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November 7 highlights: Joe Biden becomes the president-elect

Joe Biden, will become the 46th president of the United States after beating Donald Trump. Biden and Kamala Harris delivered their acceptance speeches Saturday in Delaware.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from November 8, 2020

Joe Biden became president-elect Saturday after winning Pennsylvania, NBC News has projected.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump vowed Saturday to press forward with a legal fight, pushing unfounded claims of voter fraud in response to the news that came while he was at his Virginia golf club.

Check here for more on the presidential results.

Trump golfs as Biden named president-elect

Image: President Donald Trump plays a round of golf at Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, Va., on Saturday.
President Donald Trump plays a round of golf at Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, Va., on Saturday.Patrick Semansky / AP

Photos: Spontaneous celebrations as news spreads of Biden victory

Image: People react as media announce that Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in, Philadelphia
People in Philadelphia react as media announce that Joe Biden has won the presidential election.Rachel Wisniewski / Reuters
Image: People react as media announces that Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election in New York City
Biden supporters in New York's Central Park.Caitlin Ochs / Reuters
Image:
Outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.Rebecca Blackwell / AP

Biden's win sparks street celebrations around the country

The announcement that Democrat Joe Biden has won the presidential election sparked spontaneous street celebrations around the country on Saturday.

Within seconds of the race being called, a group at Black Lives Matter plaza outside the White House erupted in cheers.

Shouts of joy could also be heard around several New York City neighborhoods. In one video filmed in Washington Heights, cars honked their horns as pedestrians lining the sidewalks clapped and cheered.

Biden amassed 273 Electoral College votes after winning Pennsylvania’s 20 electors, according to NBC News, surpassing the 270 needed to defeat President Donald Trump. The victory ended one of the most tumultuous and longest campaigns in modern history.

Read the story.

The scene in Times Square

 

'We did it, Joe': Harris calls Biden

'History-making ticket': Hillary Clinton reacts to the Biden-Harris win

Nancy Pelosi responds to Biden's win

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi responded to the election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in a statement

“Today marks the dawning of a new day of hope for America. A record-shattering 75 million Americans cast their ballots to elect Joe Biden President of the United States – a historic victory that has handed Democrats a mandate for action," she said.

Pelosi highlighted Biden's plans to combat Covid-19 and the safe reopening of schools and businesses, followed by "mandates" to rebuild health care, infrastructure and "cleaner government." 

"President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris won with a strong margin, and they will have a strong Democratic House Majority by their side," she said. "Working together, we have the opportunity to deliver extraordinary progress For The People."

Doug Emhoff tweets on Harris

Harris makes history as first female, Black, South Asian American VP-elect

Image: Kamala Harris accepts the Democratic nomination for Vice President in Wilmington, Del., on Aug. 19, 2020.
Kamala Harris accepts the Democratic nomination for Vice President in Wilmington, Del., on Aug. 19, 2020.Erin Schaff / NYT via Redux file

With Joe Biden now projected to win the presidency, his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, also solidified her place in history Saturday by becoming the first woman, the first Black American and the first South Asian American elected vice president in U.S. history.

Harris’ political career has included many barrier-breaking moments, such as serving as the elected attorney general of California and being the second Black woman in history to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

Harris, 56, the only Black woman currently in the Senate, was elected in 2016 after serving as California’s attorney general and, before that, as the San Francisco district attorney. The child of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, the native of Oakland, California, has said she was inspired to attend law school after attending civil rights protests with her parents.

"This election is about so much more than @JoeBiden or me," Harris tweeted Saturday after NBC News projected her victory. "It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started."

Read the story.

Photos: Philadelphia reacts to announcement of Biden winning election

Image: Joe Biden reaction
People celebrate in Philadelphia, after Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become 46th president of the United States, on Nov. 7, 2020.Rebecca Blackwell / AP
Image: Joe Biden reaction
People celebrate outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center after Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become 46th president of the United States, on Nov. 7, 2020, in Philadelphia.Rebecca Blackwell / AP
Image: Joe Biden
People celebrate after Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become 46th president of the United States, on Nov. 7, 2020, in Philadelphia.Rebecca Blackwell / AP

Trump responds to projection of Biden's win

President Donald Trump reacted to news that Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election by vowing to continue to fight. 

"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 said in a statement. "The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots. This is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election." 

Trump blamed news outlets for declaring Biden the victor and repeated unfounded claims that rampant voter fraud occurred. 

"We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed," Trump said in a statement. "The simple fact is this election is far from over. 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. In Pennsylvania, for example, our legal observers were not permitted meaningful access to watch the counting process.  Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media."

 

Biden and Harris tweet their thanks to the country

 

NBC News Exit Poll: How Biden rebuilt the Democrats' 'blue wall'

If 2018 was the year of the suburban woman, 2020 was the year of the white man. This latter group was a major factor in Joe Biden’s ability to rebuild the so-called Democratic blue wall and win the White House.

Biden may not have won the majority of white men, but he significantly improved on Hillary Clinton’s performance with this group. The NBC News Exit Poll of early and Election Day voters found this was a significant component in his ability to flip key battleground states back into the Democratic column.

Donald Trump won 58 percent of the white male vote, but Biden’s 40 percent showing shrunk the president’s margin with the group from 31 points in 2016 to 18 points in 2020. This was especially important in the blue wall states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where white men made up between 38 and 41 percent of the total electorate — a higher share than the nation as a whole (32 percent).

Biden’s strong showing with white men, combined with the backing of more than 7 in 10 voters of color, helped propel him to victory. 

Another reason why Biden won the popular vote is because most voters like him. Just over half (52 percent) said they have a favorable opinion of him, which is better than Clinton’s 43 percent favorable rating in 2016. By contrast, less than half (45 percent) of 2020 voters had a favorable opinion of Trump, although this is an improvement from four years ago (38 percent). 

A key element in Trump’s 2016 victory was the fact that he won over voters who held unfavorable views of both candidates. He repeated that feat this year, but with one crucial difference: Far fewer voters this time around disliked both candidates — just 4 percent, compared with 18 percent who felt that way four years ago.

Other factors in Biden’s success are that he won:

  • independent voters (54 percent to 40 percent), a group Trump carried by 4 points in 2016
  • voters under age 30 (62 percent to 35 percent)
  • those who said the recent rise in Covid-19 cases was the most important factor in their vote (61 percent to 38 percent)
  • those who believe climate change is a serious problem (68 percent to 29 percent)
  • those who believe racism is the nation’s most important problem (87 percent to 11 percent)
  • those who are dissatisfied or angry with the federal government (70 percent to 28 percent)

BIDEN DEFEATS TRUMP TO WIN THE WHITE HOUSE, NBC NEWS PROJECTS

Joe Biden became president-elect Saturday after winning Pennsylvania and its 20 Electoral College votes.

He had focused his campaign aggressively on President Donald Trump’s widely criticized handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which was seen by many voters as the most important issue facing the country. The results came on the fourth day of ballot counting after Election Day.

Biden will become the 46th president on Jan. 20.

Incendiary texts traced to outfit run by top Trump aide

A texting company run by one of President Donald Trump’s top campaign officials sent out thousands of targeted, anonymous text messages urging supporters to rally where votes were being counted in Philadelphia on Thursday, falsely claiming Democrats were trying to steal the presidential election.

The messages directed Trump fans to converge at a downtown intersection where hundreds of protesters from the opposing candidates’ camps faced off Thursday afternoon. Pennsylvania is a crucial battleground state where former Vice President Joe Biden's jumped ahead Friday and in a televised address later predicted a victory that would give him the presidency.

“This kind of message is playing with fire, and we are very lucky that it does not seem to have driven more conflict,” said John Scott-Railton, senior researcher at the University of Toronto’s online watchdog Citizen Lab. Scott-Railton helped track down the source.

The texts were sent using phone numbers leased to the text-messaging platform Opn Sesame, said two people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition they not be further identified. The company’s CEO is Gary Coby, the Trump campaign’s digital director. It provides text-messaging services to GOP clients including the Republican National Committee.

“ALERT: Radical Liberals & Dems are trying to steal this election from Trump! We need YOU!” the text said, directing recipients to “show your support” on a street corner near the Philadelphia Convention Center where votes were being counted and tensions were running high.

A top Trump campaign official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the message did not come from the campaign. Because Opn Sesame is used by multiple customers, none of whom the company would identify, it could not be determined exactly who sent the message. Coby declined to comment.

Click here for the full story.

Fact check: Trump claims tractors, cardboard as signs of fraud

The president continued to make baseless allegations of voter fraud and illegal voting Saturday morning, complaining in particular that “tractors blocked doors & windows were covered with thick cardboard so that observers could not see into the count rooms.”

There are no news reports of a polling site being affected by farm equipment, though Newt Gingrich made a similar claim on Fox News yesterday. None of the more than 165,000 general election reports made to the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline mentioned a tractor, either; NBC News reviewed those reports in partnership with ProPublica’s Electionland.

As for the windows and the cardboard — that did happen, but not the way Trump says it did. At a polling site in Detroit, there were hundreds of challengers and observers from both parties inside the poll counting rooms, but when protesters began filming poll workers and challengers from the outside, The Detroit News reported poll workers put up cardboard on the windows to keep protesters from filming them. Only the media is allowed to film inside ballot-count rooms.

The Trump campaign sued over a lack of “meaningful access” to observe the ballot counting, but the lawsuit was tossed lacking evidence of wrongdoing or a lack of access. The suit, the court said, was moot because the counting was done.

Biden widens margin in Georgia, Pennsylvania as final votes tabulated

Image: Georgia Election Officials Continue Ballot Counting
Gwinnett County election workers look over absentee and provisional ballots at the Gwinnett Voter Registrations and Elections office on Nov. 6, 2020, in Lawrenceville, Ga.Jessica McGowan / Getty Images

Joe Biden's vote margin over President Donald Trump continued on Saturday to widen in several key battleground states, where the final votes were being tabulated.

While no winner has been projected, Biden entered Saturday with higher vote totals in four key states: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania. But all four remained rated by NBC News Decision Desk as too close to call.

A call in both Nevada and Arizona in Biden's favor would put him right at the 270 electoral votes needed to win, while a victory in Pennsylvania alone would give him 273 electoral votes.

As Americans watched as the vote count entered the fourth day, Democrats have tried to project optimism.

“We don’t have a final declaration, a victory yet. But the numbers tell us a clear and convincing story,” Biden said in a brief speech Friday night. “We’re going to win this race.”

Read the story.

'My ideals are driven by my faith': Raphael Warnock on his Senate runoff race

Image: Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock holds Election Night event in Atlanta
Democratic Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock speaks during an Election Night event in Atlanta on Nov. 3, 2020.Jessica McGowan / Pool via Reuters

From the pulpit of one of the most storied churches in America, the Rev. Raphael Warnock has blended his fiery sermons of faith and love with urgent social messages of fairness and democracy for the last 15 years.

Many members of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta — the church of Martin Luther King Jr. — wondered from early on, whether Warnock, the church’s senior pastor, had political aspirations.

He confirmed those longstanding impressions by running for Senate in Georgia, and finds himself one runoff victory away from taking his influential voice to Washington, D.C.

“I have been preaching in this campaign the same message I have been preaching for years,” Warnock, 51, told NBC News. “I’ve been trying to point us toward the highest ideals in our humanity and in the covenant we have with one another as American people — that all of us deserve an opportunity to create a prosperous life for us and our families.”

Read the story.

Trump's election falsehoods 'put a smile' on the faces of dictators, observers warn

LONDON — Accusations of vote-rigging, protests at counting centers and false declarations of victory from an embattled incumbent.

President Donald Trump's baseless claims in the wake of the election are a gift to the world's dictators and undermine American efforts to call out antidemocratic behavior abroad, experts have warned.

Since the election, Trump has launched a rhetorical assault on the basic tenets of American democracy.

He urged officials to stop counting votes when his lead in several battleground states began to narrow; he alleged widespread voter fraud without evidence and wrongly labeled mail-in ballots illegal; and he repeatedly accused the Democrats of trying to "steal" the election.

Even after a first term in which the president has repeatedly undermined democratic values, his comments this week have caused a whole new level of alarm. This only increased when his supporters, some of them armed, began crowding polling centers during knife-edge counts in Arizona and Michigan.

Read the full story here.

Image: Supporters of President Donald Trump bang on the glass and chant slogans outside the room where absentee ballots for the 2020 general election are being counted at TCF Center
Supporters of President Donald Trump bang on the glass and chant slogans outside the room where absentee ballots for the 2020 general election are being counted in Detroit on Wednesday.Jeff Kowalsky / AFP - Getty Images

Biden predicts win, calls for unity, as presidential race still undecided

WILMINGTON, Del. — Joe Biden on Friday night once again predicted victory in the 2020 race, calling for unity after the final results come in and claiming that the vote that had so far been counted proved that the nation had given him a “mandate for action” on issues like combatting the pandemic.

“We don’t have a final declaration, a victory yet. But the numbers tell us a clear and convincing story,” Biden said in a brief speech from his campaign headquarters. “We’re going to win this race.”

According to NBC News, Biden has received 253 Electoral College votes, compared to 214 for President Donald Trump. The battleground states of PennsylvaniaArizonaGeorgiaNevada, and North Carolina remain too close to call, according to NBC News.

 

Citing the fact that he’d already received more than 74.3 million votes — the most ever by any presidential candidate — Biden said he was “going to win this race with a clear majority, with the nation behind us.”

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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tests positive for Covid-19

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tested positive for Covid-19, a source familiar with the diagnosis told NBC News on Friday.

The news comes as the U.S. has recorded for the third day in a row of more than 100,000 new cases, breaking previous records.

Meadows, 61, was among those in attendance Wednesday morning hours after the polls closed for an election night party at the White House, where Trump falsely claimed that he had won the presidential election as millions of votes had yet to be counted and several battleground states were not called.

Click here for the full story. 

What are 'provisional ballots' and why it takes time to count them

Provisional ballots — used by voters if there's a question about their eligibility when they show up at the polls — are slowing the count of the presidential election three days after polls closed. And there could be enough provisional ballots to affect the race in some key states.

Such ballots are used only when a voter has an issue that needs to be resolved before their vote can be counted, so they take longer to process than regular ballots and can be subject to legal action and challenges.

They are a fallback when a voter can't immediately prove they're eligible to vote when they show up at the polls or their information doesn't match what's listed on voter rolls.

Click here for the full story. 

Supreme Court Justice Alito weighs in on Pennsylvania mail-in ballot case

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito late Friday granted part of a request from Pennsylvania state Republicans, who wanted an order regarding mail ballots that came in during the extended deadline.

He ordered county election officials to comply with a previous directive issued by the secretary of state to keep separate the mail ballots that arrived after Election Day but before Friday at 5 p.m. But he did not order the state to stop counting them.

He also ordered the state to file a response to the Republican request by 2 p.m. Saturday.

The state GOP told the court midday Friday that even though the secretary of state directed counties to separate out the ballots that arrived after Election Day but before Friday at 5 p.m., it was unclear whether all the counties were obeying that directive. 

"The vote in Pennsylvania may well determine the next President of the United States, and it is currently unclear whether all 67 county boards of elections are segregating late-arriving ballots," they told the justices.

They asked the Supreme Court to order the secretary to repeat her directive to keep the late ballots separate — and this time to add that they should not even be counted. Otherwise, the Republicans said, it might not be possible to remove those ballots from the count if the party later prevails on its argument that the deadline extension was illegal.