Democrat Joe Biden said he is “honored and humbled” by the projected results of the United States presidential election, which showed him above the threshold needed to clinch the White House.
The Associated Press (AP) on Saturday projected that Biden had 290 Electoral College votes, after the news agency called Pennsylvania and then Nevada in his favour.
“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect [Kamala] Harris,” Biden, 77, said in a statement a few minutes after the projection was announced.
Harris will now be the first woman, first African American and first person of Asian descent to serve as vice president.
The projected Biden-Harris victory comes after several anxiety-inducing days in which people around the world watched as battleground US states counted ballots and leads shifted between Biden and Republican incumbent President Donald Trump.
The process faced longer-than-usual delays in part because millions of Americans cast mail-in ballots this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump, who has tried to discredit and cast doubt on the US electoral process, has vowed to challenge the projected results. His campaign has filed lawsuits in several states to challenge the ballot counts, and signalled plans to demand a recount in at least one key state, Wisconsin.
In a statement on Saturday, Trump said the “election is far from over” and accused Biden of “rushing to falsely pose as the winner”.
“Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor,” he said.
Ballot counting continues in several key battleground states where the margins are razor-thin.
In US elections, it is common practice for news organisations, after determining that a candidate no longer has a path to victory, to project a winner in the race.
“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated,” Trump’s statement read.
“The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots.”
Biden, for his part, called for unity on Saturday after what was an extremely divisive election campaign.
“With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” he said.
The Democratic president-elect is expected to address the nation at 8pm ET (0100GMT) Saturday.
Meanwhile, crowds of Biden supporters have gathered in Washington, DC, New York, and elsewhere across the US, to celebrate the candidate’s projected victory.
More from outside the White House pic.twitter.com/J3tYAuqo2I
— Alan Fisher (@AlanFisher) November 7, 2020