Washington: Joe Biden pledged that he will be an “ally of the light” as he formally accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, urging voters to unite to overcome a “season of darkness” that his rival President Donald Trump has cloaked America for much too long.
Addressing the challenges facing the country, including the deadly coronavirus pandemic, economic slowdown and climate change, Biden asked Americans to entrust him with the presidency in the November elections, vowing to “draw on the best of us, not the worst.”
On the final day of the four-day virtual Democratic National Convention on Thursday, Biden, 77, accepted the Democratic Party’s nomimation as the presidential candidate to challenge incumbent President Trump, a Republican, in the November 3 presidential election.
“It is with great honour and humility that I accept this nomination for President of the United States of America. But while I will be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president. I will work as hard for those who didn’t support me as I will for those who did,” he said in an impassioned speech that lasted 25 minutes.
“This is a life-changing election that will determine America’s future for a very long time,” Biden, the former vice president said.
“It’s time for us, for We the People, to come together,” he said.
“For make no mistake. United we can, and will, overcome this season of darkness in America. We will choose hope over fear, facts over fiction, fairness over privilege,” Biden said.
Biden said that as president, the first step he will take will be to get control of the coronavirus that has ruined so many lives.
He said there was “Too much anger. Too much fear. Too much division. Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us not the worst. I will be an ally of the light not of the darkness.”
“I won’t have to do it alone. Because I will have a great Vice President at my side. Senator Kamala Harris. She is a powerful voice for this nation. Her story is the American story.
“She knows about all the obstacles thrown in the way of so many in our country. Women, Black women, Black Americans, South Asian Americans, immigrants, the left-out and left-behind, Biden said.
On Wednesday, Biden scripted history by selecting Indian-origin Senator Harris as the first Black person as the vice presidential nominee of a major party.
Launching a scathing attack on President Trump, Biden said that the current president has cloaked America in darkness “for much too long”.
“Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to this nation.
He failed to protect us. He failed to protect America. And, my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable,” Biden said.
“As president, I will make you this promise: I will protect America. I will defend us from every attack. Seen. And unseen. Always. Without exception. Every time,” he said.
Noting that the job of a president is to represent all Americans and not just the base or the party, Biden said: “This is not a partisan moment”.
Biden said that his campaign was not just about winning votes, but winning “the heart, and the soul of America”.
He vowed to heal a country crippled by a deadly pandemic and economic catastrophe and riven by a reckoning on race.
“What we know about this president is that if he’s given four more years, he’ll be what he’s been for the last four years.
“A president who takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others, cosies up to dictators and fan the flames of hate and division, the former vice president said.
“He will wake up every day believing the job is all about him. Never about you,” Biden said, referring to Trump.
Reacting to Biden’s attack, President Trump briefly tweeted, terming the former vice president’s remarks as “just words”.
“In 47 years, Joe did none of the things of which he now speaks. He will never change, just words!” Trump wrote.
On the problems facing the country, Biden said America was facing the worst pandemic in over 100 years. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
“The most compelling call for racial justice since the 60’s. And the undeniable realities and accelerating threats of climate change. So, the question for us is simple: Are we ready? I believe we are,” he said.
He pointed out that five million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and over 170,000 Americans have died, “by far the worst performance of any nation on Earth.”
“The President keeps telling us the virus is going to disappear. He keeps waiting for a miracle. Well, I have news for him, no miracle is coming.
We lead the world in confirmed cases. We lead the world in deaths,” he said.
He also said that over 50 million people have filed for unemployment this year. Nearly one in six small businesses have closed this year, Biden said.
“If this president is re-elected we know what will happen,” he said.
“Cases and deaths will remain far too high. More mom and pop businesses will close their doors for good,” he said.
Noting that all elections are important, Biden said that this one, however, is more consequential.
“America is at an inflection point. A time of real peril, but of extraordinary possibilities. We can choose the path of becoming angrier, less hopeful, and more divided. A path of shadow and suspicion,” he said.
He said “Character is on the ballot. Compassion is on the ballot. Decency, science, democracy. They are all on the ballot. Who we are as a nation. What we stand for. And, most importantly, who we want to be. That’s all on the ballot. And the choice could not be clearer. No rhetoric is needed,” he said.