San Francisco Chronicle

Bi­den ap­peals for unity in speech to the na­tion

- By Alexan­dra Jaffe Alexan­dra Jaffe is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

WILMINGTON, Del. — In a time of plague and raw di­vi­sion, Pres­i­den­t­elect Joe Bi­den ap­pealed for uni­ty­wednes­day in a Thanks­givingeve ad­dress to the na­tion ask­ing Amer­i­cans to “steel our spines” for a fight against the coro­n­avirus that he pre­dicted would con­tinue for months.

But even as he im­plored Amer­i­cans to join in heal­ing and com­mon pur­pose, Pres­i­dent Trump as­serted that the elec­tion should be over­turned, a fu­tile call but one that stokes the di­vi­sions Bi­den is try­ing to over­come.

With COVID19 cases surg­ing na­tion­wide, Bi­den called on Amer­i­cans to take pre­cau­tions to try to stem the tide of the virus, by wear­ing masks and prac­tic­ing so­cial dis­tanc­ing. While he said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has “vast pow­ers” to com­bat the virus, “the fed­eral gov­ern­ment can’t do it alone.”

“Each of us has a re­spon­si­bil­ity in our own lives to do what we can to slow the virus,” he said in re­marks in­wilm­ing­ton. “We are at war with the virus, not with one another.”

Bi­den said that, un­til there’s a vac­cine, wear­ing masks, so­cial dis­tanc­ing and lim­it­ing the size of gath­er­ings “are our most ef­fec­tive tools to com­bat the virus.” But he pledged that from the start of his pres­i­dency, “We will take steps that will change the course of the dis­ease,” in­clud­ing in­creas­ing test­ing, pro­vid­ing more pro­tec­tive gear and clearer guid­ance for busi­nesses and schools to re­open.

And he said that he him­self was tak­ing pre­cau­tions around Thanks­giv­ing and es­chew­ing his tra­di­tional large fam­ily gath­er­ing, in­stead spend­ing the hol­i­day with just his wife, daughter and sonin­law.

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