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'In America, Politicians Don't Take Power': Biden Harshly Rebukes Trump Over Election

President-elect Joe Biden speaks about the Electoral College vote certification process Monday in Wilmington, Del.
Drew Angerer
Getty Images
President-elect Joe Biden speaks about the Electoral College vote certification process Monday in Wilmington, Del.

Updated at 9:18 p.m. ET

On the day electors around the country voted to reaffirm his victory, President-elect Joe Biden called for Americans to come together in unity and healing, vowing to help pull the nation through the coronavirus pandemic and criticizing the dangerous and false rhetoric of election malfeasance that some Republicans have promoted.

He delivered a clear rebuke to President Trump, who continues to challenge the results unsuccessfully. "In America, politicians don't take power — people grant power to them," Biden said.

"The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know nothing — not even a pandemic — or an abuse of power — can extinguish that flame."

Biden called on Americans to "turn the page" and focus on the "urgent work" of controlling the coronavirus pandemic and recovering the economy.

Biden's remarks came as the typically procedural Electoral College vote marked one of the final ministerial steps in the Democrat's White House victory against Trump.

The Republican president hasn't acknowledged his defeat in the race and has for weeks waged long-shot challenges to overturn Biden's overwhelming victory in both the popular and electoral vote.

Biden won the popular vote — the number of ballots Americans cast in favor of one candidate or another — by a tally of 7 million. He won the electoral vote, which ultimately determines the White House victor, by amassing 306 of the requisite 270 electoral votes.

On Monday, the president-elect's win was sealed when electors across the country cast their votes for the Democrat.

"As I said through this campaign, I will be a president for all Americans. I will work just as hard for those of you who didn't vote for me as I will for those who did."

Biden's victory was fueled in large part by Americans' response to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, the U.S. hit a record of 300,000 deaths from COVID-19 — a startling death toll in a pandemic that has divided the nation on political terms. Biden called the deaths "a grim milestone" in the pandemic and spoke to the difficult time many American families will face in the holiday season.

"My heart goes out to each of you in this dark winter of the pandemic. About to spend the holidays and the new year with a black hole in your hearts, without the ones you loved at your side," Biden said. "My heart goes out to all of you who have fallen on hard times through no fault of your own, unable to sleep at night, staring at the ceiling, weighed down by the worry of what tomorrow will bring for you — and equally important — for your family."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Amita Kelly is a Washington editor, where she works across beats and platforms to edit election, politics and policy news and features stories.
Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for Guns & America. Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.
Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.