Joe Biden on Saturday defeated Donald Trump to become the United States 46th president and said it was time to unite as a country. Biden said he will be “a president for all Americans”.
Winning the battleground state of Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral College votes gave him more than the 270 he needed to secure the presidency. Biden is the oldest candidate ever elected to the White House. He spent eight years as vice president to Barack Obama.
Kamala Harris also made history with her election as Biden’s vice president, the first time a woman, and a woman of color, won the second highest position. Harris, a Senator from California, called on Americans to “get started” with the work after networks projected her victory.
Meanwhile, Trump refused to formally concede the US election. He said his campaign would begin challenging US election results in court next week. The president has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the election.
(All time stamps are in Indian Standard Time.)
Here are the top updates of the day:
12.20 am: Jill Biden, Joe Biden’s 69-year-old wife and now the US First Lady, tweets a photo to celebrate the president-elect’s victory. “He will be a president for all of our families,” she says.
12.12 am: Modi says Kamala Harris’ success is “path breaking and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans”.
“I am confident that the vibrant India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership,” the prime minister adds.
12.08 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulates President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
“As the VP, your contribution to strengthening Indo-US relations was critical and invaluable,” he tweets. “I look forward to working closely together once again to take India-US relations to greater heights.”
11.45 pm: Barack Obama also expresses confidence in his former vice president: “I know he’ll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote.”
11.42 pm: Former President Barack Obama congratulates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for winning the election.
“I could not be prouder to congratulate our next President, Joe Biden, and our next First Lady, Jill Biden,” Obama says in a statement. “We’re fortunate that Joe’s got what it takes to be president and already carries himself that way. Because when he walks into the White House in January, he’ll face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has – a raging pandemic, an unequal economy and justice system, a democracy at risk, and a climate in peril.”
Obama also thanks everyone who was part of the campaign to get them elected, while urging Americans to find a common ground and “lower the temperature”.
11.35 pm: Doug Emhoff, the husband of Kamala Harris, shares a photo of him hugging the vice president-elect after her victory. “So proud of you,” he tweets.
11.28 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi congratulates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for winning the elections. “I’m confident that he will unite America and provide it with a strong sense of direction,” he tweets. “It makes us proud that the first woman to serve as vice president of the USA traces her roots to India.”
11.20 pm: Hillary Clinton celebrates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ victory. Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump. “It’s a history-making ticket, a repudiation of Trump, and a new page for America,” she tweets. “Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. Onward, together.”
11.08 pm: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will address the country at 8 pm ET, according to a press release from their campaign. In India, it will be 6.30 am.
11 pm: Vice President-elect Kamala Harris shares a video of her phone call with President-elect Joe Biden after they were declared winners.
“We did it,” Harris laughs. “We did it, Joe. You’re going to be the next president of the United States.”
10.58 pm: Meanwhile, the AP announces that Joe Biden has also won Nevada and its six electoral votes.
10.55 pm: Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have updated their Twitter bios to reflect their new positions.
10.52 pm: Political leaders have started congratulating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for their victory.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is “really looking forward to” working with Biden and Harris. He also highlights the close relationship between Canada and the United States.
Meanwhile, Ireland Prime Minister Taoiseach Micheál Martin calls Biden “a true friend to this nation”.
10.50 pm: In a statement, President-elect Joe Biden urges Americans to unite in this time of crisis. “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” Biden says. “It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”
10.47 pm: The atmosphere is United States is jubilant as people cheer for Joe Biden.
10.40 pm: Donald Trump refuses to concede after Joe Biden has been declared president-elect, reports The Guardian.
“We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed,” says Trump. “The simple fact is this election is far from over. Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.”
10.36 pm: United States’ Vice President-elect Kamala Harris celebrates her and Joe Biden’s victory. “This election is about so much more than Joe Biden or me,” Harris tweets. “It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started.”
10.30 pm: President-elect Joe Biden thanks the American people for their support. “America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country,” he tweets. “The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a president for all Americans – whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me.”
10.25 pm: America celebrates as Biden secures votes of more than 74 million people to become the next United States president.
10.20 pm: Videos of celebration after Joe Biden wins the presidency.
10.15 pm: With Joe Biden’s victory, Kamala Harris will be first person of color to become vice president.
10 pm: BBC, The Guardian and AP have also called it for Joe Biden.
9.59 pm: CNN has projected that Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States. The channel says that with Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, Biden now has a total of 273 electoral votes.
8.12 pm: Donald Trump announces that there will be a “big press conference” in Philadelphia at 11.30 am.
7.45 pm: Ellen Weintraub, a Federal Election Commission official, tells CNN that “there really has been no evidence of fraud” in the election this year.
“State and local officials and poll workers throughout the country really stepped up. And there have been very few complaints about how this election was run. Very few substantiated complaints, let me put it that way. There is no evidence of any kind of voter fraud. There is no evidence of illegal votes being cast. In fact, and you don’t have to take my word for it, because people throughout the country, nonpartisan election experts, have come out and handled this election and how it was run.”— Ellen Weintraub
US President Donald Trump has made a number of accusations of fraud for which he did not provide evidence.
7.07 pm: President Donald Trump is undermining the US election again and falsely tweeting that: “Tens of thousands of votes were illegally received after 8 pm on Tuesday, Election Day, totally and easily changing the results in Pennsylvania and certain other razor thin states.”
7 pm: Allegheny County in Pennsylvania has about 20,000 ballots left to count, reports CNN.
5.20 pm: Multiple Rupert Murdoch-owned media outlets in the United States seem to be preparing their readers for President Donald Trump’s impending loss in the elections.
5.15 pm: Here’s how things are in the states that still have ballots to be counted, as per The New York Times.
- Pennsylvania: Joe Biden is currently up by 28,833 votes.
- Georgia: Joe Biden is leading by 7,248 votes.
- Arizona: Joe Biden is currently up by 29,861 votes.
- Nevada: Joe Biden is leading by 22,657 votes
4.55 pm: Eric Trump, son of President Donald Trump, also repeats unproven voter fraud claim.
3.30 pm: Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell says there will definitely be a peaceful transfer of power if Joe Biden wins the presidential race, reports BBC. “We’ve had a peaceful transfer of power going back to 1792, every four years, we’ve moved on to a new administration,” he says.
However, President Donald Trump has continued to press unfounded claims of fraud in the election, indicating he might not be ready to concede.
2.50 pm: Joe Biden is ahead of Donald Trump by 28,833 votes in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, reports The New York Times. So far, 96% of the state’s ballots have been counted and the remaining ones are expected to favour Democrats.
2.22 pm: Temporary flight restrictions have been extended over Joe Biden’s house in Wilmington, Delaware, BBC reports.
There has been a 1.6 km radius Temporary Flight Restriction around Biden’s residence since he became Democratic nominee, at the request of the Secret Service. But on 4 November that radius was expanded to three miles, and on Friday the order was extended until at least 11 November.
2.14 pm: Multiple Rupert Murdoch-owned pro-Republican media outlets in the United States have shifted their messaging as if to warn readers and viewers that Donald Trump may well have lost the presidential election, The Guardian reports.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham during a broadcast issued an appeal to Trump to preserve his “legacy” by showing grace in defeat.
“If and when it’s time to accept an unfavourable outcome in this election, and we hope it never comes, but if and when that does happen, president Trump needs to do it with the same grace and composure he demonstrated at that town hall with Savannah Guthrie. So many people remarked about his tone and presence. Exactly what he needs.”— Fox News' Laura Ingraham
1.57 pm: A small numbers update from Georgia, which is headed for a recount in any case. Biden is now up by 7,248 votes, reports CNN.
1.30 pm: Where are the numbers now?
Counting seems to have slowed down for the moment, as results are still awaited from four major swing states – Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona.
Georgia will hold a recount, though it is unclear when. Biden is ahead by a very slim margin here, and it was certain the Trump campaign would demand a recount in the state anyway. With 16 electoral votes, Trump needs the state if he has any chance of winning.
Final results from Arizona and Nevada may even take a few more days, as 93% of votes have been counted in Nevada, and 95% in Arizona.
Counting in Pennsylvania might end before in Nevada and Arizona, but it still has not been called for either opponent. With 20 electoral votes, Biden will win the election if the state votes in his favour. Trump cannot win a second term if he doesn’t win this state. Approximately 96% of votes have been counted in the state.
These are Biden’s leads in the four states, according to CNN:
- Georgia: 4,430 votes
- Nevada: 22,657
- Pennsylvania: 28,833
- Arizona: 29,861
12.35 pm: There have been no vote count updates from the remaining states in the last couple of hours.
In Pennsylvania – the state with the most electoral votes yet to be called – there are approximately 89,000 outstanding ballots, reports CNN.
10.20 am: As news in the Trump camp appears dark, the incumbent president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has contracted the coronavirus, Bloomberg reports. The White House has not commented on the development yet.
Besides Meadows, a Trump campaign aide Nick Trainer also has the virus.
Meadows has reportedly been seen at the campaign headquarters recently without a mask, and has met with several senior officials.
9.26 am: “We maybe opponents, we’re not enemies. We’re Americans,” he says. Biden emphasises that people need to put aside hate and “vitriol” and move forward together.
“We have some serious problems... we don’t have any more time to waste.”
9.25 am: Biden says: “We have to remain calm, patient. Let the process work out. Democracy works. Your vote will be counted no matter how hard people try to stop it. I will not let it happen.”
9.24 am: Biden says he and Kamala Harris met with experts on Covid-19 and the economy through the day, preparing for the work ahead. He speaks about the coronavirus pandemic, saying numbers are expected to grow, but that he and Harris will tackle the outbreak and try to get it under control.
“We can’t save any of the lives that have been lost but we can save a lot of lives in the months ahead,” he says.
9.22 am: Biden is speaking. He says, “We’re going to win.” He says watching the vote tally on TV can be “numbing” but that the numbers represent voters. He adds that the slow mandate is clear that people want the “country to come together”.
“We don’t have a final declaration of victory yet, but the numbers tell us it’s clear. Tell us a clear and convincing story. We are going to win this race.”
9 am: Biden is expected to speak soon.
8.20 am: CNN reports that Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania further grows to 27,130 votes.
Trump’s prospects of winning the state are dwindling further.
8.07 am: Cindy McCain, wife of late Republican veteran John McCain, tells ABC News she is confident Biden will win their home state of Arizona.
Trump and John McCain had had a longstanding feud as McCain had not held back on criticism of the president when he was alive. McCain had not supported him as the Republican candidate for president either.
7.57 am: Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania grows to 21,705 votes, while Trump gains votes in Arizona, trailing by 29,861, reports AFP.
7.52 am: Joe Biden’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has about 80% of votes counted, reports CNN. Biden has 5,55,833 votes here, while Trump has 1,25,897, or around 18.3% of the ballot.
7.45 am: Around 2.35 lakh outstanding ballots are likely to be counted in Arizona over the weekend, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs tells CNN. Arizona is the only state among the four most-watched remaining ones where Trump is closing in on Biden.
7.30 am: A quick voting update:
- Arizona: Biden is ahead by 39,070 votes here. The gap between him and Trump has been closing since Election Day, though AP and Fox News had called the state for the Democrat.
- Georgia: Biden is up by 4,175 votes in the state, which has 16 electoral votes. Georgia has already said it will hold a recount since the margin between the two contenders is too slim.
- In the crucial state of Pennsylvania, Biden is ahead by 14,923 votes. Biden will win if he captures this state with its 20 electoral votes.
- Nevada: Biden is ahead here too, by more than 22,000 votes.
7.21 am: In Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court orders officials to segregate ballots being received by mail after Election Day, and to count them separately, CNN reports. This comes after a lawsuit was filed by Pennsylvania Republicans, claiming that parts of the state were not following guidelines.
7.18 am: Joe Biden is likely to make a short speech before the end of Friday night, local time, reports say. This is regardless of whether he has officially won. Biden nor his vice-presidential pick Kamala Harris have tweeted about the results.
7.15 am: A federal judge dismisses a Republican lawsuit alleging voter fraud in Nevada, reports The Guardian. The lawsuit wanted more observation access to ballot counting in Nevada’s Clark County and to block the use of a signature verification machine.
A look at the major updates from Friday:
- Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden inched closer to the 270 electoral votes needed to become the next United States president. He is ahead of President Donald Trump in the battleground states of Georgia and Pennsylvania. Biden is also leading in Nevada and Arizona.
- Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, said there will be a recount in the state. “With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia,” he told reporters in Atlanta.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, called Biden the “president-elect” of the United States. “This morning it is clear that the Biden-Harris ticket will win the White House,” she told reporters after Biden leads in Pennsylvania. “President-Elect Biden has a strong mandate to lead.”
- United States President Donald Trump’s campaign said that the election was not yet over. Matt Morgan, Trump’s 2020 election campaign general counsel, said that Biden’s projection as winner was based on the result of the four states that are not final. “Georgia is headed for for a recount, where we are confident we will find ballot improperly harvested, and where president Trump will ultimately prevail,” the statement said.
- Earlier in the day, United States President Donald Trump claimed the election result so far was part of a broad conspiracy to deprive him of a second term by Democrats. He renewed his claims that Democrats are trying to “steal” the election from him. “If you count the legal votes I easily win,” Trump added, providing no evidence for his claim. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”