Biden appeals for unity – in election and in coronavirus fight – after latest primary wins

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Former Vice President Joe Biden called for unity among Democrats and Americans in general Tuesday night, as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic -- and as he claimed big wins in the latest Democratic primaries.

Biden addressed an online audience from his home in Wilmington, Del., noting the significance of strong leadership as well as action from individuals such as social distancing.


“Yes, this is a moment where we need our leaders to lead," Biden said, "but it's also a moment where the choices and decisions we make as individuals are going to collectively impact on what happens, make a big difference in the severity of this outbreak, and the ability of our medical and hospital systems to handle it."

The Democratic presidential hopeful expressed optimism in the American public's ability to overcome.

"That's who we are. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things when the need arises," he said.

Biden then addressed Tuesday's primaries, where he decisively won in Florida and Illinois, with results from Arizona's primary still incoming as he spoke. A fourth scheduled primary, in Ohio, was abruptly postponed as a coronavirus-related precaution.

As he has done in the past, Biden touted his ability to form coalitions, mentioning support he has received from black and Latino voters, as well as suburban women, laborers and teachers.

Biden then addressed the portion of the Democratic electorate that he still needs to win over: Sen. Bernie Sanders' supporters. He appealed to them by claiming that while he and Sanders differ in their "tactics," they "share a common vision" that includes affordable health care, decreasing income inequality, and climate change, which Biden referred to as "the existential threat of our time."

The moderate Biden praised the "remarkable passion and tenacity " of Sanders and his supporters, and recognized that "they have shifted the fundamental conversation in this country."

Specifically addressing younger voters who are inspired by Sanders, Biden had a clear message: "I hear you, I know what’s at stake. I know what we have to do."

Biden concluded by stating that his goal is to unify the Democratic Party and the country as a whole, using the coronavirus outbreak as an example for what kind of unity is needed.

"It’s moments like these that we realize we have to put politics aside and work together as Americans. The coronavirus doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or Republican. It will not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender, or your zip code. It will touch people in positions of power as well as the most vulnerable people in our society," he said.


Earlier in the evening, Sanders gave an online address, as well, providing a detailed list of proposals to address the medical and economic issues caused by the novel coronavirus.

Sanders said his proposals would cost "at least $2 trillion" and included monthly $2,000 checks sent to American households and expansion of Medicare to all Americans.