Biden has been the presumptive Democratic nominee since April, when Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the primary. His electoral victory in Guam on Saturday allowed him to surpass the necessary 1,991 delegates to claim the nomination on the first ballot of the party's convention, set to be held in August. Biden currently has 1,992 delegates, according to CNN's tally.
"A little more than three months ago I stood on stage in South Carolina and told the American people that ours was a campaign for everyone who has been knocked down, counted out, and left behind. Those words take on an ever greater resonance today, at a time when so many Americans are hurting and have suffered so much loss," Biden said in a statement. "So many feel knocked down by the public health and economic crisis we are weathering. So many feel counted out and left behind by a society that has for too long viewed them as less than equal, their lives as less than precious."
He added, "It was an honor to compete alongside one of the most talented groups of candidates the Democratic party has ever fielded — and I am proud to say that we are going into this general election a united party. I am going to spend every day between now and November 3rd fighting to earn the votes of Americans all across this great country so that, together, we can win the battle for the soul of this nation, and make sure that as we rebuild our economy, everyone comes along."
The moment comes after the coronavirus pandemic postponed most of the primaries scheduled to take place in April and May and halted in-person campaigning.
Seven states -- Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Dakota -- as well as Washington, DC, held presidential primary elections last Tuesday, from which Biden picked up a large haul of delegates. He is expected to earn more this upcoming Tuesday, when Georgia and West Virginia hold primary contests.
The CNN Poll of Polls on the general election matchup between President Donald Trump and Biden finds 51% of registered voters nationwide back Biden while 41% support Trump. That represents a shift in Biden's favor since April, when the CNN Poll of Polls found support for Biden averaging 48% while Trump averaged 43% support.
Biden's clinching of the nomination comes after more than a week of turmoil in the United States, with protests against racism and police brutality roiling the country after the death of a black man in police custody in Minnesota. Biden, in his first trip outside Delaware in months, delivered a speech on Tuesday in Philadelphia condemning Trump and addressing the protests taking place across the nation.
"'I can't breathe. I can't breathe.' George Floyd's last words. But they didn't die with him. They're still being heard. They're echoing across this nation," Biden said.
"They speak to a nation where too often just the color of your skin puts your life at risk. They speak to a nation where more than 100,000 people have lost their lives to a virus and 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment -- with a disproportionate number of these deaths and job losses concentrated in the black and minority communities," Biden said. "And they speak to a nation where every day millions of people -- not at the moment of losing their life -- but in the course of living their life -- are saying to themselves, 'I can't breathe.'"