Biden addresses the nation; declares ‘mandate for action’ as lead grows

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Carolyn Kaster/AP via ABC News)

By Libby Cathey | ABC News

Former Vice President Joe Biden took to the stage in Wilmington, Delaware, Friday night as his lead over President Donald Trump grew in battleground states that could the decide the election.

With independent outlets yet to declare victory, Biden urged Americans to keep calm, have faith in the system and stay patient while every vote is counted as he has each day since Election Day.

“I know watching these vote tallies on TV moves very slow, and as slow as it goes, it can be numbing,” Biden said. “But never forget, the tallies aren’t just numbers. They represent votes and voters. Men and women who exercised their fundamental right to have their voice heard.”

Biden stopped short of claiming victory, but did say “the numbers tell us it’s clear.”

“We’re going to win this race,” he said.

As of Friday afternoon, Biden had 253 of the 270 needed while Trump trailed with 214. Biden’s count includes Wisconsin, where ABC News is characterizing him as the apparent winner because the vote is very close and has not yet been certified.

It’s unlikely Americans will see a traditional concession speech should he lose, sources said. They believe Trump will never admit he lost this election should he lose but instead will stick with the words “rigged,” “fraud” or “stolen.”

There have been discussions in the Trump orbit about who might tell the president the reality that he may not win reelection, sources told ABC News’ John Santucci and Katherine Faulders.

But so far, none of those conversations have happened, they said, saying the short list include Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham or even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Questioned on Capitol Hill Friday morning, McConnell refused to comment on the baseless claims Trump made Thursday evening, referring reporters instead to a tweet he posted Friday morning echoing Trump’s language with no criticism.

“Here’s how this must work in our great country: Every legal vote should be counted. Any illegally-submitted ballots must not. All sides must get to observe the process. And the courts are here to apply the laws & resolve disputes,” McConnell said in the tweet. “That’s how Americans’ votes decide the result.”

McConnell dismissed repeated questions, saying, “I sent out a statement on Twitter this morning that I think that you’ve all gotten and beyond that I don’t have anything to say on that particular subject.”