President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday delivered remarks ahead of Christmas in Wilmington, Delaware.
“This has been a — one of the toughest years we’ve ever faced as a nation. And the pandemic, the economic crisis, calls for racial justice, historic and punishing wildfires and storms,” Biden said.
The President-elect continued, “So this season of reflection carries a much deeper meaning than it usually does.”
Biden thanked all of those involved in the development and distribution of coronavirus vaccines, front-line health care workers, and deployed members of the military and their families.
“Our hearts go out to all of you who have fallen on hard times — through no fault of your own, I might add — unable to sleep at night, way down with the worry of what tomorrow will bring to you and for your family,” he said.
He spoke about how, like many other Americans, he is heeding the advice of public health experts and forgoing holiday traditions.
“Like we did over Thanksgiving, we all have to care enough for each other that we have to stay apart just a little bit longer. I know it’s hard,” Biden said.
This is expected to be the President-elect’s last formal appearance before Christmas, and Biden is planning to remain at his home near Wilmington through the holiday.
The speech comes amid a holiday season in which Americans have been advised by public health experts to not travel or gather in large groups, as coronavirus cases spike and the death toll rises across the country.
It comes one day after Biden received his first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on live national television and reassured Americans of the vaccine’s safety.
“There’s nothing to worry about,” Biden said, urging Americans to receive the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them.
Health care workers and others have started being administered the two Covid-19 vaccines — the other developed by Moderna — that were recently given emergency authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration. More than 319,000 Americans have died from the virus as of Tuesday afternoon.
The President-elect’s remarks come the day after Congress voted to approve a far-reaching $900 billion Covid relief package that promises to accelerate vaccine distribution and deliver much-needed aid to small businesses hit hard by the pandemic, Americans who have lost their jobs during the economic upheaval and frontline health care workers.
Biden has said that while immediate funding is critical, when he takes office in January, his administration will take additional action to support Americans, businesses, and fund the vaccine distribution efforts.
The President-elect has moved swiftly to build out his administration, and only has a few spots in his Cabinet left to announce. One of the most high-profile positions in his incoming administration is attorney general, and Biden is no longer expected to make that announcement before Christmas, according to a person familiar with the matter.