By Jonathan Lemire and Zeke Miller | Associated Press
UPDATES: As of 5:55 p.m., Joe Biden is pledging to be a president “who seeks not to divide but to unify.”
Biden is delivering his first remarks as president-elect at a victory party in Wilmington, after he was officially declared the winner of the presidential election on Saturday. Biden jogged onto the stage wearing a black suit, black mask and light blue tie. He pointed and waved at the screaming crowd gathered to hear him speak.
Echoing his campaign stump speech, Biden promised to be a president who “doesn’t see red states or blue states, only sees the United States,” and said he would work “with all my heart” to win the confidence of all Americans.
Biden touted the fact that he’s won more votes than any presidential ticket in history, calling his win “a convincing victory, a victory for the people.” He also said he was “surprised” by seeing the celebrations and an “outpouring of joy” in the wake of his win nationwide.
Biden said that “once again, America’s bent the arc of the moral universe more toward justice.”
• As of 5:50 p.m., vice president-elect Kamala Harris is paying tribute to Black women who “so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.”
Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, is the first woman to be elected to the vice presidency.
Harris noted her ascension to the role comes 100 years after the 19th Amendment was ratified and 55 years after the signing of the Voting Rights Act, which expanded who could participate in American democracy.
She praised Joe Biden for having “the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country” by selecting a woman as his running mate.
“Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a county of possibilities,” Harris said.
The remarks were some of the most direct she has delivered about her history-making role as Biden’s running mate.
• As of 5:45 p.m., vice president-elect Kamala Harris says voters have “ushered in a new day for America.”
Harris is speaking Saturday in her first address to the nation since she and Joe Biden were declared the winners of the presidential election.
Harris says voters chose hope, unity, decency, science and truth in choosing she and Biden over President Donald Trump.
Harris, the first woman to be elected vice president, wore a white pantsuit in tribute to women’s suffrage. She also opened her remarks with a tribute to the late Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a Civil Rights icon, who said democracy is not a state but an act. Harris will also be the first Black woman to serve as vice president.
• As of 5:30 p.m., hundreds of cars filled the parking lot outside the Wilmington convention center in Delaware for a drive-in rally to celebrate Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race.
With temperatures mild Saturday night, more than 1,000 people sat on the roofs of their cars or milled around in small groups nearby, many cheering and waving American flags or Biden campaign signs. The smell of grilling meat hung in the air not unlike a football tailgate, and some of the attendees danced and sang, sweating through facemasks that appeared to be nearly universally worn.
The campaign set up cranes with towering American flags, an American-flag lined stage and projected a 10-story tall Biden-Harris logo over a digital American flag on the side of a hotel beside the convention center. Blue and red lights illuminated state flags perched on the roof of another nearby building.
Organizers first erected the stage on Tuesday night, expecting to hold a Biden Election Night party. As vote counting continued and no winner was declared, the campaign kept the stage intact and the parking lot remained surrounded by high security fences with police controlling all access in and out.
• As of 5:15 p.m., “The President will accept the results of a free and fair election.”
That’s the message from a White House official Saturday, even as President Donald Trump is refusing to concede after losing to Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump has insisted he will contest the results and his campaign has launched a flurry of legal action in a handful of states trying to overturn Biden victories.
But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said the Trump administration is following all statutory requirements that govern government transitions.
UPDATE: As of 2:20 p.m., the #Sharpiegate controversy may be over now that the attorneys who challenged the use of the markers to complete Election Day ballots in metro Phoenix told a court they’re dismissing their legal challenge.
Roopali Desai, an attorney for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, said she received notice Saturday from the court that the lawyers who filed the lawsuit are now ending the case.
A copy of the dismissal notice provided to The Associated Press doesn’t specify a reason for dismissing the case, and Alexander Kolodin, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, declined a request for comment.
Arizona election officials have said voting with a Sharpie would not invalidate their ballot. But many social media users have falsely claimed their ballots had been invalidated because they were told to use the markers to fill out their ballots.
The lawsuit alleged tabulation equipment was unable to record a voter’s ballot on Tuesday because she completed it with a Sharpie. One of the remedies sought by the lawsuit was for voters who used Sharpies to be present to watch workers count ballots, a proposition that the judge expressed skepticism about.
Election officials say votes wouldn’t be cancelled if ink from a Sharpie bleeds through the back side of ballots and that there is a process that would keep the ballots from being canceled out if problems arise.
UPDATE: As of 12:15 p.m., President Donald Trump has returned to the White House and a very different Washington, D.C., after losing his reelection bid.
Trump’s motorcade returned from his golf club in Virginia via roads largely cleared of other cars and people Saturday afternoon.
But as he approached the White House, he was welcomed home with boos and raised middle fingers. Chants of “Loser, loser, loser” and profanities also were heard as his motorcade drove by.
Trump has so far refused to concede to President-elect Joe Biden and is promising legal challenges. He is the first president to lose reelection since George H.W. Bush in 1992.
UPDATE: As of 11:35 a.m., several hundred people have gathered outside President Donald Trump’s Virginia golf club after his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden.
The crowd includes dozens of Biden supporters celebrating his win, singing, “Hey hey hey, goodbye” and chanting, “Lock him up!” — a chant frequently heard at Trump rallies, directed at people he doesn’t like.
There are also dozens of Trump supporters, many waving large Trump flags and chanting, “We love Trump!” A convoy of trucks festooned with pro-Trump and American flags has been driving up and down the street, with one driver jeering at the gathered press.
There’s horn honking, cowbell ringing, whistle-blowing and plenty of cheering.
Trump was golfing when a flurry of media outlets, including The Associated Press, declared Saturday morning that Biden had won the election.
He is now on his way back to the White House.
UPDATE: As of 10:10 a.m., former President Barack Obama said he “could not be prouder” to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
In a statement Saturday, Obama said Biden has “got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way,” because he will enter the White House facing “a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has.”
Acknowledging that the election revealed the nation remains bitterly divided, Obama said, “I know he’ll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote.”
He added: “I encourage every American to give him a chance and lend him your support.”
Biden served as Obama’s vice president for two terms.
UPDATE: As of 9:50 a.m., the Trump administration has yet to formally begin the transition to President-elect Joe Biden.
A spokesperson for the General Services Administration said early Saturday afternoon that the administrator, Emily Murphy, has not formally ascertained that Biden is the “apparent winner” of the race. The Associated Press declared Biden the victor of the race late Saturday morning.
The formal ascertainment frees up millions of dollars and opens doors at federal agencies to Biden transition staffers to begin implementing transition plans.
The spokesperson said, “GSA and its Administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law.”
For his part, President Donald Trump is not conceding the race and is promising unspecified legal challenges seeking to overturn the outcome of the race.
UPDATE: As of 9:45 a.m., President-elect Joe Biden is planning to address the nation Saturday night.
His presidential campaign announced that Biden and his wife, Jill, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will appear at a drive-in rally outside the convention center in Wilmington, Delaware.
The outdoor stage in Wilmington features projections of the Biden-Harris logo, colored lights and a line of towering American flags. Outside the security fence, people were already arriving with Biden campaign signs and chanting, “Joe! Joe!” and yelling, “We did it!” Cars in the area honked.
UPDATE: As of 9:13 a.m., Democrat Joe Biden has won Nevada, adding to his Electoral College victory over President Donald Trump.
Biden clinched Nevada on Saturday afternoon, shortly after he won the presidency by taking Pennsylvania.
WASHINGTON — Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, positioning himself to lead a nation gripped by historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil.
His victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed the processing of some ballots. Biden crossed 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania.
Biden, 77, staked his candidacy less on any distinctive political ideology than on galvanizing a broad coalition of voters around the notion that Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy. The strategy proved effective, resulting in pivotal victories in Michigan and Wisconsin as well as Pennsylvania, onetime Democratic bastions that had flipped to Trump in 2016.
Biden was on track to win the national popular vote by more than 4 million, a margin that could grow as ballots continue to be counted.
Trump seized on delays in processing the vote in some states to falsely allege voter fraud and argue that his rival was trying to seize power — an extraordinary charge by a sitting president trying to sow doubt about a bedrock democratic process.
As the vote count played out, Biden tried to ease tensions and project an image of presidential leadership, hitting notes of unity that were seemingly aimed at cooling the temperature of a heated, divided nation.
“We have to remember the purpose of our politics isn’t total unrelenting, unending warfare,” Biden said Friday night in Delaware. “No, the purpose of our politics, the work of our nation, isn’t to fan the flames of conflict, but to solve problems, to guarantee justice, to give everybody a fair shot.”
Kamala Harris also made history as the first Black woman to become vice president, an achievement that comes as the U.S. faces a reckoning on racial justice. The California senator, who is also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government, four years after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.
Trump is the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992. It was unclear whether Trump would publicly concede.
Americans showed deep interest in the presidential race. A record 103 million voted early this year, opting to avoid waiting in long lines at polling locations during a pandemic. With counting continuing in some states, Biden had already received more than 74 million votes, more than any presidential candidate before him.
More than 236,000 Americans have died during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 10 million have been infected and millions of jobs have been lost. The final days of the campaign played out against the backdrop of a surge in confirmed cases in nearly every state, including battlegrounds such as Wisconsin that swung to Biden.
The pandemic will soon be Biden’s to tame, and he campaigned pledging a big government response, akin to what Franklin D. Roosevelt oversaw with the New Deal during the Depression of the 1930s. But Senate Republicans fought back several Democratic challengers and looked to retain a fragile majority that could serve as a check on such Biden ambition.
The 2020 campaign was a referendum on Trump’s handling of the pandemic, which has shuttered schools across the nation, disrupted businesses and raised questions about the feasibility of family gatherings heading into the holidays.
The fast spread of the coronavirus transformed political rallies from standard campaign fare to gatherings that were potential public health emergencies. It also contributed to an unprecedented shift to voting early and by mail and prompted Biden to dramatically scale back his travel and events to comply with restrictions. Trump defied calls for caution and ultimately contracted the disease himself. He was saddled throughout the year by negative assessments from the public of his handling of the pandemic.
Biden also drew a sharp contrast to Trump through a summer of unrest over the police killings of Black Americans including Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and George Floyd in Minneapolis. Their deaths sparked the largest racial protest movement since the civil rights era. Biden responded by acknowledging the racism that pervades American life, while Trump emphasized his support of police and pivoted to a “law and order” message that resonated with his largely white base.
The president’s most ardent backers never wavered and may remain loyal to him and his supporters in Congress after Trump has departed the White House.
The third president to be impeached, though acquitted in the Senate, Trump will leave office having left an indelible imprint in a tenure defined by the shattering of White House norms and a day-to-day whirlwind of turnover, partisan divide and the ever-present threat via his Twitter account.
Biden, born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and raised in Delaware, was one of the youngest candidates ever elected to the Senate. Before he took office, his wife and daughter were killed, and his two sons badly injured in a 1972 car crash.
Commuting every night on a train from Washington back to Wilmington, Biden fashioned an everyman political persona to go along with powerful Senate positions, including chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees. Some aspects of his record drew critical scrutiny from fellow Democrats, including his support for the 1994 crime bill, his vote for the 2003 Iraq War and his management of the Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court hearings.
Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign was done in by plagiarism allegations, and his next bid in 2008 ended quietly. But later that year, he was tapped to be Barack Obama’s running mate and he became an influential vice president, steering the administration’s outreach to both Capitol Hill and Iraq.
While his reputation was burnished by his time in office and his deep friendship with Obama, Biden stood aside for Clinton and opted not to run in 2016 after his adult son Beau died of brain cancer the year before.
Trump’s tenure pushed Biden to make one more run as he declared that “the very soul of the nation is at stake.”
Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.