ג'ו ביידן
Joe Biden calling for calm and to let electoral process run its course, in an address from Wilmington on Thursday
Photo: AFP
Joe Biden calling for calm and to let electoral process run its course, in an address from Wilmington on Thursday

Biden close to U.S. election victory as a defiant Trump vows to fight

Former VP in stronger position to capture 270 Electoral College votes needed to take White House, due to make prime time address to nation; president vows to press unfounded claims of fraud as nation waits for clarity on outcome

Associated Press, Reuters |
Updated: 11.06.20 , 23:26
Democrat Joe Biden was on the cusp of winning the presidency on Friday as he opened up narrow leads over President Donald Trump in the critical battlegrounds of Georgia and Pennsylvania.
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  • Those put Biden in a stronger position to capture the 270 Electoral College votes needed to take the White House and the former vice president was due to address the nation from his Wilmington home at prime time on Friday.
    ג'ו ביידן ג'ו ביידן
    Joe Biden calling for calm and to let electoral process run its course, in an address from Wilmington on Thursday
    (Photo: AFP)
    Trump remained defiant Friday, vowing to press unfounded claims of fraud as a weary, anxious nation waited for clarity in an election that only intensified the country's deep polarization.
    On the fourth day of vote counting, Biden had a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner, according to Edison Research.
    The winner will lead a country facing a historic set of challenges, including a surging pandemic and deep political polarization.
    The focus on Pennsylvania, where Biden led Trump by more than 14,000 votes, and Georgia, where Biden led by more than 1,500, came as Americans entered a third full day after the election without knowing who will lead them for the next four years.
    The prolonged process added to the anxiety of a nation whose racial and cultural divides were inflamed during the heated campaign.
    With his pathway to reelection appearing to greatly narrow, Trump was testing how far he could go in using the trappings of presidential power to undermine confidence in the vote.
    דונלד טראמפדונלד טראמפ
    Donald Trump speaks from the Brady Briefing Room at the White House, Nov. 5, 2020
    (Photo: Reuters)
    On Thursday, he advanced unsupported accusations of voter fraud to falsely argue that his rival was trying to seize power in an extraordinary effort by a sitting American president to sow doubt about the democratic process.
    "This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election," Trump said from the podium of the White House briefing room.
    Biden spent Thursday trying to ease tensions and project a more traditional image of presidential leadership. After participating in a coronavirus briefing, he declared that "each ballot must be counted."
    "I ask everyone to stay calm. The process is working," Biden said. "It is the will of the voters. No one, not anyone else who chooses the president of the United States of America."
    Trump showed no sign of giving up and was was back on Twitter around 2:30 am Friday, insisting the "U.S. Supreme Court should decide!"
    הפגנה נגד טראמפ בדטרויטהפגנה נגד טראמפ בדטרויט
    A Biden supporter in Detroit. Nov. 5, 2020
    (Photo: AP)
    Trump's baseless claims about the integrity of the election challenged Republicans now faced with the choice of whether to break with a president who, though his grip on his office grew tenuous, commanded sky-high approval ratings from rank-and-file members of the GOP.
    That was especially true for those who are eyeing presidential runs of their own in 2024.
    Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, a potential presidential hopeful who has often criticized Trump, said unequivocally: "There is no defense for the President's comments tonight undermining our Democratic process. America is counting the votes, and we must respect the results as we always have before."
    But others who are rumored to be considering a White House run of their own in four years aligned themselves with the incumbent, including Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who tweeted support for Trump's claims, writing that "If last 24 hours have made anything clear, it's that we need new election integrity laws NOW."
    Trump's campaign engaged in a flurry of legal activity to try to improve the Republican president's chances, saying it would seek a recount in Wisconsin and file lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia.
    Judges in Georgia and Michigan quickly dismissed Trump campaign lawsuits there on Thursday.
    In Pennsylvania, officials were not allowed to process mail-in ballots until Election Day under state law. It's a form of voting that has skewed heavily in Biden's favor in the later stages of the count after Trump spent months claiming without proof that voting by mail would lead to widespread voter fraud.
    Mail ballots from across the state were overwhelmingly breaking in Biden's direction. A final vote total may not be clear for days because the use of mail-in ballots, which take more time to process, has surged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
    The Trump campaign said it was confident the president would ultimately pull out a victory in Arizona, where votes were also still being counted, including in Maricopa County, the state's most populous area. The AP has declared Biden the winner in Arizona and said Thursday that it was monitoring the vote count as it proceeded.
    תומכי טראמפ מחוץ למרכז ספירת קולות ב מחוז מריקופה ב אריזונה בחירת ארה"בתומכי טראמפ מחוץ למרכז ספירת קולות ב מחוז מריקופה ב אריזונה בחירת ארה"ב
    A trump supporter outside a vote counting office in Arizona, Nov. 5, 2020
    (Photo; Reuters)
    Trump's campaign was lodging legal challenges in several states, though he faced long odds. He would have to win multiple suits in multiple states in order to stop vote counts, since more than one state was undeclared.
    Some of the Trump team's lawsuits only demand better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted.
    A judge in Georgia dismissed the campaign's suit there less than 12 hours after it was filed. And a Michigan judge dismissed a Trump lawsuit over whether enough GOP challengers had access to handling of absentee ballots
    Biden attorney Bob Bauer said the suits were legally "meritless." Their only purpose, he said "is to create an opportunity for them to message falsely about what's taking place in the electoral process."

    First published: 19:00 , 11.06.20
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