Joe Biden tears up in emotional Delaware farewell speech ahead of inauguration

20 January 2021, 00:04 | Updated: 20 January 2021, 00:44

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Joe Biden struggled to hold back the tears while delivering a moving farewell speech in Delaware ahead of his inauguration on Wednesday.

The president-elect was overcome with emotion on Tuesday afternoon as he delivered an address thanking his staff in Delaware and honouring his late son Beau, who died of brain cancer at the age of 46.

Mr Biden gave a moving tribute to his child, saying it should have been him who was being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.

"You know... it's kind of emotional for me," he said, standing in front of the Major Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III National Guard Centre.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I only have one regret: He’s not here, because we should be introducing him as president,” the 78-year-old said as he fought back the tears.

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Joe Biden struggled to hold back tears during his farewell address to Delaware
Joe Biden struggled to hold back tears during his farewell address to Delaware. Picture: PA

"It's deeply personal that our next journey to Washington starts here (in Delaware), a place that defines the very best of who we are as Americans," Mr Biden said.

"I know theses are dark times, but there's always light. That's what makes this state so special; that's what it taught me."

He added: "12 years ago I was waiting at the train station in Wilmington for a black man (Barack Obama) to pick me up on our way to Washington, where we were sworn in as president and vice-president of the United States of America.

"And here we are today, my family and I, about to return to Washington to meet a black woman (Kamala Harris), of South Asian descent, to be sworn in as president and vice-president of the United States.

"As I told Beau on that station, waiting for Barack and Hunter, I said 'don't tell me things can't change'. They can and they do. That's America. That's Delaware. A place of hope and light and limitless possibilities.

"And I'm truly honoured to be your next president and commander-in-chief and I'll always be a proud son of the state of Delaware."

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Quoting Irish poet James Joyce, Mr Biden said: "When it came to his time to pass, when he dies he said: 'Dublin... Dublin will be written on my heart'."

The president-elect then paused, with tears visibly streaming down his face.

"Excuse the emotion, but when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart and the hearts of all Bidens.

"We love you all. You've been there for us in the good and the bad, you never walked away. And I am proud; proud, proud, proud to be a son of Delaware.

"And I am even more proud to be standing here doing this from the Major Beau Biden Facility.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I only have one regret; he’s not here, because we should be introducing him as president."