President-elect Joe Biden delivered an upbeat Thanksgiving address Wednesday just minutes after President Donald Trump wrapped up a call into a Pennsylvania hearing, where he, again, contested the election results.
Biden said he believed ‘this grim season of division and demonization will give way to a year of light and unity’ and he talked about love and what to be thankful for after nearly all of 2020 was overwhelmed by the COVID-19 crisis.
‘We don’t talk about love too much in our politics,’ the president-elect said. ‘The public arena is too loud, too angry, too heated. To love our neighbors as ourselves is a radical act, yet it’s what we’re called to do.’
President-elect Joe Biden gave a Thanksgiving address Wednesday where he talked about love and sacrificing the holiday for the good of others, as coronavirus cases increase
President-elect Joe Biden holds up a mask as he talks about the coronavirus crisis and how Americans can celebrate Thanksgiving responsibly
THANKSGIVING GROUP: The president-elect (center left) said he’d be spending the holiday with his wife Jill (center right), daughter Ashley (left) and her husband Howard Krien (right)
Americans stand in line to get COVID-19 tests ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. The president-elect asked Americans to wear masks, stay socially distant and only celebrate the holiday in small groups
President-elect Joe Biden spoke Wednesday at the Queen theater in Wilmington with socially distanced reporters as his main audience members
Part of that, he pleaded, is to hold pared-down Thanksgiving festivities this year as coronavirus numbers continue to climb.
‘This year, we’re asking Americans to forego many of the traditions that have long made this holiday such a special one,’ he said. ‘For our family, we’ve had a 40 plus year tradition of traveling over Thanksgiving, a tradition we’ve kept every year save one – the year after our son Beau died.’
‘But this year, we’ll be staying home,’ Biden said.
Biden will be staying at his second ‘home’ for the Thanksgiving holiday – his Rehoboth Beach house.
His motorcade departed toward the coast minutes after he concluded his speech.
‘We have always had big family gatherings at Thanksgiving. Kids, grandkids, aunts, uncles, and more,’ he said. ‘But this year, because we care so much for each other, we’re going to be having separate Thanksgivings.’
‘For Jill and I, we’ll be at home in Delaware with our daughter and son-in-law,’ he continued.
Like his first home in Wilmington, Rehoboth Beach is in Delaware.
Experts have warned that with millions traveling the current COVID-19 spike – daily deaths hit 2,100 for the first since May – will only get worse.
‘It’s potentially the mother of all superspreader events,’ Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a former adviser of the White House medical team, told CNN.
Biden began his remarks by speaking about the strain the pandemic has put on the country.
‘It has divided us. Angered us. And set us against one another,’ he said.
‘I know the country has grown weary of the fight,’ he continued. ‘But we need to remember we’re at a war with a virus – not with each other.’
He asked Americans to ‘steel our spines, redouble our efforts, and recommit ourselves to the fight.’
He asked that people wear masks, practice social distancing and celebrate the holiday in smaller groups.
‘None of these steps we’re asking people to take are political statements,’ he said. ‘Every one of them is based in science.’
Biden pledged that his administration would start ‘Day One’ in dealing with the virus.
He also talked about how promising vaccine news meant that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
‘There is real hope, tangible hope. So hang on. Don’t let yourself surrender to the fatigue,’ he said. ‘I know we can and we will beat this virus. America is not going to lose this war’
‘You will get your lives back. Life is going to return to normal. That will happen. This will not last forever,’ he promised.
Biden turned to history and talked of the struggles of the previous generations.
‘And what was it that brought the reality of America into closer alignment with its promise of equality, justice, and prosperity?’ Biden asked. ‘It was love. Plain and simple.Love of country and love for one another.’
And Biden being Biden, he dedicated a portion of the address to addressing grief.
‘For so many of us, it’s hard to hear that this fight isn’t over, that we still have months of this battle ahead of us,’ he said. ‘And for those who have lost loved ones, I know this time of year is especially difficult.’
‘Believe me, I know. I remember that first Thanksgiving,’ he said, likely a reference to the aftermath of the 2015 death of son, Beau. ‘The empty chair, the silence. It takes your breath away. It’s hard to care. It’s hard to give thanks. It’s hard to look forward. And it’s so hard to hope.’
‘I understand,’ the president-elect said.
As for what to be thankful for, the president-elect suggested ‘democracy itself.’
‘Our democracy was tested this year. And what we learned is this: The people of this nation are up to the task,’ he said. ‘In America, we have full and fair and free elections, and then we honor the results.’
Minutes before Biden took the stage at the Queen theater, Trump had called into a hearing organized by Republican Pennsylvania lawmakers and told supporters gathered mask-less in a hotel in Gettysburg that the results of the election shouldn’t stand.
‘We have to turn the election over,’ Trump said. ‘All we need is to have some judge listen to it properly.’
The hearing hosted an array of Pennsylvania witnesses, many whom complained about not understanding the voting process properly.
The Trump campaign has still not been able to provide evidence of a widespread fraud that would diminish Biden’s six million-plus vote and Electoral College lead.
‘We should be thankful, too, that America is a covenant and an unfolding story,’ Biden added. ‘And this is our moment – ours together – to write a newer, bolder, more compassionate chapter in the life of our nation.’
Biden said his interpretation of the election was that the people wanted ‘solutions, not shouting,’ ‘reason, not hyper-partisanship’ and ‘light, not heat.’
‘You want us to hear one another again, see one another again, respect one another again,’ he said. ‘You want us – Democrats and Republicans and Independents – to come together and work together.’
‘And that, my friends, is what I am determined to do,’ he pledged.
He concluded his Wednesday appearance, by trying to pep the country up.
‘Americans dream big. And, as hard as it may seem this Thanksgiving, we are going to dream big again. Our future is bright,’ he said. ‘On this Thanksgiving, and in anticipation of all the Thanksgivings to come, let us dream again.’