Mr Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States, defeating Donald Trump in a vicious and bitterly fought election campaign. The news came that the former Vice President had defeated Donald Trump as vote counting rolled into a fifth day.
In the end, Biden’s route to victory was by flipping back the ‘rust belt’ industrial states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania which Trump won by slim margins in 2016.
The race was called following the release of 3,000 counted votes from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania shortly after 4pm UK time, which pushed Biden’s lead in the state above 30,000 votes.
President Trump was playing golf on his Virginia golf course when the news broke.
As the likelihood of defeat began to emerge, the President angrily cast doubt on the integrity of the election, attempting to undermine faith in American Democracy. President Trump has vowed a fight to overturn the result in the courts.
In a rambling statement from the White House late on Thursday night, the President claimed he would “easily win” if only the “legal votes” were counted.
He blamed his plummeting poll leads on postal vote “fraud” and dishonest counting practices, making repeated claims of irregularity in various states without showing any evidence.
And he falsely claimed his lead had been “whittled away in secret” – because ‘observers’ had not been given access to voting count centres. They have.
Throughout Wednesday, President Trump had reportedly been fuming about the results, with White House aides having to talk him down from making public statements.
Early on Thursday morning, Trump tweeted “STOP THE COUNT”. Aides reportedly had to explain to the President that stopping the count at that point would mean he would automatically lose the election.
He eventually broke his three day silence just hours after Joe Biden gave an address from his Delaware HQ, urging calm and patience from the public while votes are counted.
“Democracy is sometimes messy. it sometimes requires a little patience as well,” Biden said.
“But that patience has been rewarded for almost 240 years with a system of governance which is the envy of the world.”
He added: “Everybody stay calm, the process is working.”
Last night, Biden gave another speech from his HQ, seeking to reassure Americans their vote would be counted despite the President’s outbursts.
“Democracy works,” the Presidential frontrunner said from his Delaware HQ. “Your vote will be counted, I don’t care how they try to stop it, I won’t let it happen.”
After falsely declaring victory in the early hours of Wednesday morning, President Trump went on to “claim for electoral vote purposes” Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan in a tweet the following afternoon.
He repeatedly questioned the validity of postal ballots, which saw a huge increase as voters avoided long lines and crowds at polling stations.
And his campaign filed lawsuits in several states, making various spurious claims of irregularities, and complaints that observers had not had “meaningful access” to counting facilities.
The Biden campaign dismissed the suits as having “no merit”, and the protests outside counting facilities sparked by the President’s complaints as “political theatre.”
And Judges in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania dismissed Trump team lawsuits in short order.
The President’s son, Eric, and his personal lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani were dispatched to knife-edge Pennsylvania – where the “red mirage” was in full effect, to sow doubt in the results.
As postal votes were added to the tally, the President’s early lead in the state dwindled. Giuliani made a string of outlandish claims, from “cheating” being rife in the state to the ballots of “dead people” being counted.
TK PENNSYLVANIA RESULT IF ANY
This morning, as it became clear Biden had taken Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign issued a statement warning “this election is not over.”
Making false claims of “irregularity” in Pennsylvania and Nevada, Trump campaign lawyer Matt Morgan said: “Biden is relying on these states for his phony claim on the White House, but once the election is final President Trump will be re-elected.”
Meanwhile, the Biden campaign remained confident and appealed for “patience and calm” as the final votes were tallied.
“We the People” will not be silenced. “We the People” will not be bullied. “We the People” will not surrender,” Joe Biden said in a televised speech on Wednesday morning.
“My friends, I’m confident that we will emerge victorious.”
It proved to be a closer race than many anticipated.
The battleground state of Florida, without which it is rare for a President to win the White House, called for Trump on election night – the first signal that this was to be a long process.
Early indications that Trump was in the lead proved to be a ‘red mirage’ as postal ballots began to be counted
By Wednesday, just a handful of crucial states remained on the table, with both candidates retaining a route to the Oval Office.
Biden was projected to flip Wisconsin and Michigan on Wednesday – two of the ‘rust belt’ states that Trump narrowly won in 2016, edging him to a victory over Hillary Clinton.
Arizona was called for Biden by several US networks on Tuesday night – but some held out as the counting suggested a narrower lead for the former Vice President than had been predicted.
With 90% of votes in, Biden was ahead by just over 47,000 votes – but the President had been overperforming in the late reported votes.
Trump’s campaign on Thursday attacked the person at Fox News responsible for the network’s projection calling Arizona for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as a “Clinton-voting, Biden-donating Democrat.”
Trump’s campaign website said, “decision desk” director Arnon Mishkin “prematurely called Arizona for Joe Biden before hundreds of thousands of ballots had been counted.”
A crowd of Trump supporters, some armed with rifles and handguns, gathered outside an election center in Arizona on Wednesday night after unsubstantiated rumors that votes for the Republican president were deliberately not being counted.
Chanting “Stop the steal!”, and “Count my vote”, the mostly unmasked protesters stood in front of the Maricopa County Elections Department in Phoenix, as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden held a razor thin lead in the critical battleground state.
Georgia, a state widely expected to be in Trump’s column, also went down to the wire – and Biden was in the lead by around 1,000 votes this morning.
Despite a handful of protests in battleground states, the unrest predicted by many in Washington DC has thus far failed to materialise.
Businesses had boarded up their windows in advance of the election, but protests on the night came and went largely without incident.
While police initially linked a stabbing near the White House to protest activity, they later clarified they could not link either the suspect or victims to a political group.