Joe Biden addresses his supporters at the Chase Centre in Wilmington, Delaware. Angela Weiss/ AFP
Gulf Today Report
Democrat Joe Biden has appealed to all Americans to turn the page on divisions as he was going to win the US presidency as his lead grew over President Donald Trump in battleground states.
Biden repeated that he believed he would win but said he would wait for the process to complete, although television networks held off from declaring him the victor as officials continued to count votes.
"We must put the anger — and the demonisation — behind us. It's time for us to come together as a nation and heal," Biden said in his home city of Wilmington, Delaware accompanied by his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris.
"The numbers tell us ... it's a clear and convincing story: We're going to win this race," Biden said late on Friday, adding that he and his running mate Kamala were already meeting with experts as they prepare for the White House.
Biden spoke as US media began reporting that White House chief-of-staff Mark Meadows, 61, had contracted the virus — underscoring the criticism directed at the president for months over his administration’s handling of the crisis.
Meadows first tested positive on Wednesday, a day after the election, according to The New York Times.
Biden said he and Harris had already been meeting experts on how to control the “skyrocketing” cases of Covid-19, which has claimed more than 230,000 lives in the United States, more than in any other country.
“I want everyone to know that on Day One, we are going to put our plan to control this virus into action, Biden said.
“That can’t save any of the lives that have been lost, but it will save a lot of lives in the months ahead.”
Edging toward win
After Biden’s campaign said he would address the nation, speculation grew that he would make a formal declaration of victory but he appeared to be waiting for confirmation of an unassailable lead and said he would speak again Saturday.
Biden’s lead grew inexorably in Pennsylvania, which would hand him the keys to the White House if he secures its 20 votes in the Electoral College that determines presidential races.
By late Friday he had an advantage of almost 29,000 votes over Trump, although that was still within the narrow margin that would likely trigger a recount.
Biden was also ahead in Arizona and Georgia — two states that have not voted for Democrats in the 21st century — as well as Nevada, while Trump held a slim lead in North Carolina.
Georgia said it was ordering a recount due to the narrow margin and the southern state will also have runoff races in January for both its Senate seats, which will likely determine if Democrats wrest control of the upper chamber and give Biden a wider path to legislative victories.
Trump has several times prematurely named himself the winner, refusing to accept the data showing Biden headed for victory.
In his latest broadside, he warned on Twitter that “Joe Biden should not wrongfully claim the office of the President. I could make that claim also.”
Trump’s campaign has filed lawsuits around the country alleging fraud but made little headway, with no evidence produced to back up supposed ballot tampering or other significant incidents.Pennsylvania Republicans made a last-ditch pitch for emergency intervention by the US Supreme Court to halt vote counting in the state as late ballots went to Biden.
Justice Samuel Alito, considered a conservative, declined to order an immediate halt but said the full court would consider the challenge on Saturday.
He ordered Pennsylvania to keep late-arriving ballots separate, affirming a policy already put in place by state election authorities.
According to the police, they are investigating an alleged plot to attack the city’s Pennsylvania Convention Center, where votes from the hotly contested presidential election are being counted.
Trump has launched legal challenges in multiple states and claimed, without evidence, that he is the rightful winner of the election. His administration has refused to recognize Biden as the likely winner,
Harris, who would become America's first female and first black vice president if elected, is a "fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country's finest public servants," Biden, 77, said in revealing his running mate.
The vice president, a loyal lieutenant during the four years of Trump’s often chaotic presidency, has no plans to intervene and has told Trump he does not have the power to do so, even as he seeks to show support for the Republican president’s quest.
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