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Biden Urges Unity: ‘We’re at War With the Virus, Not With One Another’

“This was an election that we won easily,” he said. “We won it by a lot.”

The president had intended to appear there in person, but he abruptly canceled those plans after a campaign adviser who had been near Mr. Giuliani tested positive for the coronavirus. Later in the day, Mr. Trump invited some of the Pennsylvania lawmakers to the White House to discuss what a person familiar with the situation said were voting irregularities. Mr. Trump did the same thing with a group of Michigan lawmakers — he pressured them to not certify Michigan’s 2020 election vote, which went for Mr. Biden — but it failed to work.

In contrast to Mr. Trump’s feckless efforts to overturn the election results, Mr. Biden praised the sanctity of the vote in his speech and commended Americans for casting their ballots in record numbers despite the pandemic. “Our democracy was tested this year,” he said. “What we learned is this: The people of this nation are up to the task. In America, we have full and fair and free elections. And then we honor the results.”

He called voting “the noblest instrument of nonviolent protests ever conceived.”

Mr. Trump, in the early days of the pandemic, had tried to brand himself a “wartime president,” before claiming, inaccurately, that the country had “rounded the curve.” Mr. Biden on Wednesday appeared to pick up the wartime mantle, describing the coronavirus pandemic as “a nearly yearlong battle” that has “devastated this nation.”

“America is not going to lose this war,” he said, reminding people, “Don’t let yourself surrender to the fatigue.”

Mr. Biden also tried to paint an optimistic vision of the future, despite the current crisis, and asked Americans to “dream again.”

“We’re going to lead the world by the power of our example, not just the example of our power,” he said. “We’re going to lead the world on climate and save this planet. We’re going to find cures for cancer and Alzheimer’s and diabetes, I promise you.”

Mr. Biden’s speech was infused with his own experience of devastating loss, which he often cites when he speaks to a nation that has so far lost more than 260,000 lives to the virus.

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