Live Updates: Former WH Officials Urge Cooperative Transition
Sunday, November 8, 2020
Former WH Officials Urge Cooperative Transition
UPDATE: 3:54 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020
A bipartisan group from the last three White Houses is urging the Trump administration to move forward “to immediately begin the post-election transition process.”
The call from the Center for Presidential Transition advisory board comes as the General Services Administration has yet to formally recognize Democrat Joe Biden as the president-elect. That’s a necessary move to free up money for the transition and clear the way for Biden’s team to begin putting in place the transition process at agencies.
“This was a hard-fought campaign, but history is replete with examples of presidents who emerged from such campaigns to graciously assist their successors,” members of the advisory board said in a statement.
The statement was signed by Bush White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and Health and Human Services secretary Michael Leavitt as well as Bill Clinton-era chief of staff Thomas “Mack” McLarty and Obama Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.
— Associated Press
UPDATE: 12:50 p.m., Sunday Nov. 8, 2020
There were two notable holdouts among the world leaders who rushed to congratulate Joe Biden on his victory in the U.S. elections: the leaders of Latin America’s two largest countries, both of whom have been seen as friendly to President Donald Trump.
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, sometimes dubbed “the Trump of the Tropics” for his populist, off-the-cuff style, has kept silent on Trump’s loss. And Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador refused to congratulate Biden at this point, saying he would wait until the legal challenges over the vote were resolved.
Trump and the two Latin leaders are united by some surface similarities: They dislike wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic, and all three can loosely be described as populist and nationalist. But the motives of the two Latin leaders may differ.
Bolsonaro and his sons — who like Trump’s children play a role on the political scene — seem to be actively uncomfortable with the outcome of the U.S. race. Bolsonaro, who previously expressed hope for Trump's reelection and whose son wore hats with the logo “Trump 2020," has kept largely silent this week, but his sons haven't.
Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro posted images on social media questioning how Biden's votes were rising so quickly in later counts, while Trump's weren't. The younger Bolsonaro also questioned networks' decision to cut away from Trump's speech on Wednesday alleging vote fraud, calling it an attack on freedom of speech.
A senior official of the Brazilian Embassy in the United States, who cannot identify himself for fear of reprisals, said Brazilian officials fear that loose talk by Bolsonaro or his sons could destabilize relations between countries.
Officials in the office of the presidency, who were not authorized to speak on the record, said Bolsonaro has been adopting a more pragmatic tone, at least since Wednesday, following the guidance of his advisers.
— Associated Press
UPDATE: 11:17 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden signaled on Sunday he plans to move quickly to build out his government, focusing first on the raging pandemic that will likely dominate the early days of his administration.
Biden named a former surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, and a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, David Kessler, as co-chairs of a coronavirus working group set to get started, with other members expected to be announced Monday.
Transition team officials said that also this week Biden will launch his agency review teams, the group of transition staffers that have access to key agencies in the current administration to ease the transfer of power. The teams will collect and review information such as budgetary and staffing decisions, pending regulations and other work in progress from current staff at the departments to help Biden’s team prepare to transition.
“People want the country to move forward," said Kate Bedingfield, Biden deputy campaign manager, in an interview on NBC's “Meet the Press, and see Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris "have the opportunity to do the work, to get the virus under control and to get our economy back together."
It's unclear for now whether President Donald Trump and his administration will cooperate. He has yet to acknowledge Biden's victory and has pledged to mount legal challenges in several closely contested states that decided the race.
Still, there were signs that leaders in Washington and foreign capitals were preparing for a new administration.
Biden aides said the president-elect and transition team had been in touch with Republican lawmakers. Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, one of Trump's closest allies, opened a Cabinet meeting on Sunday by congratulating Biden, a former vice president and longtime senator.
“I have a long and warm personal connection with Joe Biden for nearly 40 years, and I know him as a great friend of the state of Israel," Netanyahu said. “I am certain that we will continue to work with both of them in order to further strengthen the special alliance between Israel and the U.S."
George W. Bush, the sole living Republican former president, also wished Biden well.
“Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Bush said.
Biden faces key staffing decisions in the days ahead. The always-frenzied 10-week transition period before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 already has been shortened by the extra time it took to determine the winner of Tuesday's election.
The second Catholic to be elected president, Biden started his first full day as president-elect by attending church at St. Joseph on the Brandywine near his home in Wilmington, as he does nearly every week. After the service, he visited the church cemetery where several family members have been laid to rest, including his late son, Beau.
Beau Biden, a former Delaware attorney general, died in 2015 from cancer. Before his death, he had encouraged his father to make a third run for the White House.
Joe Biden said Saturday in a victory speech that he would announce a task force of scientists and experts Monday to develop a “blueprint” to begin beating back the virus by the time he assumes the presidency. He said his plan would be “built on bedrock science” and “constructed out of compassion, empathy and concern.”
— Associated Press
The Latest: Bush Calls Election 'Fair' And Outcome ‘Clear'
UPDATE: 10:13 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020
Former President George W. Bush says the American people “can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.”
He says in a statement that “no matter how you voted, your vote counted.” And Bush says President Donald Trump has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges, with any unresolved issues to be “properly adjudicated.”
Bush says now is the time when “we must come together for the sake of our families and neighbors, and for our nation and its future.”
Bush says he's spoken with Joe Biden and thanked the president-elect for what Bush says was “the patriotic message” in Biden's national address on Saturday night after being declared the election winner.
Bush says in a statement that while he and Biden have political differences, the former president says he knows Biden “to be (a) good man who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.”
— Associated Press
UPDATE: 7:08 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020
Joe Biden will unveil a group of scientists and experts to help him craft a plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic on Monday.
Biden announced his plans to launch the COVID-19 task force during remarks at his victory party Saturday night. He said those advisers would help him take the proposals he’s released during the campaign for dealing with the pandemic — which include investments in personal protective equipment and loans for small businesses as well as plans to implement more standardized public health guidelines — and turn those proposals into a “blueprint” that he’ll enact when inaugurated president next January.
Biden said the plan would be “built on bedrock science” and “constructed out of compassion, empathy and concern.” Biden made President Donald Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic a central focus of his campaign and pledged that his top priority as president would be managing the virus.
Biden said that “our work begins with getting COVID under control” , adding Americans “cannot repair the economy, restore our economy or relish life’s most precious moments” without doing so.
— Associated Press
UPDATE: 5:55 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020
Joe Biden is pledging to be a president “who seeks not to divide but to unify.”
Biden is delivering his first remarks as president-elect at a victory party in Wilmington, after he was officially declared the winner of the presidential election on Saturday. Biden jogged onto the stage wearing a black suit, black mask and light blue tie. He pointed and waved at the screaming crowd gathered to hear him speak.
Echoing his campaign stump speech, Biden promised to be a president who “doesn’t see red states or blue states, only sees the United States,” and said he would work “with all my heart” to win the confidence of all Americans.
Biden touted the fact that he’s won more votes than any presidential ticket in history, calling his win “a convincing victory, a victory for the people.” He also said he was “surprised” by seeing the celebrations and an “outpouring of joy” in the wake of his win nationwide.
Biden said that “once again, America’s bent the arc of the moral universe more toward justice.”
— Associated Press
UPDATE: 5:50 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020
Vice president-elect Kamala Harris is paying tribute to Black women who “so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.”
Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, is the first woman to be elected to the vice presidency.
Harris noted her ascension to the role comes 100 years after the 19th Amendment was ratified and 55 years after the signing of the Voting Rights Act, which expanded who could participate in American democracy.
She praised Joe Biden for having “the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country” by selecting a woman as his running mate.
“Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a county of possibilities,” Harris said.
The remarks were some of the most direct she has delivered about her history-making role as Biden’s running mate.
— Associated Press
UPDATE: 5:45 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020
Vice president-elect Kamala Harris says voters have “ushered in a new day for America.”
Harris is speaking Saturday in her first address to the nation since she and Joe Biden were declared the winners of the presidential election.
Harris says voters chose hope, unity, decency, science and truth in choosing she and Biden over President Donald Trump.
Harris, the first woman to be elected vice president, wore a white pantsuit in tribute to women’s suffrage. She also opened her remarks with a tribute to the late Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a Civil Rights icon, who said democracy is not a state but an act. Harris will also be the first Black woman to serve as vice president.
— Associated Press
San Diego Residents React to Biden, Harris Projected Win
UPDATE: 1:31 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020
Just after The Associated Press and other news organizations declared former Vice President Joe Biden beat President Donald Trump, celebrations erupted across San Diego County.
In Normal Heights, resident Barrett Pall said he was taking to the street to support his community.
“It was a tough four years for a lot of people,” said Pall. “If you are any type of marginalized community, if you’re a woman this is critical for so many people. We’re taking to the street to celebrate, we live on a main street, everyone’s honking and super excited.”
Crowds gathered at the pride flag on University Avenue, banging drums and ringing bells. One woman, who was dressed as a mailbox, danced and showed her support for the postal workers who delivered ballots this year.
Melanie Stark, who said she hasn’t slept since election day, felt relieved.
Breaking into tears, she said she sees this election as pivotal for members of the LGBTQ+ community like herself: “Overall, America says my marriage is valid. My health care is valid. My right to adopt and foster, is valid. My right as an American citizen is valid. Today I have hope, which is amazing.”
Fairmount Park resident Kingsley Brown was getting his haircut in Hillcrest when he started to hear car horns in celebration of the victory.
“Huge amount of relief and exultation and excitement,” said Brown. “I’m really happy we have Kamala Harris as VP. It’s really great.”
Natalie Garces and Gillian Grennan woke up by the sounds of car horns in their neighborhood.
“Everybody started honking and that’s how we knew,” said Garces. “We’re very excited for the first woman vice-president.”
They then went and bought rainbow-colored pride flags from a nearby store and began to hand them out to those passing by.
Grennan said she feels relief.
“We all know there’s so much more work to do,” said Grennan. “And Biden was never our first choice. But wow, thank God. It’s going to be so much easier.”
Later in the afternoon, dozens of Trump supporters gathered at the County Administration Building downtown, including El Cajon resident Joshua Cantor.
“I’m here today to stand for an election of integrity where everybody’s vote is counted and counted accurately. I think there’s some very vague and valid concerns that need to be addressed,” said Cantor.
The Trump campaign is still contesting the process in several states, and said in a statement Friday morning: "This election is not over."
— Max Rivlin-Nadler, KPBS Speak City Heights reporter, Lara McCaffrey, KPBS web producer
Biden, Harris win set off celebrations on California streets
UPDATE: 1:10 p.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
News of President-elect Joe Biden's victory on Saturday set off celebrations on Oakland's city streets as people expressed hometown pride in Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her history-making turn as the first Black woman elected to the second-highest office in the United States.
Revelers popped Champagne bottles and danced by Oakland’s Lake Merritt as drivers passed by honking horns and blasting music from their cars. In San Francisco's Castro district, people crowded the sidewalk, waving flags and clanging pots.
“This is a historic day. We've been waiting for this change for four years and we just wanted to come out and celebrate with our fellow citizens," said Brandon Bergmark as he strolled along Lake Merritt with his wife and two kids.
Local leaders sang the praises of Harris, who has deep ties to the Bay Area. The 56-year-old California senator was born in Oakland, raised in Berkeley, and began her political career as San Francisco's district attorney.
“The pride I feel as a Black woman is hard to put into words,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement.
“Daughter of Oakland. You have made us so proud — so many tears of joy flowing in the Town right now,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf tweeted about Harris.
Berkeley's mayor, Jesse Arreguin, noted that the first woman elected vice president of the U.S. is Black and of South Asian descent, reflecting the liberal city's diversity and progressive values.
“She has broken down monumental barriers and Berkeley could not be more proud,” he said.
Similar scenes played out in Los Angeles, where in some neighborhoods people set off fireworks and a dance party erupted on one street corner.
People honked their horns as they drove along Hollywood Boulevard, where a metal barrier surrounded President Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Gregg Donovan, wearing a Trump face mask and red tailcoat, stepped inside the metal barrier and said he wanted to protect the star, which had been vandalized several times in the past four years.
“It’s a sad day for me but it’s not the end of the world, life goes on,” Donovan said.
— Associated Press
Biden Win Sparks Smattering Of Protests; Most Stay Peaceful
UPDATE: 1:02 p.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
A smattering of protests broke out around the country Saturday after former Vice President Joe Biden won the presidency, with President Donald Trump and his supporters refusing to accept defeat and pushing unfounded suspicions that rampant voter fraud was denying him a second term.
A theme quickly emerged among Trump and his allies: They're suspicious that the system was rigged and they're unwilling to accept the results even without any specific evidence of fraud.
Outside the state capitol building in the long-held Republican stronghold of Georgia, chants of “lock him up” rang out among estimated 1,000 Trump supporters. Others chanted “This isn’t over! This isn’t over!” and “Fake news!” The streets outside the capitol were awash with American flags and Trump flags.
No violence was reported, although at one point, police moved to separate Trump opponents from his supporters. Georgia, which hasn't gone for a Democrat since 1992, was on the cusp of swinging into Biden's corner. While a key battleground state, Biden was pushed over into the win column with projected results from Pennsylvania and Nevada to secure enough electoral votes to become the nation's 46th president.
Jordan Kelley, a 29-year-old from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, drove to 3-plus hours to Atlanta to attend a pro-Trump rally.
“There’s election fraud going on here,” said Kelley, voicing the belief that voters in Georgia, a state led by a Republican governor and with a Republican secretary of state, had been improperly counted to put Biden ahead. “Even though I live in Tennessee, I’m an American and I want to make sure Americans have a voice in the election”
He planned to make the 10-hour trip to Washington, D.C., next week to demonstrate on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, where Trump and his lawyers have vowed to eventually make his case.
Since the polls closed on Election Day on Tuesday, Trump supporters — some of them armed — have gathered outside buildings where votes were being tabulated, many carrying Trump flags and signs with the hashtag #stopthesteal.
Shortly after Biden was projected to win the presidential race, some 75 Trump protesters gathered Saturday morning outside the election tabulation center in downtown Phoenix. That crowd swelled to more than 1,000 within hours.
“This election has not been called!” yelled Jake Angeli, a regular at are pro-Trump rallies who typically wears a wooly fur hat with horns. "Don’t believe that lie! They got their hands caught in the cookie jar and we’re going to the Supreme Court!”
“Trump always looks like he’s going to lose. And then he wins,“ Angeli said.
Kelli Ward, former state senator and chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, told boisterous pro-Trump demonstrators that she was involved in an effort to force a hand count at least some of ballots to ensure that every single one was counted correctly.
“It’s very suspicious that President Trump, with the red wave we’ve been seeing in Arizona, is struggling,” she said. “I want to know if there is any discrepancy with the numbers coming out of the machines."
Amid the tensions, there was at least one scene that could portend what is to come. In Lansing, Michigan, a group of about 50 Trump supporters and a smaller group of marchers carrying Black Lives Matter flags converged on the Michigan State Capitol where they pushed, shoved and shouted at one another in a tense standoff. But within moments of the race being called, a few from both sides broke into prayers and at least one pair hugged.
Still, tensions flared up again when more Trump supporters arrived on the scene and BLM members retreated through the growing crowd.
As Trump's motorcade made its way through the streets of Washington on his way back to the White House after playing a round of golf in Virginia, protesters booed and shouted expletives. The U.S. Secret Service had closed several streets around the White House ahead of Trump’s return and as the motorcade rolled by, there were shouts of “loser!” that rang out and people waving their middle fingers in the air.
— Associated Press
San Diego Leaders React To Biden's Projected Win
UPDATE: 12:44 p.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
San Diego County leaders reacted today to projections by multiple media outlets declaring Vice President Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election.
Steve Padilla, Chula Vista City Councilman and coastal commissioner, said on Twitter: "The PEOPLE have spoken. A son of Scranton and a daughter of immigrants together with millions have made history. Our nation and society are at our best when our hearts are about inclusion and not division."
County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher commented on a tweet by CNN's Jake Tapper, "CNN projects the U.S. presidency for Joe Biden," by tweeting "Best tweet ever."
Rep. Juan Vargas tweeted: "Congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their historic win. I look forward to working with the new administration. There's a lot of work ahead of us."
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, tweeted: "I can't stop crying."
Nick Serrano, campaign manager for Todd Gloria, who leads the race to be San Diego's next mayor with some votes still uncounted, tweeted: "In this election, the history books will show that truth triumphed over lies. Hope defeated fear. Unity won over division. Light conquered the darkness."
Sara Jacobs, U.S. House candidate for the 53rd District, said: "Today we celebrate and breathe a sigh of relief, but tomorrow we get to work. Because there is so much to do. It won't be enough to turn back the clock to before Donald Trump. We have to go forward with hope and optimism and the responsibility to make life better for all Americans."
Tony Krvaric, chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego said, "The election for president will be over when results are duly certified, not when media conglomerates decide. We stand with President Trump in using every avenue to ensure all legal votes are counted so that the American people can have confidence in their elections."
— City News Service
Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins Responds To Biden Win
UPDATE: 12:30 p.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
“As the leader of the State Senate, I look forward to working collaboratively with President-Elect Joe Biden, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris and the new federal administration. Together with the Governor and state Assembly, California will continue to lead the nation in progressive social, environmental, and economic policy.
A new day has dawned, and I'm grateful to be enjoying it alongside you.”
— KPBS Staff
President-Elect Biden Speaks To Obama On Phone
UPDATE: 12:13 p.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
Joe Biden has spoken to Barack Obama, reaching out to the former president with one of his first calls as president-elect.
Biden’s campaign confirmed the phone call Saturday with Obama, whom Biden served under as vice president for eight years, but offered few details on what was said.
Meanwhile, Michelle Obama took to Twitter to say that she was “beyond thrilled” that Biden had been elected president and that his running mate, Kamala Harris, is “our first Black and Indian-American woman” as vice president.
In a series of tweets, the former first lady said the pair would “restore some dignity, competence, and heart at the White House.”
But Michelle Obama also warned supporters that voting in elections for candidates who win “isn’t a magic wand.”
“Let’s remember that tens of millions of people voted for the status quo, even when it meant supporting lies, hate, chaos and division,” she tweeted, in a swipe at President Donald Trump. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to reach out to these folks in the years ahead and connect with them on what unites us.”
— Associated Press
Stop AAPI Hate Reacts To Biden Win
UPDATE: 11:55 a.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
The Stop Asian American and Pacific Islanders coalition, founded by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, released the following statement Saturday afternoon:
“We look forward to working with the incoming administration to ensure a safer country for Asian Americans. Over the past eight months, Stop AAPI Hate has received reports revealing that Asian Americans have been the victims of thousands of racist attacks since COVID-19 began to spread in our country and continue to live in a climate of fear and discrimination that impacts their daily lives. These attacks have been exacerbated by anti-Asian American rhetoric pushed forward by elected officials, as well as by dozens of policies from the previous administration.
It’s vital that the incoming administration takes immediate responsibility for challenging and addressing the racist hate that is in danger of permeating our society and undoing the xenophobic policies that target the Asian American community.”
— KPBS Staff
Southern Border Communities Coalition Reacts To Biden Win
UPDATE: 11:21 a.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
Voters in the southern border region are fed up with policies that further militarize communities, from building walls and separating families to expelling asylum-seekers and turning a blind eye on Border Patrol abuse.
That’s why we’ve voted to oust Trump. We know from experience that walls, checkpoints and unaccountable border agents don’t make us safer, they harm wildlife, push desperate people into unsafe terrain, and breed distrust in our communities.
We urge the new administration to move away from harmful enforcement-only border policy, and towards a New Border Vision that creates humane and well-functioning borders for the 21st century.
— KPBS Staff
Tony Krvaric, Chairman Of The Republican Party Of San Diego, Stands By Trump
UPDATE: 11:15 a.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
Tony Krvaric, chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego said, "The election for president will be over when results are duly certified, not when media conglomerates decide. We stand with President Trump in using every avenue to ensure all legal votes are counted so that the American people can have confidence in their elections.''
— KPBS Staff
Steve Padilla, Chula Vista City Councilman and coastal commissioner, Reacts To Biden's Win
UPDATE: 11:15 a.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
— KPBS Staff
ACLU Of San Diego, Imperial Counties Statement On The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election
UPDATE: 11:13 a.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties commends every voter who participated in the most critical election of our lifetime, especially voters who were targeted by unconscionable efforts to silence their voices. We commend the countless volunteers in our region and across the nation who organized to protect the constitutional rights of historically and systemically disfranchised voters. And we commend the election officials and poll workers who established and implemented safe, secure processes for casting and counting ballots – in the midst of an uncontrolled pandemic and in spite of the sitting president’s attempts to sabotage the election.
“This is a victory for our democracy.
“For the past four years, the ACLU has fought the Trump administration’s relentless assaults on our fundamental values, rights and freedoms.
“Here in San Diego and Imperial counties – California’s second-largest county and its county with the most Latino residents per capita, respectively – we have challenged this administration’s anti-immigrant agenda in the courts, in our state legislature, in city halls and in the streets. We have sued the Trump administration to reunite families separated at the border; to demand due process for people in federal custody, including people seeking asylum; and more recently, to slow the spread of Covid-19 in our region’s federal jails and immigration detention centers.
“The election of a new president brings a new, urgent opportunity to come together as a nation to advance equity, freedom and justice for everyone. We’re optimistic that a Biden administration will move swiftly to mitigate the harm and division fostered by the Trump administration and craft policies that benefit all Americans. We’re optimistic that unlike Trump, President-elect Biden will use the tremendous power of the office to protect, rather than trample people’s constitutional rights.
“While the ACLU will gladly work with the incoming administration to repeal Trump’s oppressive policies, we are mindful that the systemic injustice that enables these policies is not dismantled with the transition of presidential power. So, we will hold the Biden administration accountable, as we have his predecessors and as we will all who follow. And we will remain vigilant, resilient and organized, heartened by the words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
“Through community engagement, advocacy and litigation, the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties will continue to protect free speech and the right to protest. We will continue to oppose systemic racism and white supremacy. We will continue to advocate for social equity and racial justice. We will continue to work in coalition to achieve bold reforms in policing. We will continue to oppose mass surveillance. We will continue to fight for education equity and to protect students’ rights. We will continue to fight for gender equity. We will continue to defend access to abortion. We will continue to defend LGBTQ+ rights. We will continue to fight to end mass incarceration and to close detention centers. We will continue to advocate for a demilitarized border region and for the adoption of a fair, humane immigration system.
“The ACLU has been fighting to protect and expand civil rights and freedoms for a century; and we’ve had a presence in this region since 1933. Our work has never been about who occupies the White House, but to realize our shared values, vision and struggle for a more perfect Union in which ‘’We the People” truly means everyone.
UPDATE: 10:44 a.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
Sen. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, is congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The Utah Republican tweeted Saturday that he and his wife know Biden and Harris “as people of good will and admirable character.” He says, “We pray that God may bless them in the days and years ahead.”
Romney, President Donald Trump's most vocal critic within the Republican Party, said Friday that Trump was “damaging the cause of freedom” and inflaming “destructive and dangerous passions” by claiming, without foundation, that the election was rigged and stolen from him.
Trump has so far refused to concede and is promising unspecified legal challenges.
Romney had said earlier in the year that he wasn't voting for Trump. He didn't say for whom he did vote, however.
UPDATE: 10:32 a.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer jointly called President-elect Joe Biden to congratulate him on a “tremendous” victory.
That’s according to a senior Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation.
The aide described it as a “happy call.” Biden’s wife, Jill, also joined the conversation Saturday.
The aide says Pelosi and Schumer look forward to working with the new Democratic administration to achieve “great things” for the American people. The two did not get along with President Donald Trump.
Another senior Democratic aide says Schumer was celebrating on the streets of Brooklyn during the call and held up his phone so Biden could hear the crowds cheering for his “historic victory." The aide also spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private call.
— By AP writer Lisa Mascaro
UPDATE: 10:20 a.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
The highest-ranking Black member of Congress says he specifically advised President-elect Joe Biden to pick a Black woman as his running mate if he wanted to win the White House.
House House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn told CNN on Saturday, “I said to him in private that I thought that a lot of the results would turn on whether or not there would be a Black woman” on the ticket.
Of selecting California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, Clyburn said, “I think it cemented his relationship to the Black community.”
Clyburn’s pivotal endorsement of Biden ahead of South Carolina’s early Democratic primary, the first in which Black voters played an outsize role, helped Biden develop the momentum that propelled him to successes in other primary and caucus contests, and ultimately to the Democratic nomination.
UPDATE: 10:15 a.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
Leaders of the United States’ traditional Western allies are offering their congratulations to the incoming Joe Biden administration.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement Saturday that the U.S. is the United Kingdom’s “most important ally” and added that he looks “forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security.”
Johnson also singled out Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for “her historic achievement” as the first woman, first Black woman and first person of South Asian descent to win national U.S. office.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that “we have a lot to do to overcome today’s challenges. Let’s work together!”
And Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’s eager to start “tackling the world’s greatest challenges together.”
All three men have had complicated and at times strained relationships with President Donald Trump.
Biden comes to the presidency with extensive foreign policy experience and said throughout his campaign that he’d immediately work to shore us U.S. relationships with traditional allies.
UPDATE: 10:10 a.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
Former President Barack Obama says he “could not be prouder” to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
In a statement Saturday, Obama says Biden has “got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way,” because he will enter the White House facing “a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has.”
Acknowledging that the election revealed the nation remains bitterly divided, Obama said, “I know he’ll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote.”
He adds: “I encourage every American to give him a chance and lend him your support.”
Biden served as Obama’s vice president for two terms.
UPDATE: 10:00 a.m., Nov. 7, 2020:
Two former Democratic presidents are offering their congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Bill Clinton tweeted that “America has spoken and democracy has won.” The 42nd president also predicted Biden and Harris would “serve all of us and bring us all together.”
Jimmy Carter, the 39th president, said in a statement Saturday that he and his wife, Rosalynn, are “proud” of the Democrats’ “well-run campaign and seeing the positive change they bring to our nation.”
Neither Clinton nor Carter mentioned President Donald Trump in their congratulatory remarks.
Biden was a young Delaware senator when Carter served as president from 1977 to 1981. Biden had risen in the ranks to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman by Clinton’s presidency in the 1990s and led confirmation hearings for Clinton’s two Supreme Court nominees: Justice Stephen Breyer and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Biden Wins White House, Vowing New Direction For Divided US
Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, positioning himself to lead a nation gripped by a historic pandemic and a confluence of 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 with a win in Pennsylvania.
Trump refused to concede, threatening further legal action on ballot counting.
Biden, 77, staked his candidacy less on any distinctive political ideology than on galvanizing a broad coalition of voters around the notion that Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy. The strategy proved effective, resulting in 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 as ballots continue to be counted.
Trump was not giving up.
Departing from longstanding democratic tradition and signaling a potentially turbulent transfer of power, he issued a combative statement while he was on his Virginia golf course. It 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 with no evidence that there was voter fraud and to argue that his rival was trying to seize power — an extraordinary charge by a sitting president trying to sow doubt about a bedrock democratic process.
Kamala Harris also made history as the first Black woman to become vice president, an achievement that comes as the U.S. faces a reckoning on racial justice. The California senator, who is also 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 is the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992.
Early Saturday he left the White House for his Virginia golf club dressed in golf shoes, a windbreaker and a white hat as the results gradually expanded Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania.
Trump repeated his unsupported allegations of election fraud and illegal voting on Twitter. One of his tweets, quickly flagged as potentially misleading by Twitter, claimed: "I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!"
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.
Trump’s refusal to concede has no legal implications. But it could add to the incoming administration’s challenge of bringing the country together after a bitter election.
Throughout the campaign, Trump repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, arguing without evidence that the election could be marred by fraud. The nation has a long history of presidential candidates peacefully accepting the outcome of elections, dating back to 1800, when John Adams conceded to his rival Thomas Jefferson.
It was Biden's native Pennsylvania that put him over the top, the state he invoked throughout the campaign to connect with working class voters. He also won Nevada on Sunday pushing his total to 290 Electoral College votes.
More than 236,000 Americans have died during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 10 million have been infected and millions of jobs have been lost. The final days of the campaign played out against the backdrop of a surge in confirmed cases in nearly every state, including battlegrounds such as Wisconsin that swung to Biden.
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 fragile majority that could serve as a check on such Biden ambition.
The 2020 campaign was a referendum on Trump’s handling of the pandemic, which has shuttered schools across the nation, disrupted businesses and raised questions about the feasibility of family gatherings heading into the holidays.
The fast spread of the coronavirus transformed political rallies from standard campaign fare to gatherings that were potential public health emergencies. It also contributed to an unprecedented shift to voting early and by mail and prompted Biden to dramatically scale back his travel and events to comply with restrictions. The president defied calls for caution and ultimately contracted the disease himself.
Trump was saddled throughout the year by negative assessments from the public of his handling of the pandemic. There was another COVID-19 outbreak in the White House this week, which sickened his chief of staff Mark Meadows.
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 the racism that pervades American life, while Trump emphasized his support of police and pivoted to a “law and order” message that resonated with his largely white base.
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.
The third president to be impeached, though acquitted in the Senate, Trump will leave office having left an indelible imprint in a tenure defined by the shattering of White House norms and a day-to-day whirlwind of turnover, partisan divide and the ever-present threat via his Twitter account.
Trump’s team filed a smattering of lawsuits in battleground states, some of which were immediately rebuffed by judges. His personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was holding a news conference in Philadelphia threatening more legal action when the race was called.
Biden, born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and raised in Delaware, was one of the youngest candidates ever elected to the Senate. Before he took office, his wife and daughter were killed, and his two sons badly injured in a 1972 car crash.
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 burnished by his time in office and his deep friendship with Obama, 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.”
-By JONATHAN LEMIRE and ZEKE MILLER Associated Press
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