Democrat Joe Biden won the U.S. presidential election late on Saturday after a bitter campaign, sparking street celebrations among his supporters in major cities even as President Donald Trump refused to accept defeat. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris has scripted history by becoming the first woman, Black and Indian-American Vice President-elect of the United States.
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 in a deeply divided country.
Here are the live updates (all times IST):
Biden recites deceased son’s favorite Catholic hymn in a victory speech
US President-elect Joe Biden concluded his victory speech by reciting his deceased son Beau’s favorite popular Catholic hymn “On Eagles’ Wings”, hoping that the carol will give comfort to many Americans grieving the loss of their loved ones due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Biden, 77, who is a practicing Catholic, said the hymn has inspired him through the final days of his election campaign.
He would be the second Catholic to hold the office of the President after John F Kennedy in 1960.
The Democrat leader lost Beau, an Iraq war veteran who had served as Delaware’s attorney general, in 2015 to a brain tumor at the age of 46.
Mr. Biden defeated Donald Trump in a bitter and closely-fought presidential election — billed as one of the most divisive in recent American history.
The President-elect gave his victory speech before a drive-in audience in his hometown, Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday night, nearly ending the uncertainty over the outcome of Tuesday’s election.
Mr. Biden said he hoped the song would give comfort to the many Americans who are grieving a loved one as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, CNN reported.
“My heart goes out to each and every one of you,” he said, adding “hopefully this hymn gives you solace as well.”
Donald Trump becomes 11th sitting President to lose a reelection bid
President Donald Trump’s reelection defeat has made him the 11th sitting president in US history to lose the White House in a general election campaign.
Ten of those were outright reelection bids. Gerald Ford, who ascended to the presidency following Richard Nixon’s resignation, also lost his campaign to remain president in 1976.
The last President to lose a reelection bid was George H.W. Bush in 1992.
Grover Cleveland lost his reelection campaign in 1888 but won back the White House four years later by defeating sitting President Benjamin Harrison. He is the only president to have served two nonconsecutive terms, CNN reported.
This list does not include sitting Presidents who did not receive their party’s nomination for the next general election, it said.
Democratic Party’s nominee Joe Biden defeated Mr. Trump, a Republican in the November 3 presidential election after the former US vice president secured 279 electoral college votes, three more than the required 270 votes.
Media reports say Jared Kushner approached Donald Trump about conceding the election
Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and senior adviser, has approached the President about conceding the closely-fought election to his Democratic rival Joe Biden, according to media reports on Sunday.
The move comes following Mr. Trump’s assertion in a statement from his campaign — after major U.S. media outlets projected that President-elect Biden will become the 46th president of the United States — that Mr. Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner and that the race is far from over.”
Mr. Kushner has approached the President about conceding the election, CNN quoted two unidentified sources as saying.
Mr. Kushner has told others that he has urged the President to accept the outcome of the race — even if Mr. Trump won’t come to terms with how it was reached, the Associated Press also reported on Sunday.
Kamala Harris’s husband Doug Emhoff to be first ‘second gentleman’
When Kamala Harris makes history as the first woman and first Black US vice president, her husband Doug Emhoff will break his own new ground: as the original “second husband.”
Harris and Emhoff, who married in 2014 — she for the first time, he for the second — will also be the first mixed-race couple to occupy their positions. He is white while she is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. Both are 56.
The contours of Emhoff’s new role as the nation’s “second husband” — some prefer “second gentleman” — have yet to be determined; he has been vague about his plans so far.
Traditionally, the spouses of Presidents and Vice Presidents have been expected to forge a careful balance of supportiveness and independence. Many pick a charitable cause to promote.
Emhoff, who was credited as a “secret weapon” on the campaign trail for his wife — even earning his own following on social media — is an accomplished lawyer specializing in media, sports and entertainment law. — AFP
Joe Biden plans to host a global Summit for Democracy in the first year of the presidency: policy paper
During his first year of presidency, Joe Biden plans to bring together the democracies of the world by hosting a global Summit for Democracy to renew the spirit and shared purpose of the nations of the Free World, according to a policy paper issued by his campaign during the U.S. presidential election.
India, being the world’s largest democracy, is likely to play an important role in such a summit.
During his first year in office, President Biden will bring together the world’s democracies to strengthen our democratic institutions, honestly confront the challenge of nations that are backsliding, and forge a common agenda to address threats to our common values, according to the policy document issued by his campaign. – PTI
Biden administration likely to provide US citizenship to over 500,000 Indians
US President-elect Joe Biden will work towards providing a roadmap to American citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants, including over 500,000 from India, and will also establish a minimum admission number of 95,000 refugees annually.
As a largely immigrant community, but in some cases with American roots reaching back generations, Indian-Americans know firsthand the strength and resilience that immigrants bring to the United States of America, according to a policy document issued by the Biden campaign.
“He (Biden) will immediately begin working with Congress to pass legislative immigration reform that modernizes our system, with a priority on keeping families together by providing a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants — including more than 500,000 from India,” it said.
The Biden administration will support family-based immigration and preserve family unification as a core principle of the US immigration system, which includes reducing the family visa backlog, it said.
“And, he will increase the number of refugees we welcome into this country by setting the annual global refugee admissions target to 125,000 and seek to raise it over time commensurate with our responsibility, our values, and the unprecedented global need. He will also work with Congress to establish a minimum admissions number of 95,000 refugees annually,” the policy document said.
Trump does not plan to concede any time soon, aides and allies indicate
After the declaration on Saturday that Democrat Joe Biden had won the race for the White House, Republican President Donald Trump and his allies made one thing clear: he does not plan to concede any time soon.
The President, who has spent months trying to undermine the election results with unproven allegations of fraud, pledged on Saturday to go forward with a legal strategy that he hopes will overturn state results that gave Mr. Biden the win in Tuesday’s vote. Mr. Trump aides and Republican allies, while somewhat conflicted on how to proceed, largely supported his strategy or remained silent.
Trump campaign files lawsuit over rejected vote claims in Arizona
Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump rallied in downtown Phoenix on Saturday to contest Joe Biden’s election as U.S. president, charging the media with conspiring to steal the election and calling the results a “coup.”
The Trump campaign lent support to protests questioning the current vote tally, filing a lawsuit in Arizona Saturday over rejected ballots that Arizona’s Secretary of State said was ”grasping at straws.”
Trump’s campaign alleged the Southwestern state’s most populous county incorrectly rejected votes cast on Election Day by some voters in the U.S. presidential race. The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court in Maricopa County, said poll workers told some voters to press a button after a machine had detected an “overvote.”
Pro-Trump protesters have been assembling outside the Maricopa County Elections Department and at the Arizona State Capitol for days, espousing unsubstantiated claims that Democratic operatives had interfered with the election to illegitimately deliver Arizona to Biden.
They have chanted Count the legal votes! We are watching you! outside the building where election workers continue to count votes. — Reuters
Joe Biden vows to tackle coronavirus; to name advisers on Monday
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has assured Americans that his first task is to get the raging coronavirus pandemic under control with a definite plan that will be “built on bedrock science,” as the deadly disease has killed over 237,000 people in the country.
“That’s the only way we can get back to living,” Mr. Biden said in his victory speech, hours after he was declared the winner of the November 3 presidential election held amidst the pandemic.
He also announced that on Monday he will form a group of leading scientists and experts to bring the pandemic under control.
Biden plans to increase the H-1B visa limit and remove the country quota for green cards
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to increase the number of high-skilled visas, including the H-1B, and eliminate the limit on employment-based visas by country, both of which are expected to benefit tens of thousands of Indian professionals impacted by some immigration policies of the outgoing Trump administration.
With Kamala Harris as his deputy, Mr. Biden is expected to reverse the movement of the outgoing Trump administration to revoke work permits to the spouses of H-1B visas, which had adversely impacted a large number of Indian families in the U.S.
All these are part of comprehensive immigration reform that the Biden administration plans to work on, either in one go or in separate pieces.
Biden administration to place a high priority on strengthening Indo-U.S. relationship
The Biden administration will place a high priority on strengthening the Indo-US relationship by pushing India to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, continuing co-operation on terrorism, climate change, health, and trade, according to a policy paper released by the Biden campaign during the presidential election.
Mr. Biden, 77, defeated incumbent President Donald Trump in the bitterly-fought presidential election that attracted a record number of Americans to cast their votes.
By becoming the U.S. president, Mr. Biden has an opportunity of fulfilling his 14-year-old dream to strengthen the India-US ties that he wants to achieve in 2020.
Indians in Harris’ ancestral home wake up to her victory
After rooting for Kamala Harris, people in her small ancestral village woke up on Sunday morning to the news of her making history. Most of them had gone to sleep by the time Biden clinched the winning threshold of 270 Electoral College votes.
“Congratulations Kamala Harris. Pride of our village. Vanakkam (Greetings) America,” one female resident wrote in color powder outside her residence.
“We all have been waiting for this day. Congratulations,” Aulmozhi Sudhakar, a village councilor, said. The village of Thulasendrapuram, population 350, planned to celebrate Harris’ success with singing, dancing, and firecrackers at a temple later Sunday. Already in the morning hours, groups gathered at street corners reading newspapers and chatting about the Democrats’ victory before moving to the temple for prayers. -AP
Building a Biden government
The Biden team’s top priority in the 10 weeks before Inauguration Day on January 20 will be building a staff and assembling the pieces needed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden said he would unveil a group of scientists and experts on Monday to help him craft a plan to tackle the pandemic. Biden said that “our work begins with getting COVID under control,” adding that Americans “cannot repair the economy, restore our economy or relish life’s most precious moments” without doing so.
Biden is likely to move quickly in announcing Cabinet picks and top aides central to his pandemic response, including leaders of the departments of the Treasury and Health and Human Services, and a National Economic Council director. That’s according to people involved in transition planning who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. Biden’s campaign declined to comment.
Outgoing President George W. Bush worked for more than a year to prepare federal agencies for a transition and personally promised to help the process go smoothly. How Trump handles the transition is an open question. – AP
I don’t see red states and blue states, only the United States: Joe Biden
Biden declares victory in U.S. Presidential polls. This is his first address to the nation as the President-elect.
“Folks, the people of this nation have spoken. They’ve delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory,” Biden says, referring to a record-breaking 74 million votes he won.
“I pledge to be a President who seeks not to divide, but to unify… who doesn’t see the Red States and the Blue States but the United States,” he says in a speech that placed thrust on science, unity, hope, and decency. He says he wants a Cabinet that looks like America.
President-elect Joe Biden addresses a motorcade rally at Delaware.
Addressing Trump supporters, Biden says: “I understand the disappointment. I’ve lost a couple of times myself. But now let’s give each other a chance… listen to each other again… we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies.”
I will spare no effort to turn around this pandemic: Biden on COVID-19. “Don’t just keep the faith, spread the faith,” says Biden, concluding the speech. His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and family members, all wearing masks, join him on stage. He is later joined by Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff, both wearing masks.
Kamala Harris says voters ushered in ‘new day for America’
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said voters had brought a “new day for America” as she opened a victory speech on Saturday with President-elect Joe Biden.
“Tonight I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been,” Harris said, wearing a white suit in tribute to women’s suffrage.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris said in her first post-election address to the nation.
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are expected to speak at a motorcade rally in Wilmington, Delaware soon.
Why are questions being raised about the viability of America’s electoral system?
The 2020 U.S. presidential election has been one of the most bitterly polarised democratic exercises in recent memory. The winner, Democrat, and former Vice-President Joe Biden, has won over 74 million votes, and his rival, incumbent Republican president Donald Trump, has garnered over 70 million votes.
The fact that this election has seen one of the highest turnout numbers since 1960 suggests that voters and both campaigns pushed hard to get their chosen candidate elected. But despite the presence of both a ‘blue wave’ and a ‘red wave’, the final outcome came down to the wire, and hinged on narrow vote margins in a handful of ‘swing States’.
These circumstances have fuelled anger over the lack of direct representation in the electoral system and have raised questions surrounding the viability of the institution, the ‘Electoral College’, that renders the popular vote insufficient to determine the victor.
Kamala Harris breaks barriers as America’s next Vice-President
First time Senator Kamala Devi Harris has scripted history by becoming the first woman, Black and Indian-American Vice President of the United States.
Harris was picked by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as his running mate in August, months after she suspended her own presidential dreams, saying she lacked the financial resources to continue her campaign.
A fierce critic-turned ally of her former rival Biden, the 56-year-old California Senator is one of only three Asian Americans in the Senate and she’s the first Indian-American ever to serve in the chamber.
Harris is known for many firsts. She has been a county district attorney; the district attorney for San Francisco — the first woman and first African-American and Indian-origin to be elected to the position. – PTI