The president-elect will address the electoral college vote count in a speech to the nation later tonight. According to excerpts released by his transition team, Biden will say: “In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed … And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal.”
Traditionally an afterthought, the meeting of the electoral college has taken on added importance this year because of the president’s refusal to concede the election. Despite an extraordinarily unsuccessful legal campaign to challenge the results in state and federal court, Trump has continued to claim without evidence that the vote was corrupted by fraud and irregularities.
In his speech, Biden will seek to put the election firmly to rest by looking ahead to his presidency and the challenges facing the country.
“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,” Biden is expected to say.
He will add: “There is urgent work in front of all of us. Getting the pandemic under control to getting the nation vaccinated against this virus. Delivering immediate economic help so badly needed by so many Americans who are hurting today – and then building our economy back better than ever.”
Biden is scheduled to deliver his speech at 7.30pm ET tonight, after every state has held its meeting of electors. Hawaii will be the last state to start its meeting, at 7pm ET.
Election results from November show Biden won 306 electoral college votes, exceeding the 270 needed to win, after four tumultuous years under Trump. The president-elect and the vice president-elect, Kamala Harris, are due to take office on 20 January.
Trump’s refusal to accept reality has been embraced by a significant share of Republican elected officials, including the House leader, Kevin McCarthy, and much of the party’s base. Tensions over the election result, stoked by Trump, erupted in Washington over the weekend, when violence broke out amid a “Stop the Steal” rally.