Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has defeated President Trump, denying him a second term after a bitter campaign and dramatic, prolonged vote count in battleground states that sparked a flurry of lawsuits.
The Fox News Decision Desk projected Saturday that Biden will win the state of Nevada and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, giving the former vice president the electoral votes he needs to win the White House.
“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris,” Biden said in a statement. “In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America.”
He added: “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation.”
Biden’s campaign announced that the president-elect and Harris, his running mate, will speak at an event in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware at 8 p.m. ET.
A year and a half after launching his White House bid, Biden secured enough states to put him over the threshold of 270 electoral votes and bring an end to the four game-changing years of the Trump presidency, according to the Fox News projections. For Trump, the defeat comes four years after a stunning upset – when he came from behind in 2016 and outperformed the polls in a victory against Hillary Clinton.
But in a statement Saturday, Trump did not concede and instead vowed to continue to fight.
“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,” the president said.
“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated,” Trump added.
The president has launched a number of legal challenges over ballot counting in key battleground states, with his campaign filing suits in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Nevada as the states continue to tally ballots sent by mail. Trump, his campaign and surrogates have spread allegations of fraud in the voting and ballot counting in various states, although solid proof of it has not emerged.
In addition, Georgia’s secretary of state signaled Friday that the state is headed toward a recount, given the razor-thin margin of votes there favoring Biden.
Biden, taking to Twitter after the projections, said “America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country. 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.”
And Biden added “President-Elect” to the description on his Twitter page.
Harris, who will become the first female vice president and first person of color to serve as vice president, tweeted “We did it.” The senator from California’s tweet included a short video of her on a phone call congratulating Biden.
On Friday, the former vice president touted the record-breaking 74 million votes for the Democratic ticket and emphasized that “the people spoke loudly for our ticket.”
Biden highlighted that a “record number of Americans of all races, faiths, religions, chose change over more of the same. They’ve given us a mandate for action on COVID, the economy, climate change, systemic racism. They’ve made it clear they want the country to come together.”
But many Republicans question the strength of Biden’s mandate.
Trump won more than 70 million votes, and as of late Friday night Biden’s national popular vote margin over the president stood at just under 3 points.
And while Biden moved closer to winning the White House, the Democrats’ chances of retaking the Senate majority remained slim. Democrats did hold onto control of the House but failed to meet expectations of padding their majority.
About an hour after the news networks projected Biden’s presidential election victory, he received a congratulatory call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader.
With strong focus on coronavirus since the worst pandemic in a century swept across the nation eight months ago, Biden was able to keep the spotlight on the president’s record, largely preventing Trump from making the 2020 campaign a choice election.
Amid national protests and unrest over racial inequity and another nasty Supreme Court nomination battle in the closing days of the campaign, Biden kept his eye on the pandemic and an economy hit hard by it.
Biden, who laid low for the first couple of months after the pandemic forced Americans to self-isolate, was ridiculed by the president, who claimed he was “hiding” in his basement at his home in Wilmington, Del.
But ultimately the strategy worked — keeping the electorate’s focus on the president’s handling of the worsening crisis. Also highlighting Trump’s divisive style of governing, the Democrat pledged to be a uniter willing to reach across the aisle to find common ground.
Biden was able to resist withering attacks by Trump and his surrogates over his record in politics stretching nearly half a century. He also deflected a barrage of attacks targeting him and his son, Hunter, that accused the Biden family of unsubstantiated “corruption.”
The road ahead for the president-elect, who will soon turn 78, will be far from easy.
He must cope with titanic challenges never faced to this magnitude by an incoming commander in chief. Compounding the enormous task ahead, Biden likely will have to deal with a Republican Party that may be in no mood to compromise – and with a progressive base of his own party that will almost certainly try to push the incoming president to the left.
Biden’s victory comes five years after he passed on a White House run, as he reeled from the death of his eldest son, Beau. A year later, Clinton narrowly lost numerous key battleground states to Trump due in part to a drop in support from White working class voters as well as a lack of enthusiasm from Black and Latino voters.
But Biden – who’s long been known as “Middle Class Joe” because of his roots growing up in a working-class family in Scranton, Pa., and later in Delaware, and who served for eight years as vice president under Barack Obama, America’s first Black president — was able to succeed where Clinton failed.
For Biden, who made unsuccessful White House bids in 1988 and 2008, the third time was the charm.