Joe Biden urges patience, unity as he waits with the rest of America

Joe Biden — like the rest of America — is still waiting.

Despite being on the cusp of the presidency, Biden did not give the victory speech he and his campaign hoped he would deliver on Friday night. Instead, he once again urged Americans to remain patient as the final votes are counted.

And again, he expressed confidence that he will become the country’s next president, but did not declare victory.

“We don’t have a final declaration, a victory yet,” Biden said indoors at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, where hundreds of supporters gathered outside. “We’re going to win this race with a clear majority of the nation behind us.”

Biden said the 74 million votes is more than any ticket in history.

“The people spoke loudly for our ticket,” Biden said.

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As of Saturday morning, the races in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Georgia were still too close to call, though Biden was leading President Donald Trump in all three. The former vice president would just need one of these states to win the White House, while Trump would need to win all three and North Carolina, where he is leading. 

“We have to remain calm, patient, as we count all the votes,” Biden said.

He later said: “We don’t have any more time to waste on partisan warfare.”

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Wilmington.

In the tense days since the election, Americans have had to wait for millions of mail-in ballots to be counted, a vast majority of which are skewing toward Biden.

The Trump campaign has said the president does not plan to concede. Trump has made repeated false claims about the state of the election, and he and his campaign have lodged legal challenges in several states. In some cases, judges have already dismissed the cases. 

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Just outside the convention center, supporters gathered with the hopes of hearing Biden speak, some camping out since election night Tuesday. 

Biden, who did not answer questions from reporters, said he was confident he would win Georgia and Pennsylvania, propelling him to more than 300 electoral college delegates. 

“We’re proving again what we proved for 244 years in this country, democracy works. Your vote will be counted. I don’t care how hard people try to stop it. I will not let it happen.”

“The people will be heard,” he said.

In the hours leading up to Biden’s remarks, almost 1,000 people gathered near the Riverfront. Like the Democratic National Convention and election night drive-in rally, this event was not open to the public. 

Yet there was still a sense of excitement, especially among Kelly Callahan’s group. She, mother Marie and their friends, Eileen Ford and Laura Leone, sat in the bed of a pickup truck, clad in masks. 

Kelly, a Wilmington resident who has worked in Delaware politics in the past, had been in the parking lot all four nights. She arrived at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Friday was the third night for the others.

“I’m waiting for that moment in history,” said Kelly, who was wearing a mask with Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s face on it. “Delaware’s first president and the first female VP in the United States.

“When history happens in your backyard, you don’t miss it.”

The women were listening to MSNBC on the radio and paused at one point to hear the latest update with results from Nevada. They were very optimistic that Biden will soon become the president-elect.

“More optimistic than Tuesday night,” Ford said.

Biden, Kelly said, is the “perfect person for the right time” in this country.

In a sea of Biden supporters, former Delaware U.S. Senate candidate Lauren Witzke, who was defeated by Chris Coons this week, arrived with more than a dozen Trump supporters around 7:45 p.m.

The crowd outside the security gates at the Chase Center was diverse in age and race. 

Among the younger people in the crowd was 16-year-old West Chester, Pennsylvania, resident Arianna, who spent much of the election season volunteering for the ACLU sending text messages to potential voters.

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“I’m very excited,” she said. “We couldn’t miss it.”

“It’s history,” said her father, Matt. “It’s a critical time for our country. But I wanted her to see the fruits of the labor. You put the work in and you get down to a couple of votes. You lose sight of that with these millions of votes.”

The father and daughter were cautiously optimistic about the results. They were hoping for a victory speech but didn’t expect one.

“This will be done when it’s done,” Matt said.

“There will be a day when we’re there and we can celebrate. Today is not the day, but we’ll find our way there. This is a good step. I feel better than I did Tuesday night.”

They planned on returning Saturday.

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