Joe Biden Gives 2020 Thanksgiving Address, Says He Knows It’s Hard to ‘Forego Family Traditions’

by Jon D. B.

In his first holiday address to the nation as President-elect, Joe Biden is reminding Americans “we are at war with a virus, not each other.”

As Thanksgiving 2020 approaches, COVID-19 cases are spiking nationwide. The end of November marks ten consecutive months of battling the virus on U.S. soil. In this short span of time, nearly 260,000 American lives have been lost to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Americans do not travel for Thanksgiving. In addition, the U.S.’s top infectious disease doctor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is asking Americans to limit holiday gatherings. Indeed, he advises us all to make Thanksgiving get-togethers as “small as you possibly can.”

Speaking to all of this, President-elect Joe Biden gave his first holiday speech as confirmed President-elect of the United States. Within the 7 page, 18-minute dialogue, Biden chooses to face the reality of the pandemic and the American lives we’ve lost head-on. Broadcast live from Wilmington, Deleware, the address comes from “the office of the President-elect of the United States.”

“I know the country’s grown weary of the fight,” Biden says early in his address. “But we need to remember, we’re at war with the virus, not with one another. Not with each other. This is the moment where we need to steel our spines, redouble our efforts and recommit ourselves to the fight.”

“Let’s remember: We’re all in this together,” he urges.

Joe Biden Speaks to Affected Families through Personal Loss

Moreover, Biden touches on the loss so many Americans have suffered throughout this year. So many have lost loved ones to this virus. Through the lens of his own personal experiences with immense loss, the President-elect speaks to those who will be dining without a loved one for the first time this Thanksgiving.

“I know that this time of year can be especially difficult. Believe me, I know,” Biden says as he must pause for a moment. “I remember that first Thanksgiving. The empty chair, the silence. Takes your breath away.”

Biden’s late son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015 at the young age of 46. Before that, his wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident on Christmas in 1972.

“It’s really hard to care,” Biden continues with a rasp in his voice. “It’s hard to give thanks. It’s hard to even think of looking forward, and it’s so hard to hope. I understand. I’ll be thinking and praying for each and every one of you at this Thanksgiving.”

‘Every Decision We Make Can Save Lives’

Previously, Joe Biden stated in a news conference that he and his family would be following U.S. Health & Safety regulations. As a result, they will not be traveling or having a large family gathering this Thanksgiving. Within these guidelines, health experts request that no more than 10 people gather in a single room.

“I know how hard it is to forego family traditions, but it’s so very important,” Biden relates. In doing so, he urges other Americans to heed the same guidelines.

“Every decision we make matters. Every decision we make can save lives. None of these steps we’re asking people to take are political statements. Every one of them is based on science, real science,” Biden clarifies.

The President-elect then chose to end his address on a hopeful note.

“I still believe we have much to be thankful for,” Biden says. “There’s so much to hope for, much to build on, much to dream on.”

“There’s real hope, tangible hope. So hang on. Don’t let yourself surrender to the fatigue, which I understand, it is real fatigue. I know we can and we will beat this virus. America is not going to lose this war. We’ll get our lives back. Life is going to return to normal, I promise you. This will happen. This will not last forever.”

Watch: President-elect Joe Biden Delivers Thanksgiving Address

Tune in as President-elect Joe Biden delivers a Thanksgiving address on the shared sacrifices Americans are making this holiday season and how we’ll get through this crisis together.


[Read the full transcript for this speech here]