President-elect Joe Biden declared it was “time to heal” a deeply divided America in his first speech after prevailing on Saturday in a bitter election, even as President Donald Trump refused to concede.

 

'Now is when the real work begins' -Harris

03:07

Biden’s victory in the battleground state of Pennsylvania put him over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes he needed to clinch the presidency, ending four days of nail-biting suspense and sending his supporters into the streets of major cities in celebration.

“The people of this nation have spoken. They have delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory,” Biden told honking and cheering supporters in a parking lot in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.


The Democrat pledged that as president he would seek to unify the country and “marshal the forces of decency” to battle the coronavirus pandemic, rebuild economic prosperity, secure healthcare for American families, and root out systemic racism.

Without mentioning his Republican rival directly, Biden addressed the 70 million Americans who cast ballots in support of Trump, some of whom took to the streets on Saturday to demonstrate against the results.

“For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight. I’ve lost a couple times myself. But now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again,” he said.

“This is the time to heal in America.”

He also thanked Black voters, saying that even at his campaign’s lowest moments the African American community had stood up for him. “They always have my back, and I’ll have yours,” he said.

Biden was introduced by his running mate, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman, the first Black American and the first American of Asian descent to serve as vice president, the country’s No. 2 office.


“What a testament it is to Joe’s character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country, and select a woman as his vice president,” Harris said.

Congratulations poured in from abroad, including from conservative British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, making it hard for Trump to push his repeated claims, without evidence, that the election was rigged against him.

Trump, who was golfing when the major television networks projected his rival had won, immediately accused Biden of “rushing to falsely pose as the winner.”

“This election is far from over,” he said in a statement.

Trump has filed a raft of lawsuits to challenge the results but elections officials in states across the country say there has been no evidence of significant fraud, and legal experts say Trump’s efforts are unlikely to succeed.

As the news of his win broke, cheers and applause were heard around Washington, with people emerging onto balconies, honking car horns and banging pots. The wave of noise in the nation’s capital built as more people learned of the news. Some sobbed. Music began to play, “We are the Champions” blared.

In the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, some people erupted in screams of joy as word spread. Several residents danced on the fire escape of one building, cheering while others screamed “yes!” as they passed by.

Trump supporters reacted with a mix of disappointment, suspicion, and resignation, highlighting the difficult task that Biden faces winning over many Americans in more rural areas who believe Trump was the first president to govern with their interests at heart.

“It’s sickening and sad,” said Kayla Doyle, a 35-year-old Trump supporter, and manager of the GridIron Pub on Main Street in the small town of Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. “I think it’s rigged.”

Angry pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” demonstrators gathered at state capitol buildings in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. Protesters in Phoenix chanted “We want audits!” One speaker told the crowd: “We will win in court!”

There were no signs of the violence or turmoil many had feared, and the pro-Trump protests mostly faded as the results sunk in. Prior to the election, Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost, and he falsely declared victory long before counting was complete.

Former and present political leaders also weighed in, including congratulations from former Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican U.S. Senator Mitt Romney. Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham called on the Justice Department to investigate claims of voting irregularities.

The networks’ declaration for Biden came amid concerns within Trump’s team about the strategy going forward and pressure on him to pick a professional legal team to outline where they believe voter fraud took place and provide evidence.

Trump’s allies made it clear the president does not plan to concede anytime soon.

One Trump loyalist said Trump simply was not ready to admit defeat even though there would not be enough ballots thrown out in a recount to change the outcome. “There’s a mathematical certainty that he’s going to lose,” the loyalist said.

Biden’s win ends Trump’s chaotic four-year presidency in which he played down a deadly pandemic, imposed harsh immigration policies, launched a trade war with China, tearing up international agreements, and deeply divided many American families with his inflammatory rhetoric, lies, and willingness to abandon democratic norms.


On Saturday, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien urged supporters to be ready to attend protests or rallies that the campaign is “propping up around the country,” according to a person familiar with the situation.


DIFFICULT TASK AHEAD

For Biden’s supporters, it was fitting that Pennsylvania ensured his victory. He was born in the industrial city of Scranton in the state’s northeast and, touting his middle-class credentials, secured the Democratic nomination with a promise to win back working-class voters who had supported Trump in 2016.

He launched his campaign in Pittsburgh last year and wrapped it up with a rally there on Tuesday. It was a tight race in industrial states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, but Biden did enough to prevail.

He faced unprecedented challenges. These included Republican-led efforts to limit mail-in voting at a time when a record number of people were due to vote by mail because of the pandemic, which has killed more than 236,000 people in the United States.

When Biden enters the White House on Jan. 20, the oldest person to assume the office at age 78, he likely will face a difficult task governing in a deeply polarized Washington, underscored by a record nationwide voter turnout.

Both sides characterized the 2020 election as one of the most crucial in U.S. history, as important as votes during the 1860s Civil War and the 1930s Great Depression.

Biden’s victory was driven by strong support from groups including women, African Americans, white voters with college degrees, and city-dwellers. He beat Trump by more than four million votes in the nationwide popular vote count.


Biden, who has spent half a century in public life as a U.S. senator and then vice president under Trump’s predecessor Obama, will inherit a nation in turmoil over the coronavirus pandemic and the related economic slowdown as well as protests against racism and police brutality.

Biden has said his first priority will be developing a plan to contain and recover from the pandemic, promising to improve access to testing and, unlike Trump, to heed the advice of leading public health officials and scientists.

In addition to taming the health crisis, Biden faces a huge challenge remedying the economic hardship caused by the pandemic. Some 10 million Americans thrown out of work during coronavirus lockdowns remain idled, and federal relief programs have expired.

The U.S. economy remains technically in recession, and prospects are bleak for a return to work for millions, especially in service industries such as hospitality and entertainment where job losses hit women and minorities particularly hard.

Biden also has pledged to restore a sense of normalcy to the White House after a presidency in which Trump praised authoritarian foreign leaders, disdained longstanding global alliances, refused to disavow white supremacists, and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the U.S. election system.

Despite his victory, Biden will have failed to deliver the sweeping repudiation to Trump that Democrats had hoped for, reflecting the deep support the president still retains.

This could complicate Biden’s campaign promises to reverse key parts of Trump’s legacy. These include deep Trump tax cuts that especially benefited corporations and the wealthy, hardline immigration policies, efforts to dismantle the 2010 Obamacare healthcare law, and Trump’s abandonment of such international agreements as the Paris climate accord and Iran nuclear deal.

Should Republicans keep control of the U.S. Senate, they would likely block large parts of his legislative agenda, including expanding healthcare and fighting climate change. That prospect could depend on the outcome of four undecided Senate races, including two in Georgia that will not be resolved until runoffs in January.

For Trump, 74, it was an unsettling end after an astonishing political rise. The real estate developer who established a nationwide brand as a reality TV personality upset Democrat Hillary Clinton to win the presidency in 2016 in his first run for elected office. Four years later, he becomes the first U.S. president to lose a re-election bid since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992.

Despite his draconian immigration curbs, Trump made surprising inroads with Latino voters. He also won battleground states such as Florida, where his pledge to prioritize the economy even if it increased the threat of the coronavirus appeared to have resonated.

In the end, though, Trump failed to significantly widen his appeal beyond a committed core of rural and working-class white voters who embraced his right-wing populism and “America First” nationalism.

Duane Fitzhugh, a 52-year-old teacher celebrating Biden’s victory outside the Trump Hotel in Washington, said it was as if an evil enchantment was being lifted.

“It’s like a pall fell over the country four years ago and we’ve been waiting years for it to end,” he said.

 Republican President Donald Trump’s campaign said on Saturday it had sued in Arizona, alleging that the Southwestern state’s most populous county incorrectly rejected votes cast on Election Day by some voters in the U.S. presidential race.

The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in Maricopa County, said poll workers told some voters to press a button after a machine had detected an “overvote.”

The campaign contended that the decision disregarded voters’ choices in those races, saying new voting machines were used on Election Day on Tuesday. The lawsuit suggested those votes could prove “determinative” in the outcome of the race between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, who was declared the winner on Saturday by major television networks.

An Arizona official rejected the lawsuit.

“This is just a stalling tactic to delay the official canvass,” said Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, in a statement through her spokeswoman. “They are grasping at straws.”

The Maricopa County Elections Department declined to comment. A spokesman for Biden did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Biden current leads Trump by 0.65%, or just over 21,000 votes in Arizona.

The Trump lawsuit, whose plaintiffs include the Arizona state Republican Party and the Republican National Committee, cited declarations by some poll observers and two voters that claimed the problem led to rejected votes.

It seeks an order requiring a manual review of purportedly overvoted ballots that were cast in-person. It also asks a judge to bar the certification of the vote until the review is complete.

The lawsuit says the review may “yield up to thousands of additional votes for” Trump.

On Saturday, a group of voters dropped a lawsuit that had made unsubstantiated claims alleging some votes cast for Trump were not counted in Maricopa County because voters used Sharpie pens.

The county - which includes Arizona’s biggest city, Phoenix - last year rolled out new tabulation equipment that made Sharpie pens the best option on Election Day because they have the fastest drying ink, Megan Gilbertson, the Maricopa County Elections Department’s communications director, said earlier this week.

Hobbs’ spokeswoman added that they “are reviewing it (the latest lawsuit) now, but it appears to be a repackaging of the ‘Sharpiegate’ lawsuit. Hopefully, this puts the matter to rest for good.”

Chanting “This isn’t over!” and “Stop the steal,” supporters of President Donald Trump protested at state capitols across the country Saturday, refusing to accept defeat and echoing Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations that the Democrats won by fraud.

From Atlanta and Tallahassee to Austin, Bismarck, Boise and Phoenix, crowds ranging in size from a few dozen to a few thousand — some of them openly carrying guns — decried the news of Joe Biden’s victory after more than three suspense-filled days of vote-counting put the Democrat over the top. Skirmishes broke out in some cities.

In Atlanta, outside the state Capitol in the longtime Republican stronghold of Georgia, chants of “Lock him up!” rang out among an estimated 1,000 Trump supporters. Others chanted, “This isn’t over! This isn’t over!” and “Fake news!” The streets were awash with American flags and Trump banners.

No immediate violence was reported, though, at one point, police moved to separate Trump opponents from supporters. Biden held a slim lead in Georgia, which hasn’t gone for a Democrat since 1992.

Jordan Kelley, a 29-year-old from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, drove three-plus hours to Atlanta to attend the pro-Trump rally.



“There’s election fraud going on here,” said Kelley, claiming that voters in Georgia, a state with a GOP governor and secretary of state, had improperly counted the ballots to put Biden ahead. “Even though I live in Tennessee, I’m an American, and I want to make sure Americans have a voice in the election.”

He planned to make the 10-hour trip to Washington next week to demonstrate on the steps of the Supreme Court, where Trump and his lawyers have vowed to eventually make his case.

Underscoring the hard feelings on both sides of the nation’s deep political divide, anti-Trump protesters in Washington booed, yelled obscenities, shouted “Loser! Loser!” and gave the finger to Trump’s motorcade as the president returned to the White House from a golf outing Saturday.

Two signs posted in front of Trump’s Washington hotel read “Don’t be a sore loser” and “Face Reality.”

For his part, Biden pleaded for unity and reconciliation in a televised address Saturday night, saying it is time for Americans to “put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature” and “stop treating our opponents like enemies.”

“Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now,” he said.

Contrary to the claims of Trump supporters, there has been no evidence of any serious vote fraud. And some Republican elected officials around the country began to distance themselves from Trump and urge him to accept the outcome gracefully.

The utter rejection of Biden as the legitimate president by Trump and his supporters appears to represent something new in American political history, said Barbara Perry, presidential studies director at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

“We typically haven’t had a leader who loses the presidency who then tells his followers, ‘This is false. This has been stolen from us,’” Perry said. “Incumbent presidents have been mad, so mad they didn’t go to the inauguration, but not like this, where they are leading those people to say this is fraudulent.”

A couple of thousand Trump supporters gathered at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg. Pennsylvania played a crucial role in Biden’s victory.

“If we don’t stop this today, it’ll all be over,” Bruce Fields, 66, said of news organizations declaring Biden the winner. “Otherwise we can kiss freedom goodbye.”



About two dozen heavily armed men, some wearing camouflage, joined the rally.

At the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, a crowd swelled to more than 1,000 within hours. Biden won Arizona on his way to victory in the Electoral College.

“It’s very suspicious that President Trump, with the red wave we’ve been seeing in Arizona, is struggling,” Kelli Ward, former state senator and chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, told boisterous pro-Trump demonstrators. “I want to know if there is any discrepancy with the numbers coming out of the machines.”

More than 1,000 people gathered at the Texas Capitol in Austin, with police keeping Trump and Biden supporters on opposite sides of the street. Several hundred demonstrators turned out in Salem, Oregon, for a “Stop the Steal” rally.

Even in a place that wasn’t close, Trump supporters gathered in droves to express support for him and vent frustration over the outcome of the election. Outside North Dakota’s Capitol in Bismarck, the state’s all-Republican congressional delegation joined chanting, sign-carrying protesters.

A few skirmishes broke out between Trump backers and pro-Biden and Black Lives Matters demonstrators, with one BLM supporter attempting to handcuff himself to a Trump supporter. The two men began wrestling on the ground.

An officer escorted the Black Lives Matter supporter to a squad car. It was unclear if he had been arrested.

In Lansing, Michigan, about 50 Trump supporters and a smaller group of marchers carrying Black Lives Matter flags converged on the state Capitol, where they pushed, shoved and shouted at one another in a tense standoff. But within moments of the race being called, a few from both sides broke into prayer, and at least one pair hugged.

Frank Dobbs, 40, of Henderson, Nevada, brought a bullhorn and a Trump 2020 flag that he wrestled within a stiff wind during a rally outside the Clark County registrar of voters office in North Las Vegas.

“It’s not over until it’s over. There’s still the courts. If ever there’s ever a time to expose widespread fraud, this is the president to do it,” Dobbs said. “The media doesn’t decide who wins the presidency. The legal voters of this country decide.”