US President-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris
US President-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris

US President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to unite the country as he called it 'a time to heal in America', after his historic victory in a divisive, bitter and closely-fought presidential election.

Biden defeated incumbent President Donald Trump in the bitterly-fought presidential election that attracted a record number of Americans to cast their votes.

"I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify; who doesn't see red states and blue states, only sees the United States," Biden said in his victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday night.

Biden thanked his supporters, saying he had earned votes from the "broadest and most diverse coalition in American history."

"I am humbled by the trust and confidence you've placed in me," the 77-year-old Democrat leader told the gathering amid applause and cheers from the audience.

"The people of this nation have spoken they've delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for we the people," he said.

The Democrat leader also reached out to Trump voters, saying he would act as their president as much as he would for those who voted for him.

"I understand your disappointment tonight. I've lost a couple times myself. But now, let's give each other a chance," Biden said. "This is the time to heal in America."

"I sought this office to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class and to make America respected around the world again, and to unite us here at home," the President-elect said.

Asserting that the whole world is watching America, Biden said he believes at best America is a beacon for the globe.

"And we lead not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. I've always believed we can define America in one word: Possibilities. That in America everyone should be given the opportunity to go as far as their dreams and God-given ability will take them," he said.

Biden also said that he will spare no effort to turn around the COVID-19. The pandemic that has killed more than 236,000 Americans and infected over 9 million others.

He announced that his first act as president-elect will be to name scientific advisers and experts to lead coronavirus response.

He said on Monday he will announce a task force on COVID-19.

The pandemic was a major topic of debate during the presidential campaign. Biden had repeatedly attacked Trump's response to the pandemic.

On his Vice Presiden-elect Kamala Harris, who scripted history by becoming the first woman and first daughter of immigrants ever elected to national office in this country, Biden said that he would be honoured to be serving with her.

"I will be honoured to be serving with a fantastic vice president - Kamala Harris - who will make history as the first woman, first Black woman, first woman of South Asian descent, and first daughter of immigrants ever elected to national office in this country," Biden said.

"It's long overdue, and we're reminded tonight of all those who fought so hard for so many years to make this happen. But once again, America has bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice," he said.

"Kamala, Doug, like it or not, you're family. You've become honorary Bidens and there's no way out," he said.

Biden, 77, and Harris, 56, would be sworn in as the president and vice president of the United States on January 20, 2021.

Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and African-American father from Jamaica, thanked Biden for selecting her as his running mate.

"What a testament it is to Joe's character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country and select a woman as his Vice President," she said.

"But while I may be the first woman in this office, I won't be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities," Harris said.

Biden, she said, is a healer, a uniter and a tested and steady hand. "A person whose own experience of loss gives him a sense of purpose that will help us, as a nation, reclaim our own sense of purpose. And a man with a big heart who loves with abandon," she said.

"We are so grateful to Joe and Jill for welcoming our family into theirs on this incredible journey," Harris added.

She will be the first-ever Indian-origin vice president, first-ever black and first-ever African-American vice president of the US.

(With PTI inputs)

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