WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) – On the Day of Grace and Injury, President-elect Joe Biden convened Americans to join a common goal against the coronavirus epidemic and their political divisions while the fading embers of his man-suppressed campaign “Reverse the Election.”
In his speech to the nation on Thanksgiving, Biden centered on the booming pandemic, promising to touch the “mighty powers” of the federal government and “change the course of the disease” once in office. But for that to work, he said, Americans need to step up for the safety of themselves and their fellow citizens.
“I know the country is tired of fighting,” Biden said Wednesday. “We must not forget that we are fighting the virus, not each other.” Not with each other.
President Donald Trump, who has barely mentioned the pandemic in recent days, despite reaching record highs, has continued to record his election defeat.
He sent his attorney, Rudy Giulianit, and other members of his legal team to meet in Gettysburg with a senator from the Republic of Pennsylvania. In a hotel near the dedicated battlefields of the Civil War, complaints about the elections were once again circulated and allegations of democratic irregularities, which had already disintegrated during the judicial investigation, were repeated.
“We need to reverse the election,” Trump said from the Oval Office, where he joined the meeting through a speakerphone.
“It was a choice we easily won,” he said. “We won a lot.” In fact, the election gave Biden a clear mandate and no regular fraud was detected. The post-judge judge dismissed the Trump campaign’s accusations as baseless, and the transition to Biden’s presidency is entirely underway.
Nevertheless, Trump reiterated, “This choice must be reversed.”
Trump was expected to appear in person in Gettysburg, but did not do so after another member of his legal team gave a positive result for the coronavirus. Few people wore masks at the meeting.
Overall, the forum listened – and cheered – on the statement of another US president who wants to reverse democratic elections and the will of the electorate because he wants to stay in power. The site was about a mile from the site of Pickett’s indictment, where EU troops averted a desperate Confederate attack in July 1863 and facilitated a flood of civil war.
The president followed with grace Michael Flynn was a national security adviser, the second Trump companion convicted in the Russian probe, from whom Trump received pardon.
The pardon was part of a broader effort to undo an investigation that has been shielding Trump’s administration for years and has prosecuted half a dozen of his comrades. The pardon will destroy the criminal case against Flynn when a federal judge decided whether to comply with the Justice Department’s request to dismiss the prosecution despite Flynn lying to the FBI over his Russian guilt on his own guilty charge.
Biden, for his part, projected much of the calm as the necessary elements of the presidential transition — money, access to office space, and more — were held away for nearly three weeks by Trump’s machinations and the General Services Directorate’s belated determination to win the election. On Wednesday, he only neglected Trump’s raw tactics.
“This year they tested our democracy,” Biden said. “But the people of this nation are up to the task.”
“In America, we hold full, fair and free elections and then we respect the results,” he said. “The people of this nation and the laws of the earth cannot stand by anything else.”
And he offered an optimistic idea, calling on Americans to “dream again,” and predicted that “the 21st century will be the American century.”
Biden has promised more virus tests, more protective equipment and clearer guidance for businesses and schools to reopen when he becomes president. Until vaccinations are distributed, masks, social distancing, and restrictions on gatherings are “our most effective means of fighting the virus”.
Biden’s remarks were made as COVID-19 cases multiplied nationwide. The rates of hospital care, deaths, and testing positivity also rose sharply as the nation set off on Thanksgiving Day, and public health experts warned that large family gatherings expected for the holiday are likely to prolong and exacerbate the wave.
He has set up a coronavirus advisory board of scientists, doctors and public health experts and plans to set up a COVID-19 coordinator in the White House to lead his administration’s response.
This week, however, Biden focused beyond the crisis state and introduced his national security team on Tuesday, including his foreign secretary candidates, director of national intelligence and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. By drawing tacit contrasts with Trump, Biden said the team reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat. Janet Yellent is also expected to be appointed treasurer in the coming weeks.
Asking Americans to be vigilant in their Thanksgiving plans, Biden said Wednesday he would take precautions himself, avoiding traditional large-family gatherings, and spend the holiday only with his wife, daughter, and son-in-law.
He and his wife, Jill, travel to Rehoboth Beach, a small seaside town in Delaware, where the two of them have vacation homes. There they welcome their families for Thanksgiving dinner. Biden is expected to stay in Rehoboth over the weekend before returning to Wilmington for further work on the transition.
Trump gives up his usual plans for Thanksgiving at his private club in Florida and stays in the White House instead.
Colvin reported from Washington. Mark Scolforo Associated Press writer, Harrisburg, Pa., Contributed to this report.