By Vatican News staff writer
In his first public address as President-elect, Joe Biden on Saturday declared it was "time to heal in America".
His words, delivered in a parking lot in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, came as incumbent President Donald Trump refused to concede and said he will press ahead with legal fights against the outcome.
Biden's victory on Saturday in Pennsylvania put him over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes he needed to clinch the presidency.
The Greetings of the Catholic Bishops
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement in which they say they “Thank God for the blessings of liberty. The American people have spoken in this election.”
“Now is the time for our leaders to come together in a spirit of national unity and to commit themselves to dialogue and compromise for the common good,” the statement said.
Biden pledges to work for unity
Speaking directly all Americans, Biden pledged that as president he will seek to unify the country and "marshal the forces of decency" to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild economic prosperity, secure healthcare for American families and root out systemic racism.
And in words addressed directly to the 70 million Americans who cast ballots in support of Trump, some of whom took to the streets on Saturday to demonstrate against the results, he said, “For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight. I've lost a couple times myself. But now, let's give each other a chance. It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again."
He also thanked Black voters, saying that even at his campaign's lowest moments, the African-American community had stood up for him. "They always have my back, and I'll have yours," he said.
Kamala Harris makes history
Joe Biden was introduced by the woman he has chosen to be vice-president, US Senator Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman, the first Black American and the first American of Asian descent to serve the country's No. 2 office.
"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," Harris said.
Congratulations from abroad
Congratulations poured in from abroad, including from conservative British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
There were isolated instances of Trump and Biden supporters confronting each other, as occurred between two groups of about 100 each in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but there were no immediate reports of the violence many had feared.