Finally able to give their election victory speeches last night, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris made sure to note how historic, diverse, and groundbreaking their campaign for the White House has been.
“And to all those who supported us,” Biden said during his 15 minutes of remarks, “I am proud of the campaign we built and ran I am proud of the coalition we put together, the broadest and most diverse in history. Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Progressives, moderates and conservatives….Gay, straight, transgender.”
Biden’s speech is another precedent-setting first: he is the first President or President-elect to mention trans people in official remarks. It seems that the eventual 46th President is beginning to follow through with his campaign promise to trans people that he believes “that Trans Lives Matter,” as he wrote in an article for LGBTQ Nation last month.
The moment follows in the footsteps of Biden’s former partner, President Barack Obama, who was the first to mention gay people in a victory speech when he was elected to commander-in-chief in 2008.
Then, Obama explained that “questions [on] the power of our democracy” were answered with his victory, citing that change comes through people both “gay, [and] straight.”
In his speech, Biden continued on to thank his racially diverse supporters – “White. Latino. Asian. Native American. And especially for those moments when this campaign was at its lowest — the African American community stood up again for me. They always have my back, and I’ll have yours.”
“I said from the outset I wanted a campaign that represented America, and I think we did that,” the President-elect said. “Now that’s what I want the administration to look like.”
Biden once again renewed his request to Trump supporters and conservatives to give him a chance and allow him to lead the United States to “lower the temperature” so the people can “see each other again” and “listen to each other again.”
“To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans,” he reasoned. He also cited the Bible which declares that there is “a time to heal.”
Now, “this is the time to heal in America,” the President-elect declared.
Before Biden spoke, Harris also gave remarks on her momentous victory as the first Vice President-elect in United States history.
She opened with mention of the late Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights activist and longtime Congressman of the state of Georgia — where Biden and Harris unexpectedly won the vote for the state, the first time for a Democratic Presidential ticket in nearly three decades. She also name-checked her late mother, Shyamala Gopolan Harris, who emigrated to the United States at 19 from India.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris declared, “because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities, and to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message — dream with ambition.”
The two spoke from Wilmington, Delaware, where Biden has resided for over 40 years, as the campaign awaited the election results to become clear for five days before declaring victory.
See Biden’s remarks below. His mention of gay and trans people is at approximately 5:25.