WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Joe Biden accepted the Democratic presidential nomination with a vow to be a unifying “ally of the light” who would move an America in crisis past the chaos of President Donald Trump’s tenure.
In his strongest remarks of the campaign, Biden spoke Thursday night both of returning the United States to its traditional leadership role in the world and of the deeply personal challenges that shaped his life. Virtually every sentence of his 22-minute speech was designed to present a sharp, yet hopeful, contrast with the Republican incumbent.
“Here and now I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. l’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” Biden said. “Make no mistake, united we can and will overcome this season of darkness in America.”
For the 77-year-old Biden, the final night of the Democratic National Convention was bittersweet. He accepted a nomination that had eluded him for over three decades because of personal tragedy, political stumbles and rivals who proved more dynamic.
But the coronavirus denied him the typical celebration, complete with the customary balloon drop that both parties often use to fete their new nominees. Instead, Biden spoke to a largely empty arena near his Delaware home.
Afterward, fireworks lit the sky outside the arena, where supporters waited in a parking lot, honking horns and flashing headlights in a moment that finally lent a jovial feel to the event.
The keynote address was the speech of a lifetime for Biden, who would be the oldest president ever elected if he defeats Trump in November. Trump, who is 74, publicly doubts Biden’s mental capacity and calls him “Slow Joe,” but with the nation watching, Biden was firm and clear.
Still, the convention leaned on a younger generation earlier in the night to help energize his sprawling coalition.