United States President-elect Joe Biden on Sunday pledged to be a president who will act as a unifier and not a divider. He made the remark in his first address to the country after several news outlets projected his win on Saturday.

“I pledge to be a president who does not see red or blue states, but United States,” Biden told a crowd of cheering supporters. He added that it was time to stop treating political opponents as enemies and to lower the rhetoric. “This is the time to heal America. Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end, here and now.”

Biden thanked the citizens for voting overwhelmingly from him. “The people of this nation have spoken, they’ve delivered us a clear victory,” he said. “We’ve won with the most number of votes, 74 million, ever cast on a presidential ticket in history. I am humbled by your trust and confidence.”

He added that his government’s work will begin with getting the coronavirus crisis under control. “On Monday, I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors to help take the Biden-Harris Covid plan and convert it into an action blueprint that starts on January 20th, 2021,” Biden was quoted as saying by AP.

Democrat Kamala Harris, who made history by becoming the first woman and person of Jamaican and South Asian origin to occupy the vice-president’s post, also said that Biden will be a “healer and uniter”.

She also remembered her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, and the contribution of women of various ethnicities.

“When she [her mother] came here from India at the age of 19, she maybe didn’t quite imagine this moment. But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible. And so, I’m thinking about her and about the generations of women — Black women, Asian, White, Latina, Native American women who throughout our nation’s history 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 often, 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.”

— Kamala Harris

Harris also said that she may be the first woman to occupy the vice-president’s office but will not be the last. “Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities,” she said. “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 yourselves in a way that others may not, simply because they’ve never seen it before, but know that we will applaud you every step of the way.”

Harris added that the real work to remove systemic racism, to fight the coronavirus pandemic and rebuild the economy will begin now.

Biden will be the 46th president of the United States, several news outlets projected on Saturday. Harris will be his vice president.

Biden was Barack Obama’s vice president from 2008 to 2016, and had sought the Democratic nomination twice before – in 1988 and 2008. The 77-year-old is a six-time senator from Delaware. He is the oldest US president in history at 77, but if Trump had won, he would have been the oldest too, at 74 years.

Also read:

  1. ‘Look forward to work together’: Modi, world leaders congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
  2. Kamala Harris victory speech: ‘My mother believed deeply in an America where this is possible’