President-elect Joe Biden celebrated the Electoral College vote on Monday confirming his victory over President Trump in the November election with a speech that decried those who refused to acknowledge it.
“If anyone didn’t know it before, we know it now,” Biden said in a speech from Wilmington, Del. “What beats deep in the hearts of the American people is this: Democracy, the right to be heard, to have your vote counted, to choose the leaders of this nation, to govern ourselves. In America, politicians don’t take power — the people grant it to them.”
Thanks to victories in key swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia, Biden earned 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232, and that total was upheld on Monday after electors cast their ballots.
Despite baseless allegations from the Trump campaign and accusations from the president himself that Democrats stole the election, Biden received 81,283,495 votes to Trump’s 74,223,755, according Associated Press totals. Nearly every lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign to overturn vote counts in battleground states was thrown out by state courts.
Biden noted his margin of victory in his remarks, saying the record election turnout was “one of the most amazing demonstrations of civic duty we’ve ever seen in our country.”
In an apparent rebuke to Trump, the president-elect said that the election results should be “celebrated, not attacked.”
“More than 81 million of those votes were cast for me and Vice President-elect Harris. That too is a record — more than any ticket has received in the history of America,” Biden said. “It represents a winning margin of more than 7 million votes over the number of votes cast for my opponent.”
Over the past six weeks, Trump’s legal team has filed, and lost, over 50 lawsuits in an attempt to overturn the election results; in his speech, Biden left no question as to what he thought of them.
“The Trump campaign brought dozens and dozens of legal challenges,” Biden noted, “and each of the times they were heard, they were found to be without merit.”
“In America, when questions are raised about the legitimacy of elections, those questions are resolved through the legal processes. And that’s precisely what happened here,” he said, adding, “All the counts were confirmed … none of this has stopped baseless claims.”
Biden also took aim at the legal challenge brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that sought to overturn vote counts in six battleground states despite the fact that Biden had already been certified the winner.
“It’s a position so extreme, we have never seen it before, a position that refused to respect the will of the people, refused to respect the rule of law,” Biden said.
Trump’s refusal to concede the race initially stalled critical transition procedures — most visibly the release of millions of dollars and classified intelligence briefings from the federal government — to initiate the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. By the end of November, however, the General Services Administration allowed those procedures to go forward, even while the president continued to dispute he had lost the election.
Since the election, Biden never ruled out legal action of his own against the Trump team, but with the president piling up loss after loss in courtrooms across the country, he never publicly pursued that option.
While he largely refrained from mentioning Trump by name, Biden seemed to allude to the outgoing presidents’ futile efforts to hold on to power.
“The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago,” Biden said. “And we now know that nothing — not even a pandemic —or an abuse of power … can extinguish that flame.”
“In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed,” Biden added. “We the People voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal.”
“As I said through this campaign, I will be a president for all Americans. I will work just as hard for those of you who didn’t vote for me, as I will for those who did,” said Biden.
Over the past several weeks, Biden has been unveiling his Cabinet nominees, and now, with the Electoral College vote behind him, he can approach Republicans who are critical to confirming his Cabinet with a more forceful pitch for unity.