AP: Biden wins presidency, vows to work hard for all Americans

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Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday and offered himself to the nation as a leader who “seeks not to divide, but to unify” a country gripped by a historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil.

“I sought this office to restore the soul of America,” Biden said in a prime-time victory speech not far from his Delaware home, “and to make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home.”

Biden crossed the winning threshold of 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania. His victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed processing.

Trump refused to concede, threatening further legal action on ballot counting. But Biden used his acceptance speech as an olive branch to those who did not vote for him, telling Trump voters that he understood their disappointment but adding, “Let’s give each other a chance.”

“It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to each other again, to make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy,” he said. “We are not enemies. We are Americans.”

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’s victory was a repudiation of Trump’s divisive leadership and the president-elect now inherits a deeply polarized nation grappling with foundational questions of racial justice and economic fairness while in the grips of a virus that has killed more than 236,000 Americans and reshaped the norms of everyday life.

Biden, in a statement, declared it was time for the battered nation “to unite and to heal.”

Editor’s note: The Associated Press has declared a winner in Arizona, however several other outlets have not yet. The race in Arizona is tightening, as more results are released. The AP continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona as they come in, said Sally Buzbee, AP executive editor.


“With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” he 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.

Nonetheless, Trump was not giving up.

Departing from longstanding democratic tradition and signaling a potentially turbulent transfer of power, he issued a combative statement saying his campaign would take unspecified legal actions. And he followed up with a bombastic, all-caps tweet in which he falsely declared, “I WON THE ELECTION, GOT 71,000,000 LEGAL VOTES.” Twitter immediately flagged it as misleading.

Trump has pointed to delays in processing the vote in some states to allege with no evidence that there was 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 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.

He was golfing at his Virginia country club when he lost the race. He stayed out for hours, stopping to congratulate a bride as he left, and his motorcade returned to the White House to a cacophony of shouts, taunts and unfriendly hand gestures.

In Wilmington, Delaware, near a stage that has stood empty since it was erected to celebrate 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 cellphones.

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. Among the loudest cheers were those for passing U.S. Postal Service trucks.

People streamed into Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House, near where Trump had ordered the clearing of protesters in June, 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 75 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.

The now president-elect has had a long road to the nation’s highest office. In 1972, at just 29, he was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served for more than three decades until becoming vice president under Barack Obama.

He previously ran for president in 1988 and 2008. Biden was elected the nation’s 46th president exactly 48 years after he was first elected to the Senate.

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.”

After serving as VP for two terms, Biden was not expected to run for president until accepting calls from the Democratic Party to run in 2020. He emerged as a front-runner long before he formally announced his campaign in April 2019. During the primary race, he faced more than 20 challengers, a historic number of primary candidates, before ultimately coming out as the party’s nominee.

Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, also makes history, becoming first woman, the first African American, and the first South Asian American to be elected vice president.

Harris also released a statement saying, “This election is about so much more than or me. It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started.”

A look at Joe Biden’s policy positions:


Biden believes in strengthening the middle class and strengthening unions. To help this, he proposes raising the minimum wage to start. According to his website, he will support a “pro-growth, progressive tax code that treats workers as job creators.” Essentially Biden is proposing making sure that laborers are not treated lesser than shareholders. He hopes to “reduce non-compete” clauses to help workers have more opportunities, according to PBS.

According to Biden’s website, he plans to “Check the abuse of corporate power over labor and hold corporate executives personally accountable for violations of labor laws; encourage and incentivize unionization and collective bargaining; and ensure that workers are treated with dignity and receive the pay, benefits, and workplace protections they deserve.”


When it comes to healthcare, Biden has been vocal about protecting the Affordable Care Act but also working to improve and expand upon it. In the plan, Biden proposes creating a new version of Medicare that would public, increasing tax credit value to lower premiums and expanding coverage for lower income Americans.

Biden has said he is in favor of a woman’s right to choose an abortion but has had a history of proposing certain restrictions on late term abortions and his past support of the Hyde Amendment, which halted federal funds for abortions unless the mother’s life was at risk. He has since publicly declared he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment.


Biden is planning to invest in community colleges and training. His plan is aiming to provide two debt free years of community college or another form of training. He proposes increasing the maximum value of the Pell grants that assist students with college debt.

His plan is also proposing to “support and protect” post 9/11 GI benefits for veterans and their families.

Gun Reform:

Biden is in favor of banning assault weapons that would include high-capacity magazines and universal background checks.

According to his website, Biden plans to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that protects gun manufacturers. In addition to putting a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, he would regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act. He plans to hold buy backs for communities so that residents. His plan outlines an effort to restrict the number of firearms an individual can purchase per month to one. Biden is planning to reinstate the Obama-era policy that mandates the Social Security Administration send the background check system records that reveal.

Climate Change:

Biden has called climate change a “existential crisis” and balked at the Trump Administration to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Personally, Biden has been an advocate for clean energy, specifically wind energy.

According to his website, Biden proposed the Clean Energy Revolution that proposes the following:

  • Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
  • Build a stronger, more resilient nation.
  • Rally the rest of the world to meet the threat of climate change.
  • Stand up to the abuse of power by polluters who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities.
  • Fulfill our obligation to workers and communities who powered our industrial revolution and subsequent decades of economic growth.


Biden is against building a southern border wall. He has been vocal about championing the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. He has not publicly discussed his proposal for the continuation or ending the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement entity.

Biden’s website says his plan is to enforce immigration laws but that “putting people in cages and tearing children away from their parents isn’t the answer.” Biden has also proposed protecting undocumented members of armed services, veterans and their spouses from deportation.

Foreign Policy:

Biden plans to order a review of the Temporary Protected Status of certain “vulnerable populations” and plans to terminate the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries. He is proposing to bring home “a vast majority” of troops in Afghanistan.

Biden would reenter the Iran nuclear deal if Tehran returned to compliance with the deal. He has proposed reentering the Paris Climate Accord agreement as well.