US election: What you need to know right now in 500 words

Trump continues to refuse to concede to Biden, even as his loss becomes more official by the day.

Trump's tweet enabled the transition to begin, but he has not said Biden is the winner [Carlos Barria/Reuters]

President Donald Trump briefly spoke to reporters Tuesday to remark on the stock market and little else.

At a hastily announced event in the White House briefing room, Trump celebrated the Dow Jones Industrial Average breaking the 30,000 mark – a record.

“Thirty thousand, definitely broken that number. That’s a sacred number. Thirty thousand. Nobody thought they’d ever see it,” Trump said.

He continued, “I just want to congratulate all the people within the administration that worked so hard. And most importantly, I want to congratulate the people of our country because there are no people like you. Thank you very much, everybody.”

Trump again took no questions from reporters – he has not taken any since Joe Biden was declared president-elect on November 7. Trump is also still not conceding the election even though the transition to Biden’s presidency has officially shifted into gear.

Almost three weeks after Election Day, Trump’s administration and the General Services Administration (GSA) officially ascertained Biden is the “apparent winner” and began the presidential transition process, signalling one of the key structural acknowledgements that Trump’s time in office is waning.

Trump, however, is insisting the GSA’s action is just a formality – tweeting Tuesday, “the GSA does not determine who the next President of the United States will be.”

While technically, Trump is correct – the voters determine that – virtually every milestone the president has held up as his reasoning to hold off conceding the election has passed without affecting the outcome: The GSA’s transition handoff, lawsuits challenging vote counts and ballots, recounts, and individual states’ election certifications. And as the days go on, more of these milestones continue to be passed.


Biden has been certified as the winner of the presidential election in Pennsylvania, after three weeks of vote counting and a string of failed Trump-backed legal challenges, state officials said Tuesday.

The Pennsylvania State Department “certified the results of the November 3 election in Pennsylvania for president and vice president of the United States,” Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, tweeted.

Pennsylvania’s 20 electors, a mix of elected Democrats, party activists and other staunch Biden backers, will meet in the state Capitol on December 14.

Trump lost the state to Biden by 80,555 votes.

Wisconsin recount

Milwaukee County, one of two Wisconsin counties conducting a recount, could complete the recounting of its presidential election results as soon as Wednesday and no later than Friday, a county spokesman said Tuesday.

The recount got off to a slow start last week as elections officials addressed a myriad of complaints from Trump’s attorneys and observers. But the work is “very close to being back on schedule,” said Brian Rothgery, spokesman for the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.

Milwaukee County in Wisconsin is expecting its recount of the presidential election to wrap up soon [Nam Y Huh/AP Photo]

In Dane County, the other county holding a recount, it is about 36 percent complete and only “slightly behind schedule,” said Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell.

Neither county planned to work on Thanksgiving, which is Thursday. They must complete the recount by December 1, the deadline for certifying the vote.

Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden by about 20,600 votes in Wisconsin but paid for a recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties and is widely expected to file a lawsuit challenging absentee ballots once the recount is complete.

As of Tuesday morning, recounted ballots showed a net gain of only 57 votes for Trump.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies