BY TREVOR HUNNICUTT, STEVE HOLLAND AND JEFF MASON, Reuters
Democrat Joe Biden won the presidency on Saturday after a bitter election campaign and promised he would work to unify a deeply divided country, even as President Donald Trump refused to accept defeat.
Biden‘s victory in the battleground state of Pennsylvania put him over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes he needed to clinch the presidency, ending four days of nail-biting suspense and sending his supporters into the streets of major cities in celebration.
“The people of this nation have spoken. They have delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory,” Biden told cheering supporters in a parking lot during his victory speech in his home town of Wilmington, Delaware.
“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify,” he said, then addressed Trump’s supporters directly.
“Now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again,” he said. “This is the time to heal in America.”
He was introduced by his running mate, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman, the first Black American and the first American of Asian descent to serve as vice president, the country’s No. 2 office.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris told the crowd, “because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
Congratulations poured in from abroad, including from conservative British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, making it hard for Trump to push his repeated claims, without evidence, that the election was rigged against him.
Trump, who was golfing when the major television networks projected his rival had won, immediately accused Biden of “rushing to falsely pose as the winner.”
“This election is far from over,” he said in a statement.
Trump has filed a raft of lawsuits to challenge the results but elections officials in states across the country say there has been no evidence of significant fraud, and legal experts say Trump’s efforts are unlikely to succeed.