Biden plans for office as Trump refuses to concede: Live updates

The Biden team has started a transition website and Twitter account, and is set to appoint a coronavirus working group.

Democratic 2020 US presidential nominee Joe Biden takes the stage at his election rally, after the news media announced that Biden has won the 2020 US presidential election over President Donald Trump, in Wilmington, Delaware [Jim Bourg/Reuters]
  • US president-elect, Joe Biden, has called for unity while saying he will help the US become a ‘nation healed’.
  • Biden, a former vice president under Barack Obama, passed the 270 electoral vote threshold needed for victory on Saturday, with the states of Pennsylvania and Nevada breaking in his favour.
  • President Donald Trump has not yet conceded. He and his allies have pushed unfounded claims of voting fraud and say they will continue to challenge results in several states.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is Linah Alsaafin taking over from Joseph Stepansky.

Germany to stand ‘side by side’ with US on global problems: Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has welcomed Joe Biden’s US presidential win [File: Tobias Schwarz/Reuters]

Germany will “stand together” with the US to overcome global challenges from the coronavirus pandemic to global warming, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

In a statement that was markedly warm compared to her remarks four years ago when Donald Trump took the White House, Merkel underlined the “friendship of both countries that has stood the test of time”.

She pointed to President-Elect Joe Biden’s “decades of experience in foreign policy” and recalls “good encounters and talks with him”.

Merkel also said Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris – “as the first woman in this office and as a child of two immigrants” -was an “inspiration” for many.

Trump faces calls to work with Biden team on transition

President Donald Trump is facing pressure to cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden’s team to ensure a smooth transfer of power when the new administration takes office in January.

The General Services Administration is tasked with formally recognising Biden as president-elect, which begins the transition. But the agency’s Trump-appointed administrator, Emily Murphy, has not started the process and has given no guidance on when she will do so.

The advisory board of the nonpartisan Center for Presidential Transition also urged the Trump administration to “immediately begin the post-election transition process and the Biden team to take full advantage of the resources available under the Presidential Transition Act.”

Estonian minister resigns over Biden ‘dirtbag’ remarks

Estonia’s far-right Interior Minister Mart Helme resigned after his comments about the US election calling Joe Biden a “dirtbag” sparked outrage from government colleagues.

Mart Helme said the “deep state” had helped Biden win and called him a “corrupt dirtbag” on his Sunday radio show, without giving any evidence for his assertions.

Helme told reporters he was stepping down to preserve the governing coalition but added: “You can’t muzzle me, no one can muzzle me.”

Germany has ‘great expectations’ from Biden

Germany’s economy minister said there were “great expectations” that there would be “a return to multilateral approaches to international trade” after Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States.

“We want to return to an active transatlantic trade agenda as soon as possible, and gradually,” said Peter Altmaier.

Putin awaiting official US result to congratulate winner: Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin is waiting for official results from the US presidential election before congratulating a winner, the Kremlin said.

“We consider it correct to wait for the official results to be finalised. I want to remind you that President Putin repeatedly said he will respect the choice of the American people,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Peskov added that Putin had repeatedly said he was ready to work with any US leader and that Russia hoped it could establish dialogue with the new US administration to find a way to normalise relations.

China declines to formally recognise Biden victory yet

Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks to reporters via video link at a news conference held on the sidelines of the National People''s Congress (NPC),
Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi  [File: China Daily via Reuters]

China joins Russia, Brazil and Mexico in declining to recognise Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election.

“I noticed that Mr Biden has declared victory of the election. We understand that the presidential election result will be determined following the US laws and procedures,” said Wang Wenbin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

After declining to acknowledge Biden’s victory despite repeated questions from reporters, Wang said: “We hope the new US government can meet China halfway.”

Mexico foreign minister says ‘huge potential’ for US ties

Mexican FM Ebrard
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard speaks during a news conference at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C. [File: Susan Walsh/AP Photo]

Mexico’s foreign minister said there was “huge potential” for US ties, a day after the Mexican leader said it was too soon to congratulate president-elect Joe Biden.

“From what I heard from Joe Biden’s speech, it is clear that there is going to be a cooperation policy at a global level and with Mexico,” Marcelo Ebrard told El Universo newspaper.

“What we see coming is a step with a huge potential,” he added.

President Lopez Obrador has managed to maintain cordial relations with Trump – visiting him in July – despite the US leader’s remarks when he branded Mexican migrants “rapists” and drug dealers during his 2016 election campaign.

Equities rally after Biden is declared winner of US vote

Stocks, oil and high-yielding currencies rallied Monday after Joe Biden was declared winner of the US election, as traders are hoping lawmakers will now focus on passing a new stimulus for the world’s biggest economy.

Observers said the focus will now be on Biden’s economic and foreign policy approach, with optimism for a less tumultuous leadership following four years of the bombastic real estate tycoon Donald Trump.

“Mr Biden is perceived in Asia as being likely to reengage in international trade, a positive for Asia,” said OANDA’s Jeffrey Halley.

Traders are now looking to Capitol Hill hoping for a fresh rescue package for the economy after lawmakers failed to hammer out anything despite months of haggling, though any new plan will not likely be as big as what would be expected from a Democrat-led Congress.

Trump’s election night party adds to virus scrutiny

The Trump campaign’s election night watch party in the White House East Room has become another symbol of President Donald Trump’s cavalier attitude toward a virus that is ripping across the nation and infecting more than 100,000 people a day.

The White House has been increasingly secretive about outbreaks. Many White House and campaign officials, as well as those who attended the election watch party, were kept in the dark about the diagnoses, unaware until they were disclosed by the press.

“The administration was cavalier about the risks of the virus for themselves and for the country. And that’s one reason why we have so many cases,” said Dr Joshua Sharfstein, a public health professor at Johns Hopkins University’s school of public health.

Reports: Trump’s inner circle urges him to move on

Donald Trump’s inner circle is divided over his refutation of the results showing Joe Biden won the 2020 election with his wife Melania  and son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly urging him to concede and move on.

Kushner has approached him to concede, two sources told CNN. The first lady, according to another source, has told Trump it is time to accept the election defeat.

However, after the report emerged, Melania Trump later tweeted: “The American people deserve fair elections. Every legal – not illegal – vote should be counted. We must protect our democracy with complete transparency.”

‘Abolish the electoral college’, says Bernie Sanders

Former White House officials call for ‘post-election transition process’

A bipartisan group of administration officials from the Obama, George W Bush, and Clinton administrations called on the Trump administration to move forward “to immediately begin the post-election transition process”.

“This was a hard-fought campaign, but history is replete with examples of presidents who emerged from such campaigns to graciously assist their successors,” members of the Center for Presidential Transition advisory board said in a statement.

The statement was signed by Bush Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt as well as Clinton-era Chief of Staff Thomas “Mack” McLarty and Obama Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

Trump appointee ‘refusing to give Biden transition resources’

The administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) is refusing to sign a letter allowing President-elect Biden’s transition team to formally begin its work this week, according to the Washington Post.

Emily Murphy’s job during the transition includes signing “paperwork officially turning over millions of dollars, as well as giving access to government officials, office space and equipment authorized for the taxpayer-funded transition teams of the winner”, the Post noted, adding that stalling on her part could delay the transition of power.

“An ascertainment has not yet been made,” a spokeswoman for GSA told the Post, “and its Administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law.”

Trump aide tweets, deletes fake ‘President Gore’ image

The spokesman for the Trump campaign tweeted an image purporting to be of a 2000 issue of the Washington Times, proclaiming Al Gore, and not George W Bush, to be the winner of that year’s contested presidential election.

“Greeting staff at @TeamTrump HQ this morning, a reminder that the media doesn’t select the President,” Tim Murtaugh wrote.

The conservative Washington Times debunked Murtaugh: “Those photos have been doctored. The Washington Times never ran a ‘President Gore’ headline,” the newspaper replied on Twitter. Murtaugh deleted the tweet shortly thereafter.

Changing of the guard in the US creates jitters in Taiwan

People in Taiwan are wondering how the Biden presidency might affect the US’s warming relationship with the self-ruled island.

As Al Jazeera’s Erin Hale reports, most analysts believe ties will remain strong because it is not only the administration of outgoing President Trump that favours a tougher line on China, the view is shared across the aisle in Congress and among the US public.

“The US-Taiwan relationship will likely remain strong primarily because Washington’s interests converge with Taipei’s interests,” said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Want to know more? Click here.

Taiwan has recorded an increasing number of intrusions by the Chinese military this year including this H-6 bomber which it says was flying near the Taiwan air defence identification zone in September [Taiwan Ministry of National Defence via AP Photo]

Japan’s Suga says wants to work with Biden to strengthen alliance

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says he wants to work with Biden to strengthen the Japan-US alliance and secure peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

Speaking to reporters, Suga also said nothing had been decided on the timing of phone talks with Biden or a visit to the US, but that he wanted to arrange them at the right time.

Maduro hopes for ‘decent’ dialogue after Biden win

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro says he hopes to resume a “decent, sincere” dialogue with the US, following Biden’s win.

The target of US sanctions aiming to force him from power, Maduro broke off diplomatic relations with Washington in January 2019, after Trump’s administration – along with some 60 countries – recognised rival Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.

Guaido, who declared himself the Latin American country’s interim leader, also congratulated Biden.

Venezuela’s President Maduro walks says he hopes for ‘decent, sincere’ dialogue with the US under Biden [File: Miraflores Palace/Handout via Reuters]

Stacey Abrams says Democrats will pour resources into key Georgia Senate runoffs

Georgia Democratic activist Stacey Abrams said on Sunday that her party would pour unprecedented resources into two runoff Senate races in the traditionally Republican-leaning state that will likely determine control of the chamber.

Abrams, who narrowly lost a race for governor in 2018, has been credited with boosting Democratic hopes in the state, where President-elect Joe Biden is currently leading by around 10,000 votes with the race there yet to be called.

Democratic candidates businessman Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock face uphill battles in their January 5 runoff elections against incumbent Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, respectively.

Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams is largely credited with driving up Democratic support in the 2020 presidential election [Robert F Bukaty/The Associated Press]

Iran’s Zarif calls on neighbours to cooperate following Trump’s defeat

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on Iran’s neighbours to cooperate in achieving common interests, following Trump’s defeat.

“Trump is gone, and we and our neighbours will stay. Betting on foreigners does not bring security, and disappoints. We extend our hands to our neighbours to cooperate in achieving the common interests of our peoples and countries,” Zarif Tweeted in Arabic late on Sunday.

“We call on everyone to embrace dialogue as the only way to end differences and tensions. Together to build a better future for our region.”

Trump will lose special Twitter protections in January

Trump will be subject to the same Twitter rules as any other user when Biden takes office on January 20, the social media company has said.

Instead of removing them, Twitter places “public interest” notices on some rule-breaking tweets from “world leaders”, hiding them behind a warning and taking actions to restrict their reach. But the company said this treatment does not apply to former officeholders.

“This policy framework applies to current world leaders and candidates for office, and not private citizens when they no longer hold these positions,” a Twitter spokesman said in a statement to Reuters news agency.

EDITORS’ NOTE: OBSCENITY – People gather on Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House where a metal security fence was covered in protest signs, on November 8, 2020, the morning after incumbent President Trump was defeated by his Democratic challenger, President-elect Biden [J Scott Applewhite/AP Photo]

Former Obama officials Morell, Haines likely candidates for Biden spy jobs: Report

Two former senior US intelligence officials – Michael Morell and Avril Haines – have emerged as leading contenders to serve as director of national intelligence or run the CIA in President-elect Biden’s administration, current and former intelligence officials told Reuters news agency.

Morell served as the CIA’s deputy director in the Obama administration between 2010 and 2013, serving two stints as acting director during that time. Haines served as CIA deputy director and as Obama’s deputy national security adviser.

Other names being discussed by both Democratic Party and intelligence officials include Mike Rogers, a former Republican representative in Congress who chaired the House Intelligence Committee, and Michael Leiter, a former official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, a branch of the DNI, the sources told the news agency.

Republican former President George Bush congratulates Biden

Former US President George W Bush has offered his “warm congratulations” to President-elect Biden, calling the Democrat “a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country”.

The two-term Republican, in a statement issued by the Bush Center in Dallas, also congratulated Biden’s opponent Donald Trump for his “extraordinary political achievement” in winning 70 million votes.

Bush’s statement made him one of the country’s most prominent Republicans to acknowledge Biden’s victory and offer him congratulations.

Battle for US Senate control awaits in Georgia after Biden win

Control of the US Senate appears likely to hinge on two heated contests in the state of Georgia, where election runoffs are scheduled for January 5.

The result would also determine how much a Biden presidency would be able to achieve with a Senate tally so far of 48 Republicans and 46 Democrats – plus two Democrat-aligned Independents. North Carolina and Alaska are still too early to call.

Georgia is closely divided, with Democrats gaining on Republicans in the 2020 elections, fuelled by a surge of new voters, but no Georgian Democrat has been elected in some 20 years. As much as $500m could be spent on the two races, one strategist said.

Read more here.

Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are both heading to runoff elections in January [Brynn Anderson/The Associated Press]

Biden launches transition website, Twitter

President-elect Biden has launched a transition website and Twitter account as he prepares to take on office on January 20.

“The work ahead in the next 73 days will be the foundation for an administration that puts the health, safety, and character of our communities first,” the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Twitter account said on Sunday in its first post.


Biden heads to church, Trump golfs

Biden spent the morning after becoming president-elect attending church before visiting his son Beau’s grave, as he has started most Sundays throughout the campaign.

Trump, meanwhile, returned to his golf course in Virginia, where he was on Saturday when news organisations first projected Biden’s victory.

Demonstrators gathered outside the golf club, holding signs that said “Orange Crushed” and “Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall”.

President Trump plays golf at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia on Sunday [Steve Helber/The Associated Press]

Biden plans to appoint co-chairs to coronavirus working group

Biden, who says responding to the coronavirus would be his administration’s first priority, is planning to name former Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy and former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr David Kessler as co-chairs of the coronavirus working group he is launching this week.

Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield made the announcement during the NBC programme Meet the Press on Sunday.

Murthy and Kessler are part of a group of experts and doctors who have briefed Biden on the pandemic for months. Murthy served as surgeon general during President Obama’s second term, and Kessler was FDA commissioner in the 1990s and now serves as board chair at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Trump allies Giuliani, Graham say it would be ‘wrong for Trump to concede’

Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Senator Lindsey Graham have said Trump should not concede as his campaign launches lawsuits challenging results in key battleground states.

To date, the Trump campaign has not produced any evidence of widespread fraud, and state election officials from both parties say they have not encountered major malfeasance in the election.

Giuliani, who announced on Saturday that several lawsuits would be filed on Monday, told Fox News “[conceding] would be wrong for [Trump] at this point” while suggesting he had a chance of overturning results in several states.

Graham, who on Saturday called on the Department of Justice to investigate fraud claims, said: “Do not concede, Mr President. Fight hard,” on Fox News.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, personal lawyer to President Trump, said a raft of legal challenges to vote counts would be filed on Monday [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]

In Pictures: Indians celebrate Kamala Harris’s US election win

Waking up to the news that Kamala Harris had won the race to be the next US vice president, overjoyed people in her Indian grandfather’s hometown set off firecrackers and offered prayers.

Groups gathered at street corners of the tiny village of Thulasendrapuram, population 350, reading newspapers and chatting about the Democrats’ victory before moving to the Hindu temple.

View the full photo gallery here.

A placard featuring Kamala Harris next to portraits of Vandayar family ancestors in Painganadu, a village near Thulasendrapuram, south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, on Friday, November 6, 2020. Thulasendrapuram is the hometown of Harris’s maternal grandfather, who left there decades ago [Aijaz Rahi/AP]

Joe Biden ‘no saviour’ of the Palestinians

In October 1973, newly elected Delaware Senator Joe Biden visited Israel on his first official overseas trip and met then-Prime Minister Golda Meir.

The 30-year-old was visibly moved as Meir explained what she said was Israel’s dangerous situation surrounded by “enemy states”, but cheered up when she revealed what she said was Israel’s secret weapon: The Israelis have nowhere else to go.

Read more here.

Biden Bibi Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President-elect Joe Biden have a personal friendship that goes back more than three decades [File: Debbie Hill/Pool/Reuters]

US is our closest and most important ally: UK’s Johnson

The US is our closest and most important ally, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, adding that London and Washington could do something on trade.

“But on the trade deal with the US, I’m a keen student of the United States’ trade policy and they’re tough negotiators,” he told reporters.

“I think there’s a good chance we’ll do something.”

How will a Biden presidency affect NATO and Brexit?

With Biden winning the US presidency, many in Europe are hopeful that a shift in US foreign policy awaits.

Biden has pledged to immediately rejoin several initiatives Trump dumped, including the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Iran nuclear deal, if Tehran also complies. He also promised to reverse the US withdrawal from the World Health Organization.

Read more here.

‘No greater ally’: UK minister predicts close ties with Biden

Biden will have no closer ally or more dependable friend than the UK, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said, expressing confidence the two countries’ “special relationship” would endure.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was once fondly dubbed “Britain’s Trump” by President Donald Trump, congratulated Biden on his victory on Saturday, saying he looked forward to “working closely together on our shared priorities”.


How will a Biden presidency affect Turkey?

Just a couple of weeks before President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a party rally of his own in southeast Turkey, delivering a defiant message to the US.

“You don’t know who you’re dealing with,” said Erdogan to his NATO ally. “Impose your sanctions… whatever they may be,” he added, referring to US threats over Turkey’s purchase of a controversial Russian missile system.

A senior Turkish government official told Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity: “People here are not overwhelmed with the prospect [of a Biden presidency].”

Read more here.

While President Trump may have alienated some on the world stage, his relations with Turkey have generally been good [Reuters]

Iran’s Rouhani says next US administration should make up for Trump’s mistakes

Iran’s president said the next US administration should use the opportunity to make up for Trump’s mistakes, Iranian state TV reported.

Tensions have spiked between the US and Iran since 2018, when Trump exited a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, and then reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

“Trump’s damaging policy has been opposed … by the American people. The next US administration should use the opportunity to make up for past mistakes,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying.

Palestinian president urges Biden to ‘strengthen’ Palestinian-US ties

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Biden to “strengthen” Palestinian-US relations, which have collapsed during Trump’s term in office.

In a statement congratulating Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Abbas urged the incoming administration “to strengthen the Palestinian-American relationship,” and to strive for the Middle East “peace, stability and security”.

Trump supporters protesting against vote count in Arizona

Outside the Maricopa County Elections Department, hundreds of Trump supporters rallied for a fourth consecutive day, insisting the Democratic Party had stolen the election.

The demonstrators took turns addressing the crowd and kneeling to pray for Trump. At times, they broke out in chants of “four more years” and “back the blue”.

Several wore hats reading “Make America Great Again”, while others had flags or T-shirts that referenced QAnon – the widespread conspiracy theory that Trump is waging a secret war on child sex traffickers.

Read more here.

Arizona’s secretary of state has dismissed allegations of ballots cast for Trump being thrown out because they were marked by a black felt-tip marker as a conspiracy theory [Patrick Strickland/Al Jazeera]


All the latest updates as Biden projected winner in 2020 presidential election

On Saturday, November 7, the Associated Press projected that Biden had passed the 270 Electoral vote margin needed to win the presidency. Biden currently has 290 electoral votes, according to the AP.

Hours later, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris made their first address to the country after passing the threshold, calling for unity and saying they would strive towards a “nation healed”.

Following our live updates from the day here.

From left, Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Harris, President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden on stage together in Wilmington, Delaware [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies