Biden: 'Not even a pandemic or an abuse of power' can extinguish the 'flame of democracy'

Joe Biden.
(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President-elect Joe Biden addressed the country on Monday night after the Electoral College finalized his victory, saying the election was "honest, free, and fair" and "once again, the American rule of law, our Constitution, and the will of the people prevailed. Our democracy — pushed, tested, threatened — proved to be resilient, true and strong."

Biden celebrated that "more Americans voted this year than have ever voted in the history of the United States of America," with over 155 million people "determined to have their voices heard and their votes counted." This "clear victory" should be "celebrated, not attacked," Biden said. Politicians are granted power by the voters, and "the flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. We now know nothing, not even a pandemic or an abuse of power, can extinguish that flame."

Biden thanked "courageous" state and local officials and election workers for refusing to be "bullied" into saying the election was anything but "honest, free, and fair." These "patriotic Americans" were subject to "enormous political pressure, verbal abuse, [and] threats of physical violence," he said, but democracy "survived because of them."

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Biden touched on President Trump's dozens of attempts to overturn the election, saying more than 80 judges heard from his lawyers and "in every case, no cause or evidence was found to reverse or question or dispute the results." He called out the Republican attorneys general and members of Congress who signed onto the Texas election lawsuit, which was unanimously shot down by the Supreme Court. This was "a position so extreme, we've never seen it before," Biden said, and was "immediately and completely rejected."

The president-elect called for unity, and asked people to work with him to "lower the temperature" so the country can move forward amid the pandemic. "Faith in our institutions held," he said. "The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal."

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