When the presidential election was called in favor of Joe Biden on Saturday, cities around the country erupted in spontaneous celebration. Biden2020 Deputy Campaign Manager Rufus Gifford told Boston Public Radio on Monday that he too found himself breathing a "collective sigh of relief. ... I don't think I fully understood how much of a relief it was."
"It was hard to fight back tears," Gifford said. Biden's win, he added, is "a victory for truth, a victory for compassion, a victory for empathy, and for unity. For seeing our fellow Americans as fellow Americans and not as red states or blue states."
While Biden led the popular vote by more than 4 million ballots, President Donald Trump garnered more than 70 million votes in an election that broke turnout records.
"We also have to acknowledge that 70-plus million Americans probably don't feel the same way that we do, and we do have to figure out how to bridge those gaps," Gifford said.
One of the most marked differences between Biden and Trump that Americans can expect is their style, Gifford said, adding that Biden's public persona as a compassionate public servant matches his personal character. This is opposed, he said, to Trump's divisive public persona of reality TV star-turned president.
"This is not staged. Joe Biden is compassion personified," Gifford said.
Gifford noted that the president-elect's team has begun the transition process — announcing Monday their own COVID-19 team — even as Trump has refused to concede the election.
"We fully expect and anticipate — well, I'd say this, we hope and expect the Trump administration will cooperate with us. We will be waiting for that to happen, and we hope it does," he said.
Gifford was the U.S. ambassador to Denmark during President Barack Obama’s second term, and he was the national finance director for Obama’s reelection campaign.