Former Vice President Joe Biden was elected the 46th president of the United States Saturday following four days of uncertainty during which President Donald Trump threatened legal action as key states’ final tallies trickled in.
Sen. Kamala Harris, his running mate, is the first woman elected vice president in the nation’s history.
The pair addressed supporters at a drive-in victory speech in Wilmington, Del. Saturday night, where a mostly masked crowd waved American flags, red and blue glow sticks and cardboard cutouts of the president-elect.
Harris was the first to speak, walking onto the flag-adorned stage shortly before 8:30 p.m. as Mary J. Blige’s “Work That” rang through the arena. She thanked voters for their persevering support.
“For four years, you marched and organized for equality and justice for our lives and for our planet. And then, you voted,” Harris said. “You delivered a clear message. You chose hope and unity, decency, science and yes, truth.”
Harris thanked her own family as well as the Bidens for their support.
She called for remembrance of Biden’s son Beau and for her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a scientist and civil rights activist whom the vice president-elect called an inspiration.
“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Harris said, “because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
Biden took the stage after 8:45 p.m, as a roaring applause overpowered Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care Of Our Own.”
The president-elect said he will focus on unity and cooperation with Republicans moving forward. He said he had the most diverse coalition of supporters in history.
“For those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight. I’ve lost a couple times myself. But now, let’s give each other a chance,” Biden said. “This is the time to heal in America.”
His ticket received more than 74 million votes — a U.S. record.
“The people of this nation have spoken,” Biden said. “They’ve delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for we the people.”
Biden said the country cannot move forward until the ongoing pandemic is addressed. He added he will announce a group of experts on Monday to implement his COVID-19 action plan.
He concluded his speech with the words he said his grandfather would say each time young Biden left his grandparents’ home: “Keep the faith.”
Biden is the first candidate to beat an incumbent president since 1992. His victory came as the Associated Press called Pennsylvania Saturday morning, granting Biden the 270 electoral votes necessary to secure the White House.
Trump repeated claims of voter fraud, and wrote he would begin prosecuting on Monday in a statement released Saturday afternoon. The president has not made a public appearance since Thursday.
At a White House press conference Thursday night, Trump said without evidence that Democrats had committed election fraud.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” Trump said. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us if you count the votes that came in late.”
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, spoke to reporters outside of Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Pennsylvania Saturday, after Biden had been declared the winner.
He said the president would not concede the election and planned to pursue further litigation in swing states such as Pennsylvania, where his apparent lead shrank as mail-in ballots were tallied.
“We were deprived of the right to inspect if a single one of those ballots is legitimate,” Giuliani said. “That is unheard of. It’s illegal. It’s unconstitutional, and we will be bringing an action challenging that.”
Biden supporters around the country celebrated, despite Trump’s false claims of fraud and unlawful victory by the president-elect.
In Boston, crowds gathered at the intersection of Boylston Street and Charles Street, near the Boston Common and Boston Public Garden. Cars decked in banners and flags circled the park, drivers honking, cheering and playing music.
Samuel Williams, a local DJ, played music at the Public Garden’s western edge — ranging from Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The U.S.A.” to Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing In The Name.”
As the music played, celebrators on foot mingled with drivers sitting in traffic, exchanging fist-bumps, congratulations and squirts of hand sanitizer.
Some dressed in Trump merchandise shouted obscenities as they waded through the crowd, but most Biden supporters did not engage and the interactions remained peaceful.
Williams said the crowd had been in good spirits throughout the afternoon.
“I like to bring people together with music,” Williams said. “Crowd response has been great. It’s just really good vibes.”