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President-elect Joe Biden ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images Plus
Observers in the restaurant industry embraced Biden as the presumed President-elect.

Joe Biden named president-elect, calls for healing after contentious election

Despite President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede, restaurant industry calls for lawmakers to get back to the work of passing legislation to bring economic relief

Former Vice President Joe Biden was named the presumptive winner of the contentious 2020 Presidential election on Saturday, prompting millions of Americans to pour into the streets in celebration after a tense week awaiting results.

The Associated Press and most major networks — including eventually the Republican-leaning Fox News — called the election for Biden after he won in Pennsylvania, blowing past the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the White House, though votes in some states were still being counted. As of Sunday night, Biden had also won the popular vote with 75.4 million ballots cast for the Biden/Harris ticket, or 50.5% of the vote, compared with 71.1 million for Trump.

In speech before a jubilant crowd in his home state of Delaware Saturday night, Biden declared victory for “We the People,” pledging to be a president “who doesn’t see red and blue states, but a United States.”

To those who voted for Trump, Biden said, “I understand your disappointment tonight. I’ve lost a couple of elections myself. But now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric. To lower the temperature.  To see each other again. To listen to each other again.

“To make progress,” Biden continued, “we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans.”

As of Sunday night, however, President Donald Trump had yet to concede, tweeting unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. 

A number of lawsuits have reportedly been filed challenging the results and Trump supporters across the country appeared to remain defiant. Some of the lawsuits, however, have been dismissed for lack of merit and legal experts question whether those remaining are likely to change the outcome.

Meanwhile, observers embraced Biden as the presumed President-elect.

“The National Restaurant Association applauds the election of President-elect Joe Biden and we look forward to working with his administration and the new Congress in 2021,” said Tom Bené, the NRA’s president and CEO, in a statement. “The record-setting turnout of this election underscores that now, more than ever, Americans are depending on their elected officials to work together to pass legislation to support the nation’s recovery.”

Bené pointed to the estimated 100,000 restaurants that have closed permanently as a result of the pandemic, with another 40% not expected to make it through the winter without legislative relief from the federal government.  He called on Congress to support immediate relief efforts before looking at longer-term solutions in January. “We urge Congress and the Trump Administration to return to work quickly and help get the nation on a path towards recovery,” said Bené.

Chicago McDonald’s worker and a leader in the Fight for $15 effort to increase the minimum wage Adriana Alvarez issued a statement celebrating the win for Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris. Biden has expressed support for a $15 per hour minimum wage.

“We voted Biden/Harris because we need $15/hour. We need good union jobs. We need healthcare we can actually afford. And we need racial  justice in our communities, so Black and brown folks can live healthy, safe and full lives, without fear,” said Alvarez. “But our work is far from over. Now that the election is behind us, we’ll be in the streets, fighting to make sure Biden and Harris deliver on their promises to working people. That includes passing a $15/hour federal minimum wage in the first 100 days, rewriting the rules to make it easier to join a union, and holding McDonald’s and other giant employers accountable to their workers.”

Over the weekend, restaurant operators took to social media with messages of congratulations for Biden and Harris.

Danny Meyer, founder of New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group, tweeted a message of reconciliation.

Momofuku Group founder and chef David Chang posted his support.

Biden said a first step would be the creation of a new transition task force to address the rising coronavirus count. On Saturday alone, 126,742 new cases were reported by Johns Hopkins University, marking the fourth day that new cases totaled more than 100,000, according to CNN. Since the pandemic began, more than 237,000 in the U.S. have died of the virus.

“We cannot repair the economy, restore our vitality, or relish life’s most precious moments — hugging a grandchild, birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us — until we get this virus under control,” said Biden in his speech.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on  Twitter: @livetodineout

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