In a deeply personal and at times emotional speech, President-elect Joe Biden delivered a final goodbye to his home state of Delaware on Tuesday before departing for the White House, thanking his supporters and the state he said helped raise him.
“It's kind of emotional for me,” Mr Biden said behind tears. “Look, you were with me my whole career, through the good times and the bad.”
“In our family, the values we share, the character we strive for, the way we view the world — it all comes from home,” he added. "It all comes from Delaware."
The president-elect, who was set to be sworn in on the steps of the US Capitol on Wednesday, recalled meeting his wife, soon-to-be First Lady Dr Jill Biden, in the state where he served as a US Senator. He also recounted how much his late son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, loved their hometown.
“I only have one regret, that he’s not here,” Mr Biden said while referring to his late son, “because we should be introducing him as president.”
Mr Biden was scheduled to board a plane and fly to the nation’s capital shortly after the remarks, where he will preside over a national memorial honouring the 400,000 Americans who have died due to the coronavirus pandemic, alongside Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
On Monday, Mr Biden participated in the Martin Luther King Day of National Service by volunteering at a local food bank in Philadelphia with his family, where he was seen loading canned goods onto a conveyor belt.
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Mr Biden has continued to reside in Wilmington, Delaware following his electoral victory against President Donald Trump in the 2020 elections, where he has overseen his Presidential Inauguration Committee and began receiving daily intelligence briefings. The president-elect also led the bulk of his campaign from Delaware.
Mr Biden was expected to board a private jet to the nation’s capital rather than a government aircraft, which some have noted was a departure from traditional security protocols for a president-elect.
Before departing, he told the audience: “Excuse the emotion but when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart.”
There will be an unprecedented National Guard presence and enhanced security at Mr Biden’s inauguration following the deadly pro-Trump riots earlier this month. Inauguration Day 2021 has been declared a special national security event, allowing city security officials to coordinate with federal agencies like the FBI and Secret Service.
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