Joe Biden calls for unity against Covid-19; Donald Trump wants election loss overturned
US President-elect Joe Biden called for unity and hope in a Thanksgiving eve address to Americans, reminding them that the country was at “war with the virus, and not with each other” even as President Donald Trump railed against the election outcome, called for his defeat to be “turned around”, and pardoned a former top aide who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
The contrast between the two leaders, their priorities and their styles played out in full public view over the day on Wednesday. A sombre Biden spoke to Americans from an empty music hall about the need for “solutions, not shouting; reason, not hyper-partisanship; light, not heat”, and urged them not to despair in the face of the pandemic, which has killed more than 260,000 Americans. Speaking of the Covid-19 vaccines in the pipeline, he said, “Hang on, don’t let yourself surrender.”
Trump stayed home at the White House, rage-tweeted - “RIGGED ELECTION” - about the polls, barely mentioned the pandemic or greeted the nation on Thanksgiving, phoned into a packed news conference held by his allies in Pennsylvania, and called for “this election to be turned around”.
The White House issued a standard Thanksgiving proclamation signed by the president. But Trump sent his greetings only to former national security adviser Michael Flynn, while granting him full pardon. The Washington Post slammed the pardon as a “parting disgrace” from the outgoing president.
President-elect Biden, who has sought to stay above Trump’s persisting attempts to challenge his election and obstruct smooth transfer of power, addressed the issue head on.
“In America, we have full and fair and free elections, and then we honour the results,” he said without naming anyone. “The people of this nation and the laws of the land won’t stand for anything else.”
Biden said he understood the task of unifying the country is not be easy, but he insisted he was determined to bring together Democrats, Republicans and Independents. He added, “Americans dream big. And, as hard as it may seem this Thanksgiving, we are going to dream big again.”