Donald Trump rejected the outcome of the 2020 election and promised further legal challenges as Democrats and liberal groups celebrated Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump, who was at his golf course in Northern Virginia when the race was called, issued a statement continuing to attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the election with unfounded accusations of widespread voter fraud.
“This election is far from over,” Trump said. “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.”
Networks and the Associated Press called the race on Saturday after Biden won Pennsylvania. Biden’s Twitter account was swiftly updated to identify him as the “president-elect.”
“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, referring to his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris.
Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, tweeted a photo of him embracing his wife. “So proud of you,” he wrote.
Trump’s allies, led by his attorney Rudy Giuliani, held a news conference in Philadelphia, where they complained that Trump’s supporters were unable to observe ballot counting as closely as they wanted.
“Wow! All the networks,” Giuliani said after all major networks had called the race. “We have to forget about the law — judges don’t count! All the networks! All the networks! Don’t be ridiculous. Networks don’t get to decide elections, courts do.”
People around Trump said they think the president will concede at some point. But advisers are split on how far to take the legal fights.
Some of Trump’s supporters in the House stood by him.
Representative Jody Hice of Georgia, a Republican, blamed the media: “The mainstream media — on behalf of their Democrat pals — are trying to convince the American people this is already over.”
“It’s not,” Hice added.
But GOP leaders in Congress were largely silent.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky last tweeted on Friday, saying: “Every legal vote should be counted. Any illegally-submitted ballots must not.”
Senator Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican and outspoken Trump critic, congratulated Biden and Harris, tweeting: “We know them both as people of good will and admirable character.”
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican who has been critical of Trump’s response to election results, also congratulated Biden in a tweet and described him as “president-elect.”
“Everyone should want our president to succeed because we need our country to succeed,” Hogan said. “We have great challenges ahead of us as a country. Now more than ever, we need to come together as Americans.”
Spontaneous celebrations erupted on the streets of cities including New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles after news organizations called the race over. There were cheers and honking horns across New York City, including outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
A large crowd gathered outside the White House. Several could be seen drinking champagne while throngs of people cheered and cars honked in celebration.
At the Capitol, dozens of Trump supporters bearing flags and other gear marched around the grounds. The group chanted “America First” and “Stop the Steal.” Biden supporters heckled the marchers, shouting “Bye!” and occasional epithets. Some marchers stopped at the foot of the Capitol for a prayer vigil; few would speak to a reporter.
“Even if he does lose fair and square, I’d like to show my support,” said a D.C. area resident who identified himself as Pat. He said that an investigation into the election ballot count was necessary to stop unrest.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest business lobbying group, congratulated Biden and said it stands ready to work with his administration and leaders on both sides of the aisle.
Chamber Chief Executive Officer Thomas Donohue said: “It is important to complete the election process by fully counting every vote and resolving any disputes. At its core, our democracy relies on trusting the American people to make a decision and placing confidence in the systems in place to determine election outcomes.”
Former President Barack Obama said in a statement that Biden would represent Americans interests regardless of whether they supported him, and encouraged people to give him a chance.
Obama called on Americans to “to reach out beyond our comfort zone, to listen to others, to lower the temperature and find some common ground from which to move forward, all of us remembering that we are one nation, under God.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said in a statement that Biden’s victory “marks the dawning of a new day of hope for America.”
Former Vice President Al Gore said Biden’s victory “marks the beginning of a new commitment to self-government by, of and for all of our people.”
Ben Jealous, president of the liberal group People For the American Way, said Biden’s victory “affirms the people’s commitment to our core values under the most trying of circumstances.”
“Americans have soundly rejected the bigotry and divisiveness of the Trump years and chosen leaders who stand for opportunity and dignity for all people,” Jealous said.
Cedric Richmond, a co-chair of Biden’s campaign, called the result “a great sense of relief.”
“Relief that we did it, that we won. Relief that the country will head in a better direction,” Richmond said.
Source: Blomberg News