President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, alongside vice-president elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff. Source: President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, alongside vice-president elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff.

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US Election 2020

'Let's give each other a chance': US president-elect Joe Biden calls for unity in moving victory speech

Follow the SBS News live blog for the major updates from the 2020 United States presidential election.

President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, alongside vice-president elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff. Source: President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, alongside vice-president elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff.

Published , updated 8 November 2020, 5:31 pm
By SBS News
8 November 2020, 5:31 pm

Where are we at now?

It’s late in the US, but that hasn’t stopped the celebrations taking place across the country. Here’s a quick post to get you up-to-speed.

Joe Biden is now president-elect. In his first appearance since winning, he vowed to defend democracy and “give everybody in this country a fair shot”.
“"It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again and to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies,” Mr Biden said from Wilmington in Delaware.

Kamala Harris will be the first female vice president in US history. Not only that, but she will also be the first African American and South Asian American to hold the role.
"While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last," Ms Harris said in her speech.
"Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities. And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message. Dream with ambition. Lead with conviction.”

Donald Trump has not formally conceded. In the president’s last tweets, which were seven hours ago, he falsely insisted he was the winner and maintained his baseless claims of voter fraud. The Trump campaign is continuing to push lawsuits to challenge the vote count in certain states, most notably Arizona. Mr Trump was playing golf when it was first officially declared that he had lost.

Who will control the US Senate? This is the next big question. The tally currently sits at 48 Republicans and 48 Democrats, and this question is unlikely to be decided until a January runoff in Georgia.

We're going to wrap up the blog here as things quieten down in the US. But don't go anywhere - Mr Trump could embark upon another late-night tweeting frenzy at any moment. 

8 November 2020, 5:06 pm

Fight looms in Georgia for Senate control

Control of the US Senate is unlikely to be decided until a January runoff in Georgia, even after Democrat Joe Biden won the nation's presidency.

That post-election cliff-hanger will determine the balance of power in Washington, as neither party appears to have a lock on a Senate majority right now.

So far, the tally for the next Senate is 48 Republicans and 48 Democrats after Tuesday's election. Two seats in Georgia are headed to runoffs on 5 January. And seats in North Carolina and Alaska are still too early to call.

The stakes are high for for a momentous political struggle in Georgia during President Donald Trump's final lame-duck days in office.

"Now we take Georgia, and then we change America," Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told a crowd celebrating Mr Biden's victory in Brooklyn on Saturday.

With a Democratic majority in the Senate, the party that also controls the House would have a firm grasp on power in Washington. Mr Biden would have latitude over nominees, including for his Cabinet, and a chance to push major portions of his legislative agenda through Congress. If Democrats fall short, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, could wield the power to check Mr Biden's ambitions.

"The Senate is the last line of defence," tweeted the National Republican Senatorial Committee as soon as the presidential race was called for Biden. It was a fundraising appeal.

Republicans have been working to retain their majority, but even if they secure the final two races where ballots are still being counted in North Carolina and Alaska, they would still fall short of the 51 seats needed.

The problem for Republicans is that the vice president of the party holding the White House casts the tie-breaking vote in the Senate. Next year that would be Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. That means 50 seats for Democrats would result in control over the chamber. But Republicans would need 51 seats to cement their hold on power.

- AP

8 November 2020, 4:57 pm

SNL pays tribute to Biden-Harris victory

In case you were curious - and don't pretend you weren't - Saturday Night Live has paid tribute to the Democratic victory speeches. Alec Baldwin makes a guest appearance as Donald Trump too!

8 November 2020, 3:43 pm

Dalai Lama congratulates Joe Biden

8 November 2020, 3:41 pm

Trump campaign files lawsuit over rejected vote claims in Arizona

Donald Trump is yet to respond to the victory speeches by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris just now.

The outgoing president has not been active on Twitter since his reiteration of baseless voter fraud claims six hours ago.

That said, CNN is reporting that Mr Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has approached him about conceding the election.

The Trump campaign did however today announce it had sued Arizona, alleging the state’s most populous county of Maricopa incorrectly rejected votes cast on 3 November.

The lawsuit alleged poll workers told some voters to press a button after a machine had detected an “overvote”.

An Arizona official rejected the lawsuit.

“This is just a stalling tactic to delay the official canvass,” said Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, in a statement through her spokeswoman. “They are grasping at straws.”

Mr Biden currently leads Mr Trump by more than 18,000 votes in Arizona. The state has not been called and its 11 electoral votes were not needed to secure Mr Biden’s victory.

8 November 2020, 2:26 pm

Donald Trump has so far refused to concede the US election. What happens next?

Incumbent President Donald Trump has so far refused to concede defeat in the United States election, bringing the country into strange and confusing territory.

The peaceful transfer of power has been a staple of US democracy since the 1800s and no presidential candidate has ever refused to concede defeat once all the votes were counted and legal challenges resolved.

With Mr Trump still denying defeat, what’s likely to happen next?

Here’s a great breakdown from Eden Gillespie on what you can expect.

8 November 2020, 2:06 pm

‘The angels of America are back’: Top Democrats react to victory speeches

Top Democrats reacted in real time to the speeches from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and California governor Gavin Newsom.

8 November 2020, 1:40 pm

The one person missing from Joe Biden's victory speech

President-elect Joe Biden has officially declared victory in a moving speech calling for unity and cooperation from both sides of politics to face the challenges ahead.

But there was one person notably not mentioned in his speech: incumbent President Donald Trump.

Traditionally the losing presidential candidate would ring their rival to concede defeat first, clearing the way for the winning candidate to claim victory in an address to the country.

But there was barely any mention of President Trump in Mr Biden or vice president-elect Kamala Harris' speeches, other than to offer an olive branch to his supporters. 

While we can safely assume the President - who still maintains he has won the election - was watching the event from the White House, he was uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter. 

And that's me, Maani Truu, signing off for today. I'll be handing you over the my colleague Gavin Fernando to take you through any developments this afternoon.

8 November 2020, 1:18 pm

'I am Jill's husband'

Following the emotional and impassioned speech, in which Joe Biden declared "I am Jill's husband", the president-elect was joined by his wife and grandchildren on stage as fireworks exploded overhead.

With Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay (who played at Mr Biden's late son Beau's funeral) and Tina Turner playing in the background, the Biden and Harris families embraced as they watched the display wearing matching navy blue face masks.

Earlier on in the address, Mr Biden thanked his children and wife who he said are "his heart".

Source: AP

"Jill is a mum, and military mum, an educator, she has dedicated her life to education but teaching isn't just what she does, it is who she is," he said.

"Jill is going to make a great First Lady. I am so proud of her."

He also paid tribute to vice president-elect Kamala Harris who will "make history as the first woman, the first Black woman, the first woman of South Asian descent, the first woman daughter of immigrants ever elected in this country."

Source: AP

"Don't tell me it is not possible in the United States. It is long overdue," he said. 

He ended the address by reciting a hymn that he said meant a lot to Beau and that he hoped would "provide some comfort and solace" to the families of 230,000 Americans who have died of coronavirus this year.

"Remember, as my grandpa told me as he walked out of his home when I was a kid in Scranton, he said 'Joey, keep the faith'. My grandmother yelled, 'no Joey, spread it'. Spread the faith!"

8 November 2020, 1:05 pm

'Let's give each other a chance': Joe Biden uses victory speech to call for unity

President-elect Joe Biden used his victory speech to focus on family and national unity as he seeks to "make America respected around the world again". 

"I sought this office to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the back room of this nation, the middle class," he told a crowd of his supporters in Wilmington, Delaware, hours after he won the US election.

He said he was incredibly proud of the Democratic campaign, which included the "broadest and most diverse coalition in history".

"Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservatives, young, old, suburban, rural, gay, straight, transgender, white, Latino, Asian, Native American. I mean it," he said.

"ThAfrican-American community stood up again for me!, they have always had my back and I will have yours."

But he also spoke to the 70 million people who voted for incumbent President Donald Trump, explaining that he understood the disappointment they were feeling today. "I've lost a couple of times myself," he quipped, "but now, let's give each other a chance."

He also repeated his previous catchcry that he would govern not as a Democratic president, but an American president, and issued a plea to opposition politicians to help him put an end to the "grim era of demonisation".

"The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to co-operate with one another is not some serious force beyond our control, it is a decision, a choice we make," he said.

"And if we can decide not to co-operate, then we can decide to co-operate."

8 November 2020, 12:43 pm

'I will not be the last' woman in this office, says Kamala Harris in first address as vice-president-elect

Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris has welcomed a "new day for America" in her first address since the result of the US election was declared. 

Wearing a white suit and American flag pin, she walked out to Mary J Blige and thundering applause to introduce future US President Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware. 

"We the people have the power to build a better future," she said. 

"And when our very democracy is on the ballot in this election with the very soul of America at stake and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America."

Source: AFP

Senator Harris, who will become the first female vice-president of the United States, said the American people had "protected the integrity of our democracy".

"I know times have been challenging, especially the last several months," she said. 

"The grief, sorrow and pain, worries the struggles. But we have also witnessed your courage, your resilience and the generosity of your spirit. For four years, you marched and organised for equality and justice, for our lives and for our planet and then, you voted."

She also gave a specific shout-out to the generations of women of colour who "paved the way for this moment tonight". 

"Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all," she said.

"Including the black women who are often, too often, overlooked but so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.

"While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last."

8 November 2020, 11:57 am

Live: Joe Biden set to deliver victory speech hours after US election result announced

President-elect Joe Biden is just now arriving at Biden HQ in Wilmington, Delaware, where he will give his much-anticipated victory speech in front of a crowd of his most ardent supporters.

He is expected to start speaking in just under 10 minutes, alongside vice-president-elect Kamala Harris.

You can watch the live stream of the speech right here:

8 November 2020, 11:47 am

Widespread election celebrations give rise to coronavirus fears

Massive street parties have continued into the night across major American cities, spurring fears of further COVID-19 outbreaks as the virus continues its path of destruction across the United States. 

While many people were wearing masks during the celebrations, they were also dancing and singing in groups of thousands a day after the United States recorded a new record for daily cases with more than 127,000 infections reported.

Source: Anadolu

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a "gentle reminder" on Twitter on Sunday (AEST) that the "virus doesn't care about why you are gathering". 

Joe Biden has pledged to make the pandemic response a priority of his presidency, announcing he would put his plan to control the virus into action on "day one". 

More than 9.8 million COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the US, according to the John Hopkins tally. Almost 237,000 Americans have already died of the disease. 

8 November 2020, 11:28 am

Chinese state media comments on Donald Trump's claim he 'won' the election

Chinese state-run newspaper the People's Daily has commented on Donald Trump's claims to have won the election, despite major media outlets and world leaders calling it for Democrat Joe Biden.

Speaks for itself, really. 

Relations between the Chinese government and the United States have grown increasingly strained over Mr Trump's presidency. Last month, Chinese state media outlets used Mr Trump's coronavirus diagnosis as an opportunity to mock his pandemic response.

"President Trump and the first lady have paid the price for his gamble to play down the COVID-19," the editor of the Global Times wrote on Twitter. 

For his part, President Trump has taken to calling COVID-19 the "China virus" and placing blame for the pandemic squarely on the Chinese government's shoulders. 

8 November 2020, 11:13 am

On this day, 48 years ago

Here's some historical trivia for you.

It was on this day, 7 November, local time, in 1972 that Joe Biden won his first Senate election at the age of 29.

Exactly 48 years later, to the day, he won the election to become the next President of the United States.

Source: AP

President-elect Biden is expected to address the nation in just under a hour. We will bring you the live updates right here. 

8 November 2020, 11:00 am

Scott Morrison speaks of Joe Biden's 'deep, personal' relationship with Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has spoken of US President-elect Joe Biden's "deep" and "personal" relationship with Australia as he welcomed the incoming administration. 

Addressing reporters at Kirribilli House in Sydney, Mr Morrison said he was joining other world leader's to congratulate Mr Biden, and his wife Jill, on his victory in the US election during a "profound time" in the world.

He said he particularly looked forward to working with Mr Biden to continue Australia and America's close relationship because of the 77-year-old's strong connection to Australia.

"A history that has seen him come to Australia before," Mr Morrison said.

"When he was in Australia, on board the HMAS Adelaide he said this: 'thank you for having America's back, and we will always have your back.'

"That was true then, and it is true now."

Mr Morrison also spoke about two of Mr Biden's uncles who served in Papua New Guinea. "So the relationship goes deep, and it is personal," he said.

President Donald Trump has so far refused to concede the election, claiming on Twitter this morning that he had won. 

8 November 2020, 10:51 am

Live: Scott Morrison is speaking about the US election result

You can watch the media conference below:

8 November 2020, 10:36 am

Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, ally of Donald Trump, silent after Joe Biden win

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says the world is "breathing a sigh of relief" at Joe Biden's victory, while current President Jair Bolsonaro, a fervent Donald Trump supporter, remained conspicuously silent.

Mr Lula, a hero of the Latin American left during his presidency, said Americans had voted "against Trumpism and all it stands for."

Source: EPA

"I welcome Biden's victory and express my hope that he will be guided by the humanist values that marked his campaign, not only domestically but in his relations with Latin America and the world," he tweeted.

President Bolsonaro, a far-right leader sometimes called the "Tropical Trump," meanwhile drew criticism for failing to join the flood of world leaders sending their congratulations to Mr Biden.

The 65-year-old openly cheered President Trump's reelection bid, and lashed out at Mr Biden during the campa. His silence after Biden emerged as president-elect did not go unnoticed.

"World leaders congratulate Biden on his victory, but [President] Bolsonaro has yet to comment," underlined one article, in leading newspaper Globo.


8 November 2020, 10:12 am

The wall, an impeachment, and a pandemic: four years of Donald Trump

President Donald Trump is still technically in the White House - where he will remain until inauguration day on 20 January - but following Joe Biden's historic win, here we take a look back at his four years in office:

The most memorable moments of Donald Trump's presidency


8 November 2020, 10:02 am

Donald Trump is the newest member of America's one-term presidents club

Donald Trump has become the latest member of a small club of former American presidents who sought a second term but were rebuffed by the public.

Alongside him is George Bush Senior, who was knocked out of office by Democratic candidate Bill Clinton in 1993, Jimmy Carter who was replaced by Republican Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford who was elevated to the oval office through scandal, and Herbert Hoover, who oversaw the onset of the Great Depression before losing to Franklin Roosevelt in a landslide.

Read the full story by my colleague Jarni Blakkarly below:


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