Confident in victory, Biden appeals for national unity

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Joe Biden, inching closer to victory after a bitter presidential election, appealed Friday to Americans to turn the page on divisions as a seething Donald Trump warned him not to declare victory.

As trickling returns from Pennsylvania and three other states made Trump’s path to a second term increasingly unlikely, Biden repeated that he believed he would win but said he would wait for the process to complete.

Instead, Biden delivered a late-night address with the tone of a president-elect and vowed to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic as new cases Friday hit a new high of more than 127,000 cases.

“We must put the anger — and the demonization — behind us. It’s time for us to come together as a nation and heal,” Biden said in his home city of Wilmington, Delaware accompanied by his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris.

“My responsibility as president will be to represent the whole nation,” he said, drawing a stark contrast with Trump’s nearly four years of rule by provocation.

Biden spoke as US media began reporting that White House chief-of-staff Mark Meadows, 61, had contracted the virus — underscoring the criticism directed at the president for months over his administration’s handling of the crisis.

Meadows first tested positive on Wednesday, a day after the election, according to The New York Times.

Biden said he and Harris had already been meeting experts on how to control the “skyrocketing” cases of Covid-19, which has claimed more than 230,000 lives in the United States, more than in any other country.

“I want everyone to know that on Day One, we are going to put our plan to control this virus into action, Biden said.

“That can’t save any of the lives that have been lost, but it will save a lot of lives in the months ahead.” (AFP | Peter Hutchison with Shaun Tandon and Sebastian Smith)

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