Joe Biden has vowed to unify Americans and heal deep divides across the country in his first speech since being named US president-elect.
He pledged to “work with all my heart to win the confidence of the whole people”, admitting to those who did not vote for him that “I understand your disappointment”.
“But now let’s give each other a chance,” he urged. “It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again.”
Kamala Harris, the vice president-elect, introduced Mr Biden at their drive-in rally in Wilmington, Delaware, and before he took to the stage, praised officials who oversaw the election.
“You have protected the integrity of our democracy,” she said.
Acknowledging her historic role as number two in the administration, Ms Harris said: “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last – because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
To rousing cheers from supporters parked up to watch, Mr Biden employed his traditional run up to the stage, and kicked off his speech by trying to draw a line under the tight win he clinched earlier on Saturday.
“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but to unify; who doesn’t see red states and blue states – only sees the United States,” he announced.
“To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies. They are not our enemies, they are Americans.”
The Democratic candidate is projected to win the White House from Donald Trump, after breaking through in the key battleground of Pennsylvania.
Flipping the red state blue handed him 20 Electoral College votes, taking Mr Biden over the threshold needed of 270, followed by another win in Nevada.
He is also ahead by thin margins in Arizona and Georgia, as several counts continue.
Mr Trump is refusing to concede and has vowed to launch legal action, challenging the legitimacy of the result by claiming – without evidence – voter fraud and ballot stuffing on a mass scale.
He was playing golf when the announcement was made, and has since proclaimed “I WON THE ELECTION” on Twitter, also claiming he won the most legal votes of any presidential candidate – which is actually a record set by Mr Biden.
World leaders have already sent congratulations, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying: “The US is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security.”
In a written statement earlier, Mr Biden earlier accepted victory and urged Americans to unite, after a bitterly divisive campaign.
“With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” he said.
“It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”
Barack Obama, whom he served as vice-president under, has also warned “the country remains deeply and bitterly divided”, so Americans should “lower the temperature and find some common ground”.
Mr Biden has already launched his transition planning, so he can hit the ground running when he takes office in a few months.
After being inaugurated on 20 January, he will officially become the president.
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