Joe Biden was named the next president of the United States at 11.25 a.m. Saturday morning by television networks and the Associated Press – as Donald Trump played golf.
CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, the AP and USA Today all made the call. Fox News did not immediately follow suit. Votes in Philadelphia pushed his margin in must-win Pennsylvania over the edge. That took him to 273 electoral votes – putting the 77-year-old on a clear path to the White House.
Kamala Harris, his running mate becomes the first female vice president, and the first black and Asian-American vice president.
The call ended a rollercoaster which began on Tuesday when polls closed, and now turns the spotlight on Donald Trump and how he will react.
Biden should now be sworn in on January 20 as the 46th President of the United States – barring an extraordinary legal upset caused by one of the blizzard of lawsuits Trump has threatened, but which so far have failed to generate legal traction.
The apparent president-elect is now preparing to address the nation tonight but there was no obvious sign that Trump will offer a concession speech or public appearance of his own.
The Trump campaign did not have an immediate response to Biden’s victory as advisers and Trump’s family have an internal battle about the next steps – to continue their legal challenges or to concede the race.
The states of Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina were still to be called.
Biden was ahead in all but North Carolina, and if he stays that way he will have 302 electoral college votes, the same as Trump in 2016.
In Wilmington, where Biden was watching the news at home, cars could be heard honking in celebration..
In a written statement after networks called the race, Biden, who is expected to address the American people later Saturday, said he was “honored and humbled” by the trust the American people have placed in him.
“In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America,” Biden said. “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation.”
“We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”
After four years of Trump’s incessant lies, bullying and vilification of his political opponents, Biden said he was running to restore the character of the nation and bring dignity back to the White House. Biden, who turns 78 at the end of this month, will become the oldest president when he is inaugurated in January in the midst of the worst public health emergency in 100 years, the deepest economic slump since the 1930s and a national reckoning on racism and police brutality that is still unresolved.