Joe Biden has captured the US presidency, several major television networks said, as voters narrowly rebuffed Donald Trump’s tumultuous leadership and embraced Biden’s promise to fight the coronavirus pandemic and fix the economy.
“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect (Kamala) Harris. In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted,” Biden said on Twitter.
“With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal.”
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Trump, who has made repeated claims of electoral fraud without providing proof, immediately accused Biden of “rushing to falsely pose as the winner”.
“This election is far from over,” he said in a statement.
“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.”
State elections officials across the country say there has been no evidence of fraud.
Biden is expected to address the nation after 8pm on Saturday night local (eastern US) time.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Biden, saying he looked forward to tackling “the world’s greatest challenges” with the new administration.
In a statement, Trudeau said he would work with the United States to “advance peace and inclusion, economic prosperity, and climate action around the world”.
Trudeau made no mention of Donald Trump, with whom he had an often troubled relationship.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called Biden’s election win a “historic victory” that ushers in a “new day of hope for America”.
“In president-elect Joe Biden, Americans elected a leader ready on Day One to finally begin to crush the coronavirus so we can safely reopen our economy and schools,” Pelosi said.
Vermont senator and former Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders tweeted congratulations to “all those who worked so hard to make this historic day possible”.
“Now, through our continued grassroots organizing, let us create a government that works for ALL and not the few,” he wrote.
Loud cheers erupted in the halls of the hotel on Saturday where Biden aides were staying and around the US.
In Brooklyn crowds of people gathered in the streets, breaking out in cheers, jumping up and down and banging pots.
Across Takoma Park, Maryland, a liberal city bordering the capital, cheers erupted and some banged pots and pans on their porches.
Biden’s projected victory came after four days of nail-biting suspense over the outcome of Tuesday’s election, with the counting of votes in a handful of battleground states ongoing thanks to a flood of mail-in ballots.
Biden had a 273 to 214 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner, having won Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes to put him over the 270 he needed to secure the presidency, according to Edison Research.
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