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Joe Biden declares victory in US election — live updates

November 8, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to heal divisions after what he called a "convincing victory" over Donald Trump. Biden said it was time to "make America respected around the world again." Follow DW for the latest.

US President-elect Joe Biden
Image: Andrew Harnik/AP Photo/picture alliance

DW NOTE: We are no longer updating this article. 

  • Biden has told the nation "it is time for America to unite"
  • Celebrations have erupted in cities across the country over Biden's election win 
  • The Trump campaign has said "the election is not over" and vows litigation starting Monday
  • Biden clinched victory after a win in Pennsylvania secured him more than 270 projected Electoral College votes
  • Germany says it wants to "invest in our cooperation for a new trans-Atlantic beginning"

Election results based on Associated Press data. All times in GMT/UTC

10:18 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says President-elect Joe Biden's administration has an opportunity to "compensate for its previous mistakes" under President Donald Trump.

He said the election win offered an opportunity to "return to the path of adherence to international commitments," referring to Washington's withdrawal from a landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran.

This US "administration's harmful and wrong policy for the past three years was not only condemned by people all around the world, but was also opposed by the people of [the US] in the recent election," Rouhani said in a statement on his website.

Biden has said during his campaign that he plans to embark on a "credible path to return to diplomacy" with Iran, and raised the possibility of returning to the 2015 nuclear deal, negotiated when he was vice president under Barack Obama.

10:00 Indians burst firecrackers and offered prayers of gratitude over the election of Kamala Harris as the next US vice president, declaring it a proud moment for Indian-Americans.

Harris, born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, both of whom immigrated to the US to study, made history by becoming the first woman to win the country's second-highest office.

At her ancestral village in southern India, about 8,000 kilometers (4,970 miles) from Washington D.C., children clutched posters of Harris as people gathered at a Hindu temple to thank the gods for the victory that she and president-elect Joe Biden won.

In Mumbai, people shot off fireworks and a group of artists painted a portrait of Biden and Harris.

Read more: US Vice President Kamala Harris: A woman for America's future

Kamala Harris delivers a speech in Wilmington, Delaware.
Harris will be the first Indian American, the first African American, and the first female vice president in US historyImage: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

09:12 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has congratulated Biden and Harris in a statement that indicated the Palestinian leadership would drop its three-year political boycott of the White House.

"I look forward to working with the president-elect and his administration to strengthen the Palestinian-American relations and to achieve freedom, independence, justice and dignity for our people, as well as to work for peace, stability and security for all in our region and the world," Abbas said in a statement issued from his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The Palestinians have been hoping for a chance to hit the reset button on relations with Washington after Abbas ended all political dealings with President Donald Trump's administration after the December 2017 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the US Embassy there.

08:10 The bitter campaigning and tight results of the US election serve as a warning for Germany, Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday.

"The ballot counting in the USA wasn't just a days-long political thriller, it is also an urgent warning. A warning also for us in Germany, about where it can lead if a society allows itself to be divided," Scholz wrote in an opinion piece for the Bild am Sonntag paper.

The divisions in the US weren't something that US President Donald Trump created, but something that he "mercilessly exploited and deepened" during his time in office.

Scholz noted these divisions can also be seen in Germany, in the way that people feel like second-class citizens. "This development is bad because our community only functions well in the long-run if we see it as our common cause."

"Let us learn from the USA and avoid mistakes that cause an enormous amount of harm."

A cartoon by Colombian satirist Vladdo
"In effect, the vaccine arrived in November," says this cartoon by Colombian satirist Vladdo

07:20 Outgoing President Donald Trump now faces a stark choice: Concede graciously for the sake of the nation — or don't, and get evicted anyway.

The Associated Press reports that Trump is not expected to ever formally concede, citing people close to him, but is likely to grudgingly vacate the White House at the end of his term. 

In not formally conceding, Trump would break with a more than a 100-year old tradition in US politics.

His ongoing efforts to paint the election as unfair are seen both as an effort to soothe a bruised ego and to show his loyal base of supporters that he is still fighting.

There is no evidence to support Trump's unprecedented claims of mass fraud in Tuesday's election.

05:29 Israeli Prime Minister and close Donald Trump ally Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Joe Biden on his election victory early Sunday, calling the United States president-elect "a great friend of Israel."

"I look forward to working with both of you to further strengthen the special alliance between the US and Israel," Netanyahu wrote on Twitter, referring to Biden and running mate Kamala Harris.

He also thanked Trump "for the friendship you have shown the state of Israel and me personally, for recognizing Jerusalem and the Golan, for standing up to Iran, for the historic peace accords and for bringing the American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights."

Trump, during his term, recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War, and brokered normalization deals between Israel and Gulf states.

03:58 President Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit in the state of Arizona that seeks the manual inspection of in-person ballots in Phoenix. The Election Day ballots, which could potentially be in thousands, were allegedly mishandled by poll workers. 

This was filed hours after the dismissal of another Arizona election lawsuit that challenged the use of Sharpie markers in completing Election Day ballots.

02:05 Biden used his victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware, to announce that he plans to assemble a panel of scientists next week to handle the coronavirus pandemic. 

The US has recorded more coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country. 

"I sought this office to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class, and to make America respected around the world again," he told the cheering crowd.

Read moreUS President-elect Biden pledges to unify nation in victory speech

He also reached out to those who voted for his opponent, Republican Donald Trump: "They are not our enemies. They are Americans."

"I'll work as hard for those who didn't vote for me as those who did," he added. "Let this era of demonization in America begin to end here."

01:49 Joe Biden is addressing the nation for the first time as president-elect. He thanked his family, especially his wife, as well as his running mate, Kamala Harris. 

"Folks, the people of this nation have spoken. They've delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory," Biden told his supporters at a rally in his home state of Delaware.

Biden vowed to unify, not divide the nation. He also paid tribute to his voters, especially African Americans, Latinos, and sexual minorities. "You've always had my back and I'll have yours," he told Black voters, who have boosted his campaign.

01:43 Kamala Harris has addressed the nation for the first time as vice president-elect from a rally in Wilmington, Delaware. 

"When our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, with the very soul of America at stake and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America," she said. 

Read moreUS Vice President Kamala Harris: A woman for America's future

Harris would be the first woman to hold the office of vice president, and vowed that she "will not be the last."

She paid tribute to the women, particularly Black women, whose shoulders she stands on as she shatters barriers that have kept mostly white men entrenched at the highest levels of American politics for more than two centuries.

"Tonight I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been," Harris said, wearing a suffragette white suit in tribute to the activists who fought for women's suffrage. 


00:24 Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he will not congratulate the winner of the US elections until all legal proceedings are concluded, calling his actions "politically prudent."

Donald Trump's team has filed lawsuits in several states challenging the results, but election officials say there has been no evidence of fraud.

00:11 Joe Biden is expected to address the nation from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, in a little under an hour. He is set to appear with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at a drive-in rally outside the city's convention center.

Biden supporters have been arriving at the venue over the past few hours, honking their car horns and chanting "Joe! Joe!'' and "We did it!''

23:54 Supporters of Donald Trump have held protests in state capitols across the country, refusing to accept the election results.

Crowds ranged from tens to thousands, with some demonstrators carrying guns. The protests took place in cities including Austin, Atlanta, Tallahassee, Phoenix and Bismarck. Chanting "This isn't over" and "Stop the steal," the protesters echoed Trump's unsubstantiated claims that the Democrats seized victory through fraud.

23:25 Even though Democrat Joe Biden has emerged victorious in the US elections, the control of the US Senate could only be decided after a January 2021 runoff in Georgia. The tally for the Senate is currently split equally at 48-48 between Democrats and Republicans. 

Two seats in Georgia are headed for runoffs on January 5. North Carolina and Alaska are still too early to call. 

23:17 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who had openly supported Trump's re-election bid, remained silent, unlike other world leaders, who congratulated Biden. Bolsonaro had lashed out at Biden during the election campaign. 

Former Brazilian President  Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the world was "breathing a sigh of relief" at Biden's victory. 

Read more: Will Donald Trump respect tradition with a concession speech?

23:10 Iranian first vice president Eshaq Jahangiri has congratulated President-elect Joe Biden, saying he hoped to see a change in "America's destructive policies and a return to law and international commitments and respect for nations."

Relations between the US and Iran deteriorated under Donald Trump, who pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Biden supporters celebrate victory

22:47 Biden supporters have come out onto the streets in cities across the US to celebrate the Democrats' election win.

Crowds are gathering outside the White House, and at the Convention Center in Philadelphia — where Biden gained enough votes to claim victory in Pennsylvania and clinch the presidency. Read more on these unprecedented scenes here.

22:34 Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has congratulated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their victory.

"I look forward to working with you to further strengthen the Japan-US Alliance and ensure peace, freedom, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond," he said in a tweet.

22:11 Donald Trump has repeated his claims of voting irregularities — without providing evidence — in his first social media reaction to Joe Biden's election win.

In a tweet that was promptly flagged by Twitter as spreading disputed information, Trump said that election observers were not allowed into counting rooms, and that he had received "71,000,000 Legal Votes. The most ever for a sitting President!"

Biden has more than 74 million votes, with ballot counting still underway in some states. 

21:38 Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said whether or not Trump concedes to Biden is "not important." 

"Thank God, democracy won out, so I just wish Joe and Kamala the very best in leading our country," the senator said on CNN. "Whether Trump concedes or not is not important. Joe Biden won the election and he will be inaugurated," he added.

21:27 Donald Trump has said he does not plan to concede anytime soon. 

"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," Trump said in a statement released by his campaign.

Trump aides and Republican supporters largely backed his strategy but are somewhat conflicted.

"He should allow the recounts to go forward, file whatever claims there are, and then if nothing changes he should concede," Reuters cited one Trump aide as saying.

21:00 DW asked people on the streets of Leipzig how they feel about Biden winning the US election.

"He [Biden] definitely is the better choice. In the end, Trump and his methods were impossible. Maybe the world will be a better place now," said one man.

One woman told DW: "I am sad, yet I hope that will change. But I am not on the Biden side."

20:50 German and European leaders congratulated Biden on his win, hailing a "new era" for trans-Atlantic relations. Germany's Angela Merkel said she was looking forward to working with Joe Biden, and touted the Germany-US relationship as an "irreplaceable friendship."

Meanwhile, France's Macron warned that there was "a lot of work" ahead, and Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who played a central role in Trump's impeachment scandal, offered his optimism about the future of Ukraine-US relations. 

20:43 Kamala Harris has tweeted a video of her calling Biden to congratulate him: "We did it, Joe!"

20:25 Former First Lady Michelle Obama congratulated Biden as well as Harris as the first Black and Indian-American woman vice president.

19:37 Biden is the projected winner in the states of Pennsylvania and Nevada, according to the tally by the AP news agency.


20 Electoral Votes

Biden: 49.7% ( 3,350,504 votes)

Trump: 49.15% (3,312,991 votes)


6 Electoral Votes

Biden: 49.91% (642,604 votes)

Trump: 47.92% (616,905 votes)

In the battleground state of Arizona, where the count is still ongoing, Biden has 49.57% (1,627,902) of the votes and Trump 48.93% (1,606,714) votes.

19:17 DW's Washington Bureau Chief Ines Pohl reports that people gathered in front of the White House are "literally crying tears of joy" as President Trump is away golfing.

In New York, crowds of Biden supporters were dancing and celebrating in Times Square.

18:59 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Kamala Harris, who has both Indian and Black heritage, on her "pathbreaking" election win alongside Joe Biden. If the projections are confirmed, Harris will become the first female, first Black, and first South Asian vice president-elect.

"Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans." Modi, said notably using a Tamil word for "auntie" referenced by Harris in speeches as a way to signal her connection with her Indian heritage. 

"I am confident that the vibrant India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership," Modi said.

18:36 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Biden "on his election as President of the United States and Kamala Harris on her historic achievement."

Johnson tweeted: "The US is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security."

18:35 French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: "The Americans have chosen their President. Congratulations Joe Biden and Kamala Harris! We have a lot to do to overcome today's challenges. Let's work together!"

18:34 Former US president Barack Obama hailed fellow Democrat Joe Biden's "historic and decisive victory" and called on Americans to overcome divides and "find some common ground."

"Once every vote is counted, President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect (Kamala) Harris will have won a historic and decisive victory," Obama said in a statement.

Obama acknowledged Biden will "face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has — a raging pandemic, an unequal economy and justice system, a democracy at risk, and a climate in peril."

18:23 Reporting from Washington, DW's Ines Pohl says the capital has "turned into a big party."

Standing in front of the White House, "many happy people" are seen celebrating Biden and Harris, she reported. 

18:15  Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has sent his congratulations to Biden and Harris.

"The American people have chosen the 46th President of the United States. Congratulations Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We wish you good luck and all the best. We are looking forward to cooperating with you to tackle the challenges ahead of us," he tweeted.

18:10 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has congratulated Biden and Harris, emphasizing that Harris would be the US's first elected female vice-president. 

"Congratulations! The American people have made their decision," Merkel said in a statement.  "Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States of America. I sincerely wish him the best of luck and every success and I would also like to congratulate Kamala Harris, the first female vice president-elect in the history of your country."

"I look forward to working with President Biden. Our trans-Atlantic friendship is indispensable if we are to deal with the major challenges of our time," she said.

17:50 The Black Lives Matter movement congratulated Harris and Biden and called on Trump to concede: 

"We congratulate Joe Biden on becoming President, and particularly Kamala Harris, on becoming the country’s first woman — a Black woman — to serve as Vice President.  President Trump must concede. And that means dropping his bogus lawsuits to challenge the results." 

17:45 Trump's campaign published a statement outlining his belief that the election is still "far from over."

"Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone of any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts," the statement said, citing alleged legal challenges in Pennsylvania. "Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media."

The statement also outlined Trump's intent to launch legal action regarding the results. "Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and that the rightful winner is seated."

Trump has repeatedly claimed that a large number of mail-in ballots are fraudulent or "cast by ineligible or deceased voters." However, mail-in and absentee ballots are a standard element of the voting process, and his campaign has provided no proof to back up the allegations. A record number of the electorate opted to vote by mail this year due to concerns over coronavirus.

17:42 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has congratulated Biden and Harris. 

"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their election as the next President and Vice President of the United States of America. Canada and the United States enjoy an extraordinary relationship — one that is unique on the world stage."

"I look forward to working with President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, their administration, and the United States Congress as we tackle the world’s greatest challenges together.”

17:26 German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that Germany is looking forward to working with the next administration.

"It's good that there are finally clear figures," Maas tweeted. "We look forward to working with the next US government. We want to invest in our cooperation for a new trans-Atlantic beginning, a new deal."

Maas had earlier called for trust in the US democratic process, following Trump's controversial claims of voter and election fraud. Several German politicians have touted a Biden presidency as the key to repairing troubled relations between Germany and the United States.

Read more:  US election: German-US relationship hangs in the balance 

17:25 Vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris has tweeted: "This election is about so much more than Joe Biden or me. 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."

17:20 Biden made a victory statement on Twitter, saying that he was "honored" to be elected. "America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country," he tweeted.

"The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me."

17:15 Donald Trump tweeted he won the election, "by a lot." Twitter noted on the tweet that official sources may not have called the race when Trump tweeted.

17:14 Hillary Clinton, Trump's 2016 Democratic challenger, voiced her support for Biden.

"The voters have spoken, and they have chosen @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris to be our next president and vice president," Clinton tweeted.

"It's a history-making ticket, a repudiation of Trump, and a new page for America. Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. Onward, together."

17:13 Joe Biden said he is "honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in vice president-elect Harris," declaring that the campaign is now over.

17:06 Following media projections positioning Biden as the next US president, Trump has refused to concede, saying that the election is "far from over"  and alleging that Biden is "rushing to falsely pose" as the winner. He also vowed further legal action to contest the results. 

Trump's comments follow a nail-biter election and three days of uncertainty, as polling centers raced to count a record number of mail-in ballots in several US states

Read DW's coverage of the closing stages of the race here

If election officials confirm Biden's victory, that would make Trump the first US president to lose after only one term in office since George H.W. Bush, a Republican who failed to secure a second term in the White House against Democratic challenger Bill Clinton.

16:56 Democratic candidate Joe Biden is the winner of the US presidential election, becoming the 46th head of state after taking the lead in Nevada and Pennsylvania, the Associated Press news agency and other networks have projected.

Read more: Joe Biden projected to win US election

In order to win the election, Donald Trump would need to make a comeback in nearly every remaining state, in a move that most US media networks have determined is mathematically impossible.

Outlets projected Biden's win after the state of Pennsylvania, which offers 20 electoral college votes, pushed him over the 270 votes necessary to assume the presidency.

tg, mvb/dj (AP, Reuters, dpa)