Biden declares victory while Trump mounts legal challenge

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WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, along with several news networks declared victory in the 2020 election on Nov. 7, a declaration disputed by President Donald Trump.

Trump issued a statement minutes afterwards claiming that networks were helping Biden “falsely” pose as the winner and promising to fight the results in court. 

“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. The simple fact is this election is far from over. Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor,” he said.

Many states have an undisputed winner, while other states are close, including Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Alaska and Pennsylvania. According to the president, the Trump campaign beginning Monday “will start prosecuting its case in court to make sure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner seated.”

Democrat Joe Biden claimed defeat of President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, positioning himself to lead a nation gripped by a pandemic and as a result, 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 after claiming a win in Pennsylvania. Regarding Pennsylvania, Trump said, “In Pennsylvania, for example, our legal observers were not permitted meaningful access to watch the counting process. Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media”.

Biden, 77, staked his candidacy less on any distinctive political ideas and plans than on galvanizing a broad coalition of voters around the notion that Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy. The strategy proved effective, which if the results are confirmed, gave him pivotal victories in Michigan and Wisconsin as well as Pennsylvania, onetime Democratic bastions that had flipped to Trump in 2016.

Biden, in a statement, said he was humbled by the victory and it was time for the battered nation to set aside its differences.

“It’s time for America to unite. And to heal,” he said.

“With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” Biden said. “There’s nothing we can’t do if we do it together.”

Biden was on track to win the national popular vote by more than 4 million, a margin that could grow or shrink as ballots continue to be counted. 

Trump was not giving up as military and day of the election votes have not finished being counted.

President Trump, in a statement from his Virginia golf course said his campaign would take unspecified legal actions and he would “not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands.”

Trump has pointed to delays in processing the vote in some states to allege that there was voter fraud and to argue that his rival was trying to seize power. A claim that Democrats say is unfounded.

If results are confirmed, Kamala Harris also will make history as the first Black woman to become vice president, an achievement that comes as the U.S. faces turmoil regarding racial justice. The California senator, who will also be 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 would be the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992.

In Wilmington, Delaware, near a stage that has stood empty since it was erected to celebrate a potential victory on Election Night, people cheered and pumped their fists as the news that the presidential race had been called for the state’s former senator arrived on their cell phones.

On the nearby water, two men in a kayak yelled to a couple paddling by in the opposite direction, “Joe won! They called it!” as people on the shore whooped and hollered. Harris, in workout gear, was shown on video speaking to Biden on the phone, exuberantly telling the president-elect “We did it!” Biden was expected to take the stage for a drive-in rally after dark.

Across the country, there were parties and prayer. In New York City, spontaneous block parties broke out. People ran out of their buildings, banging on pots. They danced and high-fived with strangers amid honking horns.

People streamed into Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House, waving signs and taking cellphone pictures. In Lansing, Michigan, Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter demonstrators filled the Capitol steps. The lyrics to “Amazing Grace” began to echo through the crowd, and Trump supporters laid their hands on a counter protester, and prayed.

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.

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 majority that could serve as a check on such Biden ambition.

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 racism pervades American life, while Trump emphasized his support of police and pivoted to a “law and order” message that resonated with all races, including a large percentage of Black, Cuban and Latino voters.

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.

Trump has become accustomed to fighting legal battles with Democrats while serving as President. Democrats accused Trump and people close to him of colluding with Russia and they spent about $40 million and unprecedented manpower to investigate what turned out to be completely unfounded. What continues to be released from the FBI and DOJ are documents proving there was no predicate to start the investigation in the first place and it was a fishing expedition by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. THen the Democrats immediately launched into the Ukraine accusations, which ended in a vote by the majority Democrats in the House to impeach President Trump but failed in the Republican majority Senate. 

What has recently come to light in that investigation is that while Trump was being accused with both Russia and Ukraine, the Biden family was undisputedly taking millions of dollars in what appears to be payment for access to Joe Biden from countries Biden was appointed to work with under Obama.

While Democrats have claimed Trump is a liar and a racist, the president has been hailed by his supporters as an outsider and an accomplished businessman and the most accomplished president in history by bringing manufacturing back to the USA, creating tax reform, brokering three middle east peace treaties, lowering regulations, releasing water for California farmers, providing funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, creating prison reform, school choice for students stuck in bad schools and over one hundred other substantial accomplishments.

Median household income reached the highest level ever recorded while unemployment for all races, including Black and Latino, as well as women hit the lowest in history. A list from the Trump White House can be read at https://www.whitehouse.gov/trump-administration-accomplishments/

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 tarnished by his time in office, 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.”

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Associated Press writers ONATHAN LEMIRE, ZEKE MILLER, Will Weissert in Wilmington, Delaware and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.