In a written statement Saturday, Biden, who is expected to address the American people later in the day, said he was “honored and humbled” by the trust the American people have placed in him.
“In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America,” Biden said. “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation.”
“We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”
Trump, who was on the golf course when CNN and other networks called the race for the former vice president, has shown no indication that he intends to concede. While en route to his course in Virginia, he tweeted: “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!”
But Biden supporters — whose face masks reflected the extraordinary circumstances of a pandemic-era election poured into the streets across the country in a moment of catharsis to celebrate the President-elect’s victory, which also means that California Sen. Kamala Harris, his running mate, will make history as the first woman, the first Black person and the first person of Southeast Asian descent to become vice president.
After four years of Trump’s incessant lies, bullying and vilification of his political opponents, Biden said he was running to restore the character of the nation and bring dignity back to the White House. Biden, who turns 78 at the end of this month, will become the oldest president when he is inaugurated in January in the midst of the worst public health emergency in 100 years, the deepest economic slump since the 1930s and a national reckoning on racism and police brutality that is still unresolved.
His election will end Trump’s tumultuous hold on Washington and condemn the Republican, who has had a lifelong obsession with winning, to the ranks of chief executives who lost after a single term.
In a cinematic twist, it was Biden’s boyhood state of Pennsylvania that put him over the 270 electoral vote threshold and delivered the White House. Trump had held a wide lead over Biden on the night of the election, but as election officials counted hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots, the race shifted dramatically in Biden’s favor, infuriating Trump and his allies, who knew the President’s path to the White House was over without the commonwealth.
That the Keystone State was the last hurdle in Biden’s path to the White House was a fitting end to a hard-fought race given that the former vice president has long cultivated his image as “middle-class Joe” from Scranton. In a visit that now seems almost prophetic, he had made a final trip to his childhood home in the city on Election Day after spending much of the campaign promising to prioritize the livelihoods of the many working-class voters whom Hillary Clinton lost to Trump in her 2016 bid.
On one of the living room walls in the house where he grew up, he wrote: “From this House to the White House with the Grace of God,” signing his name and the date,”11.3.2020.”
As he watched his hopes of reelection being strangled with each tranche of votes in Pennsylvania, Trump lashed out on Twitter during the tense vote count, attempting to undermine democratic institutions with demands like “STOP THE COUNT.”
The President falsely claimed the election was being stolen from him as many mail-in ballots, which were often counted after Election Day votes, landed in the column of his opponent.
Facing a deeply polarized country, Biden had tried to project comity and patience, and his desire to unite America.
“There will not be blue states and red states when we win. Just the United States of America,” Biden said Wednesday afternoon. “We are not enemies. What brings us together as Americans is so much stronger than anything that can tear us apart.”
Part of Trump’s frustration stemmed from the fact that his campaign’s finely tuned ground game did in fact succeed in turning out many more of the so-called “hidden Trump voters” than expected, making the race a much tighter contest than pre-election polls suggested.
Ultimately, Biden carved out his route to 270 Electoral College votes by holding most of the states that Clinton won and adding Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to his column. Ballots are still being counted in the key states of Nevada and Arizona.
Trump continued to cast aspersions on the electoral process — wrongly suggesting that there was something nefarious about the fact that the vote count in key states continued well after Tuesday night, as is customary in US elections. Meanwhile, his team mounted a series of lawsuits in several states, including Pennsylvania, looking to stop vote counting in some areas while challenging how closely observers can monitor officials counting the votes in others. The Trump campaign also said it would demand a recount in Wisconsin, where Biden led Trump by some 20,000 votes, even though historically a margin of that magnitude is unlikely to be reversed.