US President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday pleaded with Americans to take steps to stay safe as COVID-19 cases soar on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday and pledged again to do the same. Fighting the pandemic a priority when he takes office in January.
“I think you always deserve to hear the truth from your president. We have to stop the growth of this virus. We owe it to the doctors, the nurses and the frontline workers … We owe it to our fellow citizens, ”Biden said.
He urged people to forgo large family gatherings, wear protective masks and maintain social distancing.
“I know we can and will defeat this virus,” added Biden, acknowledging that Americans are feeling pandemic fatigue. “Life will return to normal. I promise. This is going to happen. This won’t last forever. “
The former Democratic vice president vowed to make the fight against COVID-19 a priority after taking office on January 20, having accused Trump during the campaign of panicking and surrendering to a public health crisis.
“Looking back at our history, you see that they have been the most difficult circumstances that the soul of our nation has forged. And now we are faced with a long and harsh winter again, ”said Biden.
Since winning the Nov.3 election, Biden has delivered a message of national reconciliation and healing after Trump’s tumultuous tenure, while the President of the Republic still refuses to budge and falsely claims the election was stolen.
Public health officials have urged Americans to stay home during Thursday’s holiday and avoid large gatherings that could spread the pathogen. More than 260,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, and Tuesday’s daily toll surpassed 2,000 for the first time since May, as infections and hospitalizations rise nationwide.
Millions of Americans have flocked to airports and highways, prompting the busiest travel period in America since the early days of the pandemic in March, albeit well below pre-pandemic holiday levels. .
Attendees said Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris planned to spend Thanksgiving with their families.
Biden plans to name his options for key positions in his administration next week, including his economic team, communications director Kate Bedingfield said. They are expected to include the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, as secretary of the US Treasury.
The Trump administration gave the green light Monday to formal transition efforts, even as it continues to challenge the election results by making unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Biden was expected to receive his first daily presidential intelligence report on Monday, Bedingfield said.
Biden’s transition advisor Jen Psaki said classified information was being shared with Biden’s senior team. Bedingfield added that Biden’s team has been encouraged by the “professional and welcoming response” from public officials, and downplayed the impact of the Trump administration’s delay in starting the transition process.
Biden introduced his foreign policy and national security team on Tuesday. Biden received belated congratulations on his election victory from Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.
China’s Foreign Ministry, though not Xi himself, congratulated Biden on November 13. In his congratulatory message to Biden on Wednesday, Xi said that healthy ties between the world’s two largest economies not only serve the fundamental interests of their two peoples, but also look forward to it. the international community, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
During the election campaign, Biden promised a hard line on China’s growing influence around the world and called Xi a “bully” for his human rights practices. A Biden transition official said: “We appreciate the congratulations from all the world leaders who have conveyed them, including President Xi.”
Trump has waged a failed legal battle to overturn the election results. Trump on Wednesday canceled a trip to accompany his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to a meeting of Republican state legislators in Gettysburg, where Giuliani repeated his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.
But Trump spoke to participants by phone, repeating his discredited claims that the election had been stolen, prompting cheers from the partisan crowd.
“This election was lost by the Democrats. They cheated. It was a fraudulent election, ”Trump said, without offering evidence.
In addition to beating Trump 306-232 in the Electoral College, a margin that Trump called “a landslide” when it was his in 2016, Biden won more than 80 million votes in the popular vote, more than 6.1 million. votes on Trump.
State and federal officials have repeatedly said there is no evidence of any large-scale fraud.
Bedingfield called the Gettysburg event “a sideshow.”
Gettysburg is best known as the site of a crucial 1863 battle in the United States Civil War and the famous Gettysburg Address in which President Abraham Lincoln promised that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, will not perish from the earth. “