Kamala Harris addresses the nation as VP for the first time

Kamala Harris delivers historic first speech as vice-president elect saying Americans chose ‘hope, unity and decency’ – and tells crowd ‘I may be the first woman in this office, but I won’t be the last’

  • Kamala Harris addressed the nation for the first time since the election was finally called on Saturday
  • She spoke before Biden outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware – the town where Biden centered his 48-year political career
  • Harris said voters chose ‘hope and unity, decency, science, and the truth,’ in choosing her and Biden over President Donald Trump 
  • She also made reference to her history-making role as Biden´s running mate, saying: ‘While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last’ 
  • Biden scored a narrow victory for the presidency and defeated Trump after reaching 273 Electoral College votes by winning Pennsylvania   
  • Biden will become the oldest president when he takes office at 78, the second Catholic and and is the third person to knock off an incumbent in 100 years, and the first since Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992 

Kamala Harris put her place in history at the center of her first speech as Vice President-elect, as she joined President-elect Joe Biden on stage to celebrate their victory over President Donald Trump on Saturday.

Harris spoke first, outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware – the town where Biden centered his 48-year political career. She entered the stage dressed all in white while Mary J Blige’s track Work That played. 

‘Good evening, good evening, good evening,’ she said, over the sound of honking car horns at the drive-in rally.

Harris said voters had chosen ‘hope, unity, decency, science, and, yes, truth,’ in choosing her and Biden over President Donald Trump.

She also made reference to her history-making role as Biden´s running mate, saying: ‘While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last.’

Harris and Biden celebrated their victory over President Donald Trump Saturday as the man they defeated refused to accept defeat

Harris thanked the poll workers, saying ‘you have protected the integrity of our democracy.’ Never before had there been such focus on the count

Harris introduced Biden on stage to cheers for adoring fans in Wilmington, Delaware

Vice President-elect  Kamala Harris and her husband Doug pose with President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill

Harris noted her ascension to the role comes 100 years after the 19th Amendment was ratified and 55 years after the signing of the Voting Rights Act, which expanded who could participate in American democracy.

She praised Joe Biden for having ‘the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country’ by selecting a woman as his running mate.

‘Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a county of possibilities,’ Harris said.

Harris opened her first speech as Vice President-elect with a tribute to civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis, who died in July.

‘Congressman John Lewis before his passing wrote: ‘Democracy is not a state, it is an act.’ Democracy is not guaranteed. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it.

‘It takes struggle, it takes sacrifice, but there is joy in it and there is progress because we the people have the power to build a better future.

‘When our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, the very soul of America at stake, and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America.’ 

She also thanked the poll workers, saying ‘you have protected the integrity of our democracy.’ Never before had there been such focus on the count.

 Supporters were gathered in and around their cars and even more people had clustered outside the perimeter security to cheer on the soon-to-be president and vice president

Supporters were gathered in and around their cars and even more people had clustered outside the perimeter security to cheer on the soon-to-be president

Madam Vice President: Kamala Harris addressed the nation for the first time since the election was finally called on Saturday

US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris bump fists before delivering remarks in Wilmington, Delaware

Supporters were gathered in and around their cars – drive-in movie theater-style to see Harris and Biden

She thanked her family for their support, thanking her husband Doug, children Cole and Ella, and sister Maya.

 She also paid tribute to her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris, saying she is ‘most responsible for my presence here today.’

She added: ‘When she came here from India at the age of 19, maybe she didn’t quite imagine this moment.’

‘But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible. So, 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.

‘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.’

READ VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT KAMALA HARRIS’S VICTORY SPEECH IN FULL

Good evening.

Congressman John Lewis, before his passing, wrote: ‘Democracy is not a state. It is an act.’

And what he meant was that America’s democracy is not guaranteed. It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it, to guard it and never take it for granted. And protecting our democracy takes struggle. It takes sacrifice. There is joy in it and there is progress.

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

To our campaign staff and volunteers, this extraordinary team — thank you for bringing more people than ever before into the democratic process and for making this victory possible.

To the poll workers and election officials across our country who have worked tirelessly to make sure every vote is counted — our nation owes you a debt of gratitude as you have protected the integrity of our democracy.

And to the American people who make up our beautiful country — thank you for turning out in record numbers to make your voices heard. I know times have been challenging, especially the last several months. The grief, sorrow, and pain. The worries and the struggles.

But we’ve also witnessed your courage, your resilience, and the generosity of your spirit. For 4 years, you marched and organized for equality and justice, for our lives, and for our planet. And then, you voted. You delivered a clear message.

You chose hope, unity, decency, science, and, yes, truth. You chose Joe Biden as the next President of the United States of America. Joe is a healer. 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. It’s his love for Jill, who will be an incredible First Lady.

It’s his love for Hunter, Ashley, his grandchildren, and the entire Biden family. And while I first knew Joe as Vice President, I really got to know him as the father who loved Beau, my dear friend, who we remember here today.

To my husband Doug, our children Cole and Ella, my sister Maya, and our whole family — I love you all more than I can express. We are so grateful to Joe and Jill for welcoming our family into theirs on this incredible journey.

And to the woman most responsible for my presence here today — my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who is always in our hearts. When she came here from India at the age of 19, maybe she didn’t quite imagine this moment.

But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible. So, 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.

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.

But 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.

To the American people: No matter who you voted for, I will strive to be the Vice President that Joe was to President Obama — loyal, honest, and prepared, waking up every day thinking of you and your families. Because now is when the real work begins.

The Hard work. The Necessary work. The Good work. The essential work to save lives and beat this pandemic. To rebuild our economy so it works for working people. To root out systemic racism in our justice system and society.

To combat the climate crisis. To unite our country and heal the soul of our nation. The road ahead will not be easy. But America is ready. And so are Joe and I.

We have elected a president who represents the best in us. A leader the world will respect and our children can look up to. A Commander in Chief who will respect our troops and keep our country safe. And a President for all Americans.

It is now my great honor to introduce the President-elect of the United States of America, Joe Biden.

 

In Joe Biden’s speech, he proclaimed his victory over Donald Trump, saying: ‘The people have delivered us a clear victory.’

The 77-year-old president-elect took to the stage to cheers from the crowd after being introduced by Harris.

In his 15 minute speech to the nation Biden called on Americans to come together after the presidential election. 

He made an appeal to Trump voters and offered a message of hope and sympathy to those who have suffered from the coronavirus pandemic and its resulting affect on the economy.

He thanked his supporters, particularly African American voters who gave him the Democratic nomination and turned out in the general election, along with his campaign staff. 

‘We’re seeing all over the nation, cities across the country, indeed across the world outpouring of joy and hope and renewed faith. Tomorrow will bring a better day. And I’m humbled by the trust and confidence you’ve placed in me. I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify. Who doesn’t see red states and blue states. Only sees the United States,’ he said.   

 

Hail to the chief: Joe Biden addressed the nation for the first time since the drawn out election was called in his favor Saturday

Biden thanked his supporters, particularly African American voters who gave him the Democratic nomination and turned out in the general election, along with his campaign staff

The new president-elect took to the stage in Wilmington, Delaware after being introduced by Kamala Harris, his vice-president elect

Biden reached out to the 71 million people who voted for President Trump, vowing to be a president for the entire country and calling on the nation to heal.

‘I said at the outset I wanted to represent this campaign to represent and look like America. We’ve done that. Now for all those of you who voted President Trump, I understand your disappointment tonight. I’ve lost a couple of times myself, but now let’s give each other a chance,’ he said as supporters honked their cars and cheered.

The 2020 presidential election was one of the most divisive in history. President Trump has yet to concede and vowed to launch of series of lawsuits in battleground states on Monday to contest the result.

But Biden said it was time to ‘stop treating our opponents as our enemies.’

Biden reached out to the 71 million people who voted for President Trump, vowing to be a president for the entire country and calling on the nation to heal

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her family watch fireworks on stage in Wilmington

After the speeches Kamala and Doug joined the Biden family on stage as the fireworks went off and music played.

‘It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again, and to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They are Americans. They are Americans. The Bible tells us to everything there is a season, a time to build, a time to reap, and a time to sow and a time to heal,’ he said.

‘This is the time to heal in America,’ he added.

‘I will govern as an American president. I’ll work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did,’ Biden vowed.

Biden – whose primary campaign was salvaged in large part by African American support in South Carolina and other states – gave a prominent shout-out to black supporters.

‘The African American community stood up again for me. You’ve always had my back – and I’ll have yours,’ he said.

He also spoke of ‘the battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country.’

Supporters of President-elect Joe Biden wait outside the Chase Center for Biden to address the nation

Hundreds of cars filled the parking lot – drive-in movie theater-style – and more than 1,000 people sat on the roofs of their vehicles to see the new President-elect and Vice President-elect

Supporters were gathered in and around their cars – drive-in movie theater-style to see Harris and Biden

Supporters sat on top of their vehicles to get a better view of Harris and Biden

Biden supporters unable to reach the watch party due to Secret Service road blocks congregate below the Philadelphia 76ers facility in Wilmington

In the hours leading up to Biden and Harris’ arrival to the Chase Center, spontaneous cheering broke out and Lady Gaga – who headlined Biden’s final rally in Pennsylvania – loudly played.

Hundreds of cars filled the parking lot – drive-in movie theater-style – and more than 1,000 people sat on the roofs of their vehicles or milled around in small groups nearby, many cheering and waving American flags or Biden campaign signs.  

Supporters were gathered in and around their cars and even more people had clustered outside the perimeter security to cheer on the soon-to-be president. 

After the speeches Kamala and Doug joined the Biden family on stage as the fireworks went off and music played.

Harris brought her 4-year-old great-niece, Amara Ajuga – the daughter of Harris’s niece, Meena Harris – to the forefront. Biden bent down to talk to the young girl and later the president-elect held his youngest grandchild, Hunter’s baby boy, while ‘Simply the Best’ played.

The two families, wearing face masks, waved to the cheering and honking crowd of supporters. Only Biden removed his mask.

The group enjoyed every moment of their victory – screeching in delight and pointing when the fireworks spelled out ‘Biden’ and hugging each other.

We did it! The moment Kamala Harris congratulated Joe Biden on becoming President-elect 

It was Pennsylvania, the state where the former vice president was born – that allowed him to clinch the needed Electoral College votes to eject Trump from the White House. Nevada later was called in his favor. 

The president has yet to concede and instead was tweeting Saturday night, ‘I WON. BAD THINGS HAPPENED. 71,000,000 Legal Votes. The most EVER for a sitting President!’

HOW THE VOTE FINALLY STACKED UP FOR JOE

The US election was finally called for Joe Biden on Saturday after an agonizing, four-day wait that kept the country and the world on the edge of their seats. 

The deciding factor was a late-morning update from Philadelphia which increased Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania, the state with the most electoral college votes, which finally gave him enough to claim the White House. 

Pennsylvania holds 20 electoral college votes and until he won it, Biden had 253. To win the presidency, a candidate needs 270.

To be able to call the state for him, the major news networks and the Associated Press had to wait until his lead there grew to 0.5% and the number of remaining outstanding ballots was small enough. 

They also had to look at where they were coming from. The only outstanding ballots in Pennsylvania on Saturday were in two Biden strongholds; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. 

As they tallied up the votes gradually, it became decreasingly likely that Trump would recover enough of a lead to possibly win, until, on Saturday, the networks deemed that it was impossible. 

That decision was prompted by an update at around 11.15am. Of 3,000 ballots counted in Philadelphia, Biden won 2,431 and Trump won just 356.

It expanded Biden’s overall lead in the state of Pennsylvania to 34,414, giving him 3,325,624 over Trump’s 3,311,310 which boiled down to 49.6% for Biden and 49.1% for Trump and finally created the magic 0.5% margin the networks required to call it. 

With Pennsylvania decided, the remaining votes in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and North Carolina – all of which were undecided at the time – became irrelevant to the outcome of the presidential race.  

If Biden hadn’t won Pennsylvania first, he would have needed Arizona – which has 11 electoral college votes – and Nevada – which has 6 – to claim victory.  

Nevada called their race for Biden shortly afterwards, boosting Biden’s electoral college total to 279. 

In Nevada, he won with 642,604 votes to Trump’s 642,604. That gave him a lead of 25,699, and gave him 49.91% of the vote compared with Trump’s 47.92%. 

In Arizona, the count is ongoing but Biden is leading with 49.5% of the vote over Trump’s 48.9%. 

Biden has 1,626,943 votes and Trump has 1,660,370, giving Biden a lead of more than 33,000. There are believed to be around 90,000 votes outstanding, which is why many networks have not called the state for either candidate yet. 

In Georgia, there will be a recount because the vote is too close. Biden leads there but only by around 7,000 votes and 0.1%. 

North Carolina still hasn’t declared its results. Trump has been winning there comfortably throughout the process, as he has been in Alaska – another state yet to declare. 

Together, they hold 18 electoral college votes (15 for North Carolina and 3 for Alaska) which would not have been enough to put him on a path to victory. 

There is no straight answer for why it took Pennsylvania and the other states so long to count their remaining ballots. 

One of the factors was mail-in ballots and a difference in the deadlines for them in each state. 

In Pennsylvania, for example, officials had been ordered that they were not allowed to count mail-in ballots in one county until 5pm on Friday night. That accounted for some 29,000 votes. 

In Nevada, they will continue to count mail-in ballots until November 10. They will also continue to count what are known as segregated ballots until November 12.  

Of the mail-in ballots, Biden performed significantly better. 

Trump had instructed his supporters to vote in person on election day rather than risk what he is convinced is mail-in election fraud across the country. 

Biden, more conscious of the risks of COVID-19, advised people to vote early and vote by mail if they could which explains why a huge number of the mail-in votes went his way. 

Segregated ballots are another reason for the delay in the states. 

Segregated ballots or provisional ballots, as they are also known, are ballots that have to be checked: they can’t be scanned into the system with a quick glance like the others. 

They involve flaws like the wrong date on them, mismatched signatures or other trivial mistakes that can delay the counting process. 

These ballots are a factor in every election but they are seldom as important as they have been in this race because normally, margins are wider than they have been. 

States therefore don’t usually have to rely on these more time-consuming ballots to reach a decision. 

Biden actually set the record, receiving more than 75 million and counting.

Biden’s journey to the Chase Center stage started with his first election to the Senate, exactly 48 years ago, on November 7, 1972. But the last few days were drawn out – as ballots in swing states Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona kept being counted. 

Trump, in the meantime, rage-tweeted and filed lawsuits publicized by his most loyal allies, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Biden and Harris – who is set to become the nation’s first female vice president and first veep of color – marked the end of the Democratic National Convention in August outside the same venue.

Joe Biden’s grandchildren told him he had the won the election when it was called for by at 11.25am Saturday – then hugged him with his son Hunter.

Naomi Biden, Hunter’s daughter, tweeted a picture of the moment they celebrated the end of a rollercoaster election and count, as in cities across America crowds took to the streets. 

Meanwhile Kamala Harris, the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, posted video of her celebratory phone call with Biden on Twitter Saturday.

‘We did it, Joe. You’re going to be the next president of the United States,’ Harris is heard telling her running mate in the brief clip.

Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff, an attorney who will also make history as the nation’s first Second Gentleman, posted a photo of the couple hugging, tweeting: ‘So proud of you.’ 

Harris and Emhoff were married in 2014, and have raised two children from his previous marriage.

Emhoff took a leave of absence from DLA Piper, where he is a partner, following the announcement that Harris would join Biden on the Democratic presidential ticket. 

As the highest-ranking woman ever elected in American government, Harris’ victory gives hope to women who were devastated by Hillary Clinton’s defeat four years ago.

Harris has been a rising star in Democratic politics for much of the last two decades, serving as San Francisco’s district attorney and California’s attorney general before becoming a U.S. senator. 

After Harris ended her own 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, Joe Biden tapped her as his running mate. They will be sworn in as president and vice president on January 20.

During the campaign, President Donald Trump and his campaign attempted to portray Harris as a far-left influence who would bring a radical agenda to the Biden administration.

As the election was called for Biden on Saturday, Harris tweeted: ‘This election is about so much more than Joe Biden or me. It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it. 

‘We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started.’ 

Biden’s running mate selection carried added significance because he will be the oldest president ever inaugurated, at 78, and hasn’t committed to seeking a second term in 2024.

Harris was born in 1964 to two parents active in the civil rights movement. Shyamala Gopalan, from India, and Donald Harris, from Jamaica, met at the University of California, Berkeley, then a hotbed of 1960s activism. 

They divorced when Harris and her sister were girls, and Harris was raised by her late mother, whom she considers the most important influence in her life.

Kamala is Sanskrit for ‘lotus flower,’ and Harris gave nods to her Indian heritage throughout the campaign, including with a callout to her ‘chitthis,’ a Tamil word for a maternal aunt, in her first speech as Biden’s running mate. 

When Georgia Sen. David Perdue mocked her name in an October rally, the hashtag #MyNameIs took off on Twitter, with South Asians sharing the meanings behind their names. 

In contrast Trump finally reacted to the presidential election being called after almost six hours Saturday – unleashing an all-capitals tirade on Twitter saying: ‘I WON THE ELECTION.’     

As thousands partied outside the White House, he tweeted a barrage of complaints – all without evidence – that ‘bad things happened.’

Trump had learned his fate on his own golf course, and been sneaked back in to the White House by a side gate to avoid the celebrations outside about two hours before his tweet.

The election was called for Biden at 11.25am Saturday morning by television networks and the Associated Press as he passed a 30,000 lead in Pennsylvania, an agonizing four days after the polls closed. 

CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, the AP and USA Today all made the call and Fox News followed suit 10 minutes later after Biden picked up more votes in Philadelphia, where officials had been working through mail-in ballots for days. 

Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral college votes, finally pushed Biden over the line. Nevada was called for him shortly afterwards. Now, only Arizona, Alaska and North Carolina remain uncalled but none can alter the election outcome now. 

Within minutes of the call being made, spontaneous celebrations broke out in major cities as people cheered, danced and honked horns in the streets.

Trump was playing golf at the time. He has refused to accept the outcome, claiming Biden was trying to ‘falsely pose’ as the winner, vowing to keep challenging results he claims are a ‘fraud’ and creating the potential for weeks of chaos and constitutional crisis. He was on his Sterling, Virginia, course as he news broke and was photographed deep in conversation with his three golfing partners just afterwards. 


Trump arriving back at the White House on Saturday afternoon while Biden supporters flooded the area to celebrate his victory

President Trump, arriving back at the White House after finding out on the golf course that the election had been called for Biden

Trump has no immediate plans to invite Biden to an Oval Office meeting, a tradition between outgoing and incoming presidents, CNN reported. Then Barack Obama hosted Trump for such a meeting on Thursday, November 10, 2016, two days after that year’s presidential election. 

Votes in Philadelphia pushed Biden’s margin in must-win Pennsylvania to 34,558, more than 0.5%, just after 11am – putting the result in the state beyond doubt. That took him to 273 electoral votes –  putting the 77-year-old on a clear path to the White House. Less than an hour later Nevada was called by networks, putting him on 279.

The states of Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina were still to be called.  Biden was ahead in all but North Carolina, and if he stays that way he will have 302 electoral college votes, the same as Trump in 2016.

Kamala Harris, his running mate, becomes the first female vice president, and the first black and Asian-American vice president. She was out for a run when the call came.

Biden tweeted: ‘America, I’m honored 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.’ 

Jill, when tweeting the picture of them, said: ‘He will be a President for all our families.’  

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