Washington, Nov 7 (efe-epa).- Multiple media outlets said Saturday that Democrat Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States, while Republican incumbent Donald Trump insisted that the contest would not be settled until courts rule on legal challenges brought by his campaign.
The day began with the former vice president leading Trump by 253-214 in the electoral vote total four days after Tuesday’s election, in which 65 million people cast ballots by mail amid fears of Covid-19.
CNN was the first television network to call the race for Biden, at 11.24 am (16.24 GMT), based on the vice president’s 30,000-vote advantage in Pennsylvania, whose 20 electoral votes were more than enough to lift the Democrat over the 270-vote threshold.
Within 25 minutes, all of the other major networks, including Trump-friendly Fox News, joined in proclaiming Biden the winner.
After Pennsylvania was called, the New York Times reported that Biden would win Nevada, with 6 electoral votes.
The Democratic challenger also has an insurmountable edge in Nevada, according to The Associated Press, bringing his electoral vote total at 290.
He leads Trump in the national popular vote by more than 4 million. Both men have exceeded the individual total set by Barack Obama in 2008 with Biden as his running mate.
“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris,” Biden said Saturday in the first of a series of tweets.
“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 said after the 2020 election set a new record in numerical terms and saw participation as a proportion of eligible voters match a level last seen in 1900.
“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,” the 77-year-old Biden said.
“We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”
Trump, who went on television in the wee hours of Wednesday, as votes continued to be counted in a half-dozen states, to say that “we already have won” and accuse Democrats of trying to steal the election, responded to the news of his defeat with defiance.
“The simple fact is this election is far from over,” the president said in a statement. “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.”
As of Saturday, only Georgia appeared to be on a path toward a mandatory recount, while the results in Pennsylvania exclude a category of mail-in ballots that election officials have segregated pending resolution of a court case brought by Republicans.
“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 said.
“Only a party engaged in wrongdoing would unlawfully keep observers out of the count room – and then fight in court to block their access,” he said after repeating an already discredited claim that Republican election observers were not allowed to watch the counting process in Pennsylvania.
After serving as vice president under the country’s first African American president, Biden will be accompanied in office by Sen. Kamala Harris, set to become both the first woman and the first Black person to hold the No. 2 position.
The president-elect plans to address the nation at 8.00 pm Saturday (01.00 GMT Sunday) and is expected to emphasize the need to overcome the acrimony of the campaign to deal with problems such as Covid-19, which has claimed 237,000 lives in the US, and the damage the pandemic has done to the world’s largest economy. EFE llb/dr