Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden urged patience and unity during a Friday night speech in Wilmington, Del., in which he predicted a convincing electoral college win as he holds the lead over President Trump in critical swing states.
“We don’t have a final declaration of victory yet, but the numbers tell us a clear and convincing story: we’re going to win this race,” Biden said to a socially distanced group of supporters gathered in vehicles in a parking lot, predicting that he’d wind up with “more than 300 electoral votes.”
“I know watching these vote tallies on TV moves very slower, slow — and as slow as it goes, it can be numbing. But never forget, the tallies aren’t just numbers. They represent votes and voters, men and women who exercised their fundamental right to have their voice heard,” Biden said.
He added: “What’s becoming clearer each hour is that a record number of Americans of all races, faiths, religions chose change over more of the same. They have given us a mandate for action on COVID, the economy, climate change, systemic racism.”
Biden said “we have to remain calm and patient as the process work out as we count all the votes… Your vote will be counted, I don’t care how hard people try to stop it, I will not let it happen.”
In a call for national unity, the Democratic candidate said, “we’re not enemies, we’re Americans… We have to put the anger and the demonization behind us… We don’t have any more time to waste with partisan warfare.”
The former vice president spoke as three days of ballot counting has yet to produce an official victory. Trump’s campaign is suing in multiple states to halt or modify tabulation policies, claiming potential fraud.
His running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) joined him for the speech but did not speak, as originally planned if his victory had been declared by major news outlets. A planned fireworks display was also canceled.
Biden leads in current vote counts in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania. If those leads hold, he would win the Electoral College in a decisive 306-232 vote.
In his remarks, Biden said he and Harris were preparing to take office on Jan. 20, and expressed sympathy for people who have lost relatives in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want people to know we’re not waiting to get work done and startup started the process. Yesterday, Senator Harris and I held meetings with groups of experts on public health and the economic crisis this country is facing,” he said.
But the margins are thin across the battlegrounds and many ballots remain to be counted. The Associated Press and major networks have not declared a winner, though some smaller news outlets have projected a Biden win.
With remaining swing states breaking for him, however, Biden celebrated apparent wins.
“One of the things I’m especially proud of is how well we’ve done across America,” he said. “And we’re going to be the first Democrat to win in Arizona in 24 years. We’re going to be the first Democrat to win Georgia in 28 years. And we’ve rebuilt the blue wall in the middle of the country that crumbled just four years ago. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, the heartland of this nation.”
Trump warned Biden not to declare himself the winner, tweeting on Friday evening, “Joe Biden should not wrongfully claim the office of the President. I could make that claim also. Legal proceedings are just now beginning!”
The president claimed in a defiant Thursday night press conference that “if you count the legal votes, I easily win.”
Trump’s adviser and 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said in a Fox News appearance on Friday night that Trump has no plans to concede.
“I did speak to the president. He is ready to fight until every last little vote is counted,” Lewandowski said.