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Former Vice President Joe Biden addressed the nation on Friday night, as several thousand votes were still being counted in the tight presidential race, urging Americans to remain calm and sketching out his plans to unify the country.
In his address, the former vice president made clear that “we don’t have a final declaration of victory yet” but said that the present numbers expressed “we’re going to win this race.” He pointed to pulling ahead of Trump in votes in Georgia and Pennsylvania since Thursday as one example as well as his leads in Arizona and Nevada, and expressed his confidence that when all votes are counted, “We’re going to win this race with a clear majority of the nation behind us.”
The Democratic candidate’s speech was also grand in its scope, assuring viewers that he and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, were already consulting with experts on the economy and COVID-19 to prepare for a potential new administration. Finally, he spoke to repairing the divide between Americans that the tight election has so clearly depicted: “In America, we hold strong views, we have strong disagreements and that’s okay. Strong disagreements are inevitable in a democracy, strong disagreements are healthy,” he said. “We have to remember the purpose of our politics isn’t total, unrelenting, unending warfare. No, our purpose of politics… isn’t to fan the flame of conflict but to solve problems.”
Biden added that he would work as hard for Americans who voted for him as who voted against him, “It’s time for us to come together as a nation to heal. It’s not going to be easy. But we have to try.”
Hollywood activists responded to the unifying speech with a sense of relief. Comedian Billy Eichner tweeted, “I clapped alone in my apt. RELIEVED.” Insecure actor and comedian Natasha Rothwell tweeted, “We may be opponents but we’re not enemies.” – The next POTUS” and “It’s kind of jarring to hear common sense and full sentences coming out of a president’s mouth again.”
The Wire and The Deuce creator David Simon similarly expressed that the speech signaled a return to normalcy in political addresses: “Just listened to Joe Biden speak. Never mind simple decency. Somehow forgot how much I missed basic sanity,” he tweeted.
Tennis legend and the subject of the 2013 film Battle of the Sexes Billie Jean King tweeted, “‘We may be opponents, but we’re not enemies. We’re Americans.’ A terrific and unifying speech by Joe Biden tonight. #presidential.” Actor Alyssa Milano also quoted Biden line in her own tweet, repeating his line, “We are opponents — not enemies.”
Say Anything actor Ione Skye noted that Trump wasn’t named once in Biden’s address: “I love that Biden never mentioned ‘he who shall not be named’ in that speech,” she wrote.
The union IATSE, which endorsed Biden months ago, called the speech “unifying” and pointed to their members’ work behind the scenes: “.@JoeBiden’s unifying speech tonight was UNION MADE, as IATSE members provided the labor for the stage production in Delaware. #UnionStrong,” the organization tweeted.
Supermarket Sweep host Leslie Jones, for her part, who trended on Twitter on Friday due to her commentary on cable news election coverage, tweeted not long after the speech: “Ok the “Leslie Jones Trump concession speech” challenge what y’all think he will say?!! I can not wait to see y’all answers!! Memes gifs do it all and have some fucking fun!!”
Three days after Election Day, there was still no consensus in the 2020 presidential election, with several key states remaining to be projected for either candidate.
Speaking in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday afternoon, Biden said, “Democracy’s sometimes risky. It sometimes requires a little patience as well. That patience has been rewarded now for more than 240 years with a sister of governance that has been the envy of the world. The senator and I continue to feel very good about where things stand. We have no doubt that when the count is finished, the senator and I will be declared the winners. So I ask everyone to stay calm.”
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