WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will address the nation at 8 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, his campaign said, after days of anticipation and anxiety among his supporters about the outcome of the election.
Mr. Biden was expected to speak from a flag-bedecked outdoor stage near the Chase Center on the Riverfront, an event facility in Wilmington. He will be joined by his wife, Jill Biden, as well as the vice president-elect, Senator Kamala Harris, and her husband, Douglas Emhoff.
In a written statement on Saturday, Mr. Biden called for the nation to come together, a sentiment he is likely to express in his remarks on Saturday night as well. “It’s time for America to unite,” he said. “And to heal.”
On Saturday, Mr. Biden spoke with former President Barack Obama, who congratulated him, as well as with the top Democrats in Congress, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. At one point, Mr. Schumer held up his flip phone so Mr. Biden could hear people cheering for him in Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, Mr. Biden’s advisers and allies were giving serious thought to the transition period, for which they have been planning for months.
“He will show respect to the 68 or so million Americans who voted for his opponent by how he conducts himself in the transition, by how he speaks to the country as president-elect if that’s what happens and in his inauguration,” Senator Chris Coons of Delaware said on Friday. “He will promptly begin reaching out to leaders of both parties to help figure out what’s possible and what’s the right path forward.”
And a number of officials who expected to be involved in the transition said they thought Mr. Biden’s team would devote particular focus to grappling with health care challenges, including how they will deal with the coronavirus crisis.
“There’s no question that Covid has been a massively important part of everything that’s gone on with health care over the last several months,” said former Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, who also said he intended to be involved in the health care transition. “The huge focus on Covid would continue.”
But in Wilmington on Saturday, the news of the victory was still sinking in. Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, said she had been on a run and her mother had called to inform her that CNN had called the race for her candidate. “Ecstatic — a great day for this county,” she said, according to a pool report.
“It’s wonderful,” Valerie Biden Owens, Mr. Biden’s sister, told a small group of reporters at the Westin hotel in Wilmington a few minutes before CNN called the race. “It’s a wonderful thing for us, but it’s a better thing for America.”
Mr. Biden’s younger brother James Biden was also on hand at the Westin, where a coterie of Biden aides have been camped out in recent days, and he said he had spoken with the president-elect.
“We’re just overjoyed — overjoyed and grateful,” he said. “He’s doing well.”
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