters refuse to accept the results.
Biden, however, noted that his 306 electoral votes was the same number that Trump won in 2016 and declared a “landslide.”
“By his own standards, these numbers represented a clear victory then, and I respectfully suggest they do so now,” Biden said.
Biden did make gestures of unity, but he made a point of noting that Trump has exhausted his election challenges with lawsuits that have been repeatedly rejected in the courts, even by Trump appointees. Biden singled out a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas that sought to invalidate the votes of four other states, noting that 17 Republican attorneys general and 126 GOP members of Congress supported the challenge. The Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit on Friday.
“This legal maneuver was an effort by elected officials and one group of states to try to get the Supreme Court to wipe out the votes of more than 20 million Americans in other states, and to hand the presidency to a candidate who lost the electoral college, lost the popular vote and lost each and every one of the states whose votes they were trying to reverse,” Biden said.
“It’s a position so extreme, we’ve never seen it before,” Biden said, adding that it was “a position that refused to respect the will of the people, refused to respect the rule of law and refused to honor our Constitution.”
He also chided Trump’s unfounded claims as leading to threats of violence against state and local election officials, who he said were patriotic Americans are subject to so much .” He praised them for enduring “enormous political pressure, verbal abuse and even threats of physical violence.”
“We owe those public servants a debt of gratitude,” Biden said.
Biden quoted the prayer of St. Francis, ending his speech by saying, “As we start the hard work to be done, may this moment give us the strength to rebuild this house of ours upon a rock that can never be washed away, as in the prayer of Saint Francis, for where there is discord, union, where there is doubt, faith, where there is darkness, light.”