United States President Donald Trump remained defiant on Saturday, rejecting the projected electoral victory of his Democratic challenger Joe Biden and vowing that “the election is far from over”.
The Associated Press news agency said Biden is projected to have secured 290 Electoral College votes to surpass the threshold needed to win the White House, after projected wins in Pennsylvania and Nevada.
In a statement just after the announcement, Trump accused Biden of “rushing to falsely pose as the winner” of the hard-fought election, which saw record turnout and was one of the most divisive in recent memory.
“The simple fact is this election is far from over,” Trump said.
“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.”
Since Election Day, Trump has falsely claimed on more than one occasion that he won the election, despite ballot-counting continuing in several key states, including Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona.
He has also repeatedly made baseless claims about widespread voter fraud – an allegation that has been rejected by election officials as well as legal experts.
The Republican leader’s campaign has filed lawsuits in several states. Some of those cases have already been rejected by the courts, but Trump’s statement said the litigation would continue on Monday.
“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated,” he said.
Meanwhile, Biden on Saturday said he was “honored and humbled” to be declared the projected winner of the race.
“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect [Kamala] Harris,” the former US vice president said in a statement.
He also repeated a call he has made throughout the week for unity and healing. “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.
If AP’s projection of a Biden victory is certified, this would be only the fourth time in the country’s history that an incumbent president is defeated by a challenger.
Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, on Saturday ridiculed the projection of Biden as president-elect.
“Who’s saying it?” Giuliani asked a group of reporters, who had gathered just outside of Philadelphia for an announcement about Trump campaign litigation efforts. When he was told that US television networks made the call, Giuliani shouted: “All the networks! All the networks!”
“Don’t be ridiculous, networks don’t get to decide elections. Courts do,” he said.
Earlier in the week, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien also promised to “keep fighting for this election because that is what the American people deserve”.