Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden on Thursday said the United States can overcome its “season of darkness” under President Trump if everyone hangs together.
“I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness. It’s time for us – for we the people – to come together,” Mr. Biden said as he accepted his party’s nomination for president. “And make no mistake: united, we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America.”
Mr. Biden delivered a speech that was at once urgent and hopeful, vowing to work just as hard to be a president for his detractors as he will his supporters.Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Biden delivered his address to a mostly empty auditorium in Wilmington, Delaware.
He said America has been hit with a gut-punch of four simultaneous crises: the coronavirus, a collapsing economy, ongoing racial strife and the accelerating threat of climate change.
“It didn’t have to be this bad,” he said. “In this dark moment, I believe we’re poised to make great progress again.”
He said Mr. Trump has failed to adequately confront the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to this nation,” he said. “He failed to protect us. He failed to protect America. And, my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable.”
Mr. Biden said the president keeps “waiting for a miracle.”
“Well, I have news for him: no miracle is coming,” he said. “After all this time, the president still does not have a plan.”
Mr. Biden said he would immediately develop and deploy rapid tests and American-made medical supplies and that he would push a national mask mandate.
He also vowed to rebuild the economy through “newly empowered labor unions,” build on Obamacare, and reverse the GOP tax cuts.
He said that the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody might have been a “breaking point” in calls for racial justice in the country.
“Maybe John Lewis’s passing [is] the inspiration…however it’s happened, America’s ready, in John’s words, to lay down the heavy burden of hate at last and to do the hard work of rooting out our systemic racism,” he said.
He also vowed to address climate change.
“It’s not only a crisis, it’s an enormous opportunity – an opportunity for America to lead the world in clean energy and create millions of new good-paying jobs in the process,” he said.
On foreign policy, he said he wouldn’t abide Russian bounties on the heads of American soldiers or foreign interference in U.S. elections.
“The days of cozying up to dictators is over,” he said.
Mr. Biden complimented former President Barack Obama, with whom he served for eight years as vice president, as a leader children could and did look up to.
“No one is going to say that about the current occupant of the White House,” he said.
On the final night of the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Biden’s adult children, Hunter and Ashley, gave introductory remarks via video ahead of a clip of the late Beau Biden, Mr. Biden’s son who died of cancer in 2015.
“While he’s no longer with us, Beau inspires me every day,” the candidate said.
Earlier videos touted Mr. Biden’s heading up the “Cancer Moonshot” during the Obama administration and featured Mr. Biden talking up the importance of organized labor with union workers.
A handful of his former 2020 presidential rivals also engaged in a videotaped conversation emceed by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey to sing Mr. Biden’s praises.
“The magic of Joe Biden is everything he does becomes the new reasonable,” said entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
The speech was the culmination of a lengthy career in public life for Mr. Biden, who first ran for president in 1988 – a bid that ended under a cloud of allegations that he plagiarized a speech from British politician Neil Kinnock.
Mr. Biden couldn’t find much traction in a 2008 presidential race that gave birth to the rivalry between former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
After Beau died in 2015, Mr. Biden ultimately opted against another White House bid, clearing the way for Mrs. Clinton to become the Democratic nominee only to lose to Mr. Trump.
The former vice president appeared to bottom out in the 2020 Democratic primary with a dismal fifth-place finish in New Hampshire that had followed a fourth-place finish in Iowa.
But a blowout win in South Carolina helped nudge rivals like Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg out of the race and into Mr. Biden’s camp.
Mr. Biden then posted a solid showing on Super Tuesday, including a somewhat surprising win in Texas. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts dropped out a few days later and Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont bowed out in April.
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