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Biden says ‘honored’ by election, pledges to be president ‘for all Americans’

President-elect says that ‘with the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation’

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during his first campaign event as a candidate for president at Teamsters Local 249 in Pittsburgh, Penn., April 29, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during his first campaign event as a candidate for president at Teamsters Local 249 in Pittsburgh, Penn., April 29, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Democrat Joe Biden on Saturday pledged to be a “president for all Americans,” after US networks projected he has defeated Republican incumbent Donald Trump in their bitterly contested election.

“America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country,” Biden said in a statement.

“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,” the 77-year-old former vice president said in a tweet.

“With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” he said in a separate statement.

“It’s time for America to unite. And to heal.”

The result of Tuesday’s election had been on a razor’s edge for days as a handful of battleground states including Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada remained uncalled.

But with all major US networks projecting that Biden won Pennsylvania, the Democrat now stands at 273 electoral votes, beyond the magic majority number of 270 needed in the Electoral College that determines the president.

“We did it. We did it Joe,” his running mate Kamala Harris — set to become the first woman vice president — told Biden in a phone call, according to a short video clip she posted to Twitter.

“You’re going to be the next president of the United States.”

Harris, a US senator whose historic win means she also becomes the first woman and the first person of color in the position, also said in a separate tweet that the election is “about so much more than @JoeBiden 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,” the 56-year-old said.

Residents of the US capital Washington were seen flooding into the streets in celebration, while Democratic lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered their congratulations and spoke of “a new day” in America after four tumultuous years of Trump.

Hundreds of Joe Biden supporters cheered and sounded car horns as they and members of the president-elect’s family gathered at his election headquarters in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware Saturday ahead of a victory party.

Scores of Democrats descended on the Chase Center, where the next president of the United States will lead celebrations later.

Inside the adjacent Westin Hotel, Biden’s family and campaign team expressed their delight at Biden rendering Donald Trump a one-term president.

“I’m overjoyed,” Biden’s younger brother Jim Biden told AFP.

People celebrate outside Vaughn’s Lounge in the Bywater section of New Orleans, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, after news outlets called the Presidential election in favor of President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said she had been on a run when her mother called to tell her that CNN had called the election for Biden.

“Ecstatic — a great day for this county,” she told reporters, after walking through the hotel’s lobby in a white Biden t-shirt.

Shortly before the long-awaited announcement, Biden’s sister Valerie Biden Owens described the result as “wonderful.”

“It’s a wonderful thing for us but it’s a better thing for America,” she told reporters.

Symone Sanders, a senior advisor to Biden, said his team were “elated and excited.”

“This is a win, frankly, for America,” she told reporters.

Senior adviser Symone Sanders applauds during a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Outside the venue’s perimeter fence, Biden fans waved balloons, American flags and held up Biden-Harris placards. They shared food and drink as they waited in hopes of catching a glimpse of Biden later.

The president-elect is due to take to the stage in the center’s parking lot around 8:00 pm (0000 GMT Sunday).

Several hundred cars full of supporters are expected to attend the drive-in rally for an election victory party that will be unlike any other due to social distancing restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fireworks and music are expected. Biden will be joined by his wife Jill, America’s next vice president Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff.

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