Trump has lost reelection after a vitriolic, misinformation-laden presidency, networks project. President declines to concede as vote count continues.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States after weeks of voting and three agonizing days of counting, and amid ongoing legal challenges and allegations, presented without evidence, of widespread fraud by President Donald Trump.
Multiple news organizations called the critical state of Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes, for Biden on Saturday morning, pushing the Democratic candidate over the 270-electoral-vote threshold needed to win the presidency. In metro Washington, D.C., the president was at his golf course.
Biden in a brief statement vowed, “I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not.”
Trump has not conceded the race, claiming in a statement that “this election is far from over” and thrusting the United States into unprecedented territory, at least in recent decades. The 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore was not resolved until December, but in that case, an open Supreme Court case and a controversial recount were to blame. Now, although Trump has brought a myriad of legal challenges to voting procedures used in various battleground states won by Biden, longtime election lawyers are skeptical of both the significance and the merits of those cases. Several lawsuits have already been tossed out. Trump has yet to provide evidence of the widespread fraud that he alleges is behind his loss, and a growing number of Republicans have publicly chided the president for claiming Democrats are “stealing” the election without providing any proof.
“If the President’s legal team has real evidence, they need to present it immediately to both the public and the courts,” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., an occasional critic of the president’s, said in a Friday statement. “In the meantime, all legal votes need to be counted according to relevant state laws. This is our American system and it works.”
In the end, the race came down to the same closely-run states that cemented Trump’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump won all three in 2016; Biden captured them in 2020. Although Biden outperformed him in Pennsylvania, Trump is on track to outperform his own 2016 showing in the Keystone State.
Recounts and the Trump campaign’s legal challenges could delay an official result for weeks or more. The president’s campaign has said it will demand a recount in Wisconsin. Georgia, with its razor-thin majority in Biden’s favor, is also recounting. In still other cases, thousands of military ballots have been swept up in GOP allegations, so far presented without evidence, of widespread fraud.
If Trump’s efforts to contest the official results are successful and there is no clear winner in the Electoral College by mid-December, the U.S. House of Representatives votes to choose the president. Each state’s delegation gets only one vote, so a candidate would have to gather 26 votes to be named president.
The spectre of weeks or more of such uncertainty — fueled by Trump’s incendiary and deeply misleading rhetoric — has elevated concerns of public unrest or even political violence. Pockets of protests continue in battleground states across the country, and in one incident in Pennsylvania on Friday morning, two armed men driving a Hummer truck with a QAnon sticker were arrested in an alleged plot to deliver fake ballots to the Pennsylvania Convention Center where ballots are being counted. In a separate incident later Friday, a shopping complex close to the Convention Center was evacuated due to a bomb threat. K-9 units did not locate a device.
So far, there have been no widespread clashes between protesters supporting opposite candidates, or between protesters and law enforcement. And with few, very limited exceptions, state governors have not needed to call up their National Guards to support law enforcement.
The president’s campaign showed no sign of backing down on Saturday. Members of his team continued to give a scheduled address at 11:30 a.m. at a landscaping company in Philadelphia — just moments after the race was called.
Trump in his statement said that his campaign on Monday “will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.”
“I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands.”