Former Vice President Joe Biden appealed for unity Wednesday in a pre-Thanksgiving address, asking Americans to “steel our spines” for a fight against the coronavirus, predicting the pandemic would continue for months to come.
With COVID-19 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. 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 son in law.
“This is the moment when we need to steel our spines, redouble our efforts, and recommit ourselves to this fight,” Biden said in remarks in Wilmington, Delaware on Wednesday. “We’re all in this together.”
Biden's remarks came as COVID-19 cases are surging nationwide. Hospitalizations, deaths, and the rate of positive tests were up sharply as the nation approached Thanksgiving, and public health experts have warned that the large family gatherings expected for the holiday are likely to exacerbate the surge.
Biden has said turning the tide of the pandemic will be the top priority of his administration once he takes office in January, and he’s made multiple public remarks urging Americans to embrace mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines to combat the spread.
For the next few days, Biden plans to spend some time focused on his family. He’s traveling with his wife, Jill, to Rehoboth Beach, the small Delaware beach town where the two have a vacation home. That's where they’ll host their family for Thanksgiving dinner. Biden is expected to stay there through the weekend, before returning to Wilmington for further work on the transition.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is still challenging the election in the courts, arguing there weren't safety measures in place to prevent mail-in ballot fraud. But a key government agency has still agreed in the interim to allow access for Biden to plan a potential transition.
On Tuesday, the President pardoned the annual two turkeys in the White House Rose Garden named Corn and Cob. He also took a moment to remind Americans that this year's Thanksgiving celebration is a special one.
"This year, our nation commemorates the 400th anniversary of the pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock. After arriving in the New World, the brave men and women of the Mayflower endured a bitter and dangerous winter — very, very dangerous winter. Many were sick, most were starving, and all were praying for a miracle. Thankfully, God heard their prayers," Trump said.
"From our earliest days, America has always been a story of perseverance and triumph, determination and strength, loyalty, and faith. This week, in a time that is very unusual but in so many ways, very, very good — what we've endured and been able to endure, with the vaccines now coming out one after another. It's an incredible thing that happened. One of the greatest medical achievements that this planet has ever seen," the President continued.
"But it's time to remember that we live in a great, great country — the greatest of them all. And there's nothing even close, as far as I'm concerned," he added. "Every American can be united in thanksgiving to God for the incredible gifts he has bestowed upon us: the blessings of family, community, and this exceptional, beautiful, and great country. It's greater than ever before."
"During this Thanksgiving, we extend our eternal gratitude to the doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and scientists who have waged the battle against the China virus, and we give thanks for the vaccines and therapies that will soon end the pandemic. It's just — just such a tremendous feeling to know that they're coming, and they'll be coming probably starting next week, or shortly thereafter," Trump noted.
"We send our love to every member of the armed forces and the law enforcement heroes risking their lives to keep America safe, to keep America great, and, as I say, 'America first. Shouldn't go away from that: America first," he said.
"We give thanks to the priceless freedoms that we've inherited, and we ask God to watch over and protect our nation and its people during this incredible holiday and in all of the years to come. We ask that of God," Trump concluded.
The President and first lady Melania Trump will spend Thanksgiving at the White House instead of attending the annual dinner at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
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