Biden requires unity and therapeutic after the electoral faculty confirms his victory
WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden called for unity and healing in a deeply divided nation on Monday, hours after voters across the country confirmed his electoral college victory over President Donald Trump.
"The integrity of our elections will be preserved," said Biden. "Now is the time to turn the page, unite, heal."
Biden won 306 votes on Monday, the same number as Trump in 2016.
"By [Trump] own standards, those numbers were a clear victory then, and I respectfully suggest that they do so now," Biden said in prepared remarks at a theater in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden hailed the record turnout in this year's election, with 155 million voters voting by mail and in person despite the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
"The flame of democracy was kindled in this nation a long time ago. And we now know that nothing – not even a pandemic – or abuse of power – can put out that flame," he said.
Biden also praised local officials and election workers, many of whom put their health and in some cases personal safety at risk, for administering the election and counting the millions of votes.
"We are indebted to these officials," he said. "They haven't moved into the limelight. But thanks to them, our democracy survived. Once again, they prove that it is everyday Americans who are filled with honor, character and decency and who form the heart of the nation."
But Biden's initially optimistic tone changed dramatically as he addressed Trump's unprecedented legal and legislative efforts to reverse election results that year.
In particular, Biden targeted a Hail Mary lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General in the Supreme Court to disqualify tens of millions of votes in four swing states where Biden won the referendum.
Biden said the allegations made in the lawsuit represent "a position as extreme as we have never seen it before. A position that refused to respect the rule of the people, refused to respect the rule of law and refused to uphold our constitution. "
"Fortunately, a unanimous Supreme Court immediately and completely rejected these efforts," said Biden. "The court has given President Trump a clear signal that they will not be part of an unprecedented attack on democracy."
The president, his election campaign and his political allies have filed dozens of lawsuits since election day, urging federal and state courts to annul election results on unsubstantiated allegations of irregularities.
As these efforts failed one after another, Trump also personally pressured Republican lawmakers to intervene in the selection of individual voters. But the vote at the electoral college on Monday was a failed end to this move.
State and local officials knew the election "was an honest one. It was free and fair," Biden said. "You saw it with your own eyes and you wouldn't be bullied for saying otherwise."
After Biden's electoral college victory on Monday, he was officially recognized as president-elect by a number of Republican senators, including Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana and Roy Blunt of Missouri.
Neither Trump nor Trump's presidential campaign reacted immediately to the results of the electoral college on Monday night. The president has vowed to "keep fighting", although it was unclear after the confirmed election on Monday what more Trump had to fight.