“Democracy is sometimes chaotic,” said Biden. “Sometimes it also takes a little patience. But this patience has been rewarded for more than 240 years with a system of government that the world envies. “
He urged calm and stressed that “every ballot must be counted”.
Hours later, in a breathtaking press conference, Trump lied about the counting of votes in several states, invoking a conspiracy of tabulated “legal” and “illegal” ballots and claiming without evidence that states were trying to refuse him re-election.
“They are trying to steal an election, they are trying to manipulate an election,” said the President from the White House briefing room. He also suggested shameful behavior for no reason in Philadelphia and Detroit, cities with large black populations that he described as “two of the most corrupt political places”.
Trump’s remarks, mostly read from notes, were at times more appreciative than defiant. Far from insisting he would stay in power, he used much of his looks to complain about pre-election polls, demonize the media, and try to put his best face on Tuesday’s results and congressional profits to trumpet his party. He didn’t take questions from reporters.
For all of his grievances, Trump has only himself and his own party to blame for the late number of votes in a number of states.
State and local Republican officials in some states declined to have municipalities count mail-in votes before Tuesday. And because of Trump’s month-long attacks on postal ballots, more Democrats than Republicans voted this way, which allowed Biden to pick up the majority of the votes that came in the mail.
In his speech, Trump expressed no concern about the lengthy vote count in Arizona, a state where he has taken Biden’s leadership, as more ballot papers are tabulated.
Republican leaders did not immediately respond to Trump’s remarks, but a small group of lone fighters in the party condemned his comments to reassure voters that there was no reason to believe that the elections’ integrity had been undermined.
MP Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., A frequent critic of Trump, offered the sharpest rebuke, calling his speech “crazy” and urging him to “stop spreading unmasked misinformation”.
However, there were also Republican lawmakers who rushed to Trump’s defense and sided with him to falsely claim that the vote count was illegal and tried to defraud the Democrats. “Radical Dems have tried to eradicate law and order and are now trying to eliminate law and order at the ballot box,” wrote Texas MP Roger Williams.
As the world watched as one of the most unusual presidencies in the country’s history came to an end, America’s patchwork of electoral laws created a confusing and fearful day for both parties, not to mention millions of Americans, eager to complete the campaign.
Biden’s advantage in Arizona, a state The Associated Press has already called for the former vice president, narrowed when thousands of votes were tabulated. But in Georgia and Pennsylvania, Trump saw his early advantage wane as the postal vote was counted.
He hadn’t appeared in public until Trump’s statements on Thursday night, as he appeared in the middle of the night on Wednesday to insist that he had already won. But he posted angry Twitter messages and did so on Thursday too.
“All of the states recently alleged by Biden are being challenged by us for electoral fraud and electoral fraud,” he said in a message, without going into what exactly that would mean. “STOP THE COUNT!” he exclaimed in another tweet.
Twitter reprimanded the president, calling some of the messages “controversial” and saying they could be “misleading about an election or other civic process”.
Either way, stopping the count would only ensure that Biden wins the presidency, as he’s a leader in Arizona and Nevada – states that would give him 270 votes together.
Meanwhile, a major Georgia Senate race that won a majority in the chamber got even closer when Republican Sen. David Perdue saw his vote drop below 50% in his race against Democrat Jon Ossoff. If neither wins a majority, the race would lead to a runoff election in January and the prospect of a hotly contested battle for two seats in the Senate in Georgia. A runoff is already planned in the special elections for the other seat of the state.
On Thursday, some of Trump’s political representatives gathered in some of the disputed states to rally his supporters. And the president’s lawyers filed lawsuits in several states challenging the integrity of the vote in hopes of slowing the process down.
He suffered two legal setbacks Thursday when judges in Georgia and Michigan ruled against his campaign. But Trump scored a small win in Pennsylvania when an appeals court granted his motion to force Philadelphia election officials to give his election observers better access to areas where workers count ballots.
With the count moving slowly in the west, Thursday’s focus was mostly on Pennsylvania, where a victory would bring Biden the presidency regardless of the results in the other states. The state’s top electoral officer said Thursday night that counties were “quietly” counting “and did not offer a schedule for the settlement to be completed.
Trump’s lead in the state shrank as postal ballot papers were counted in the heavily democratic cities and suburbs.
The two parties held dueling press conferences early in the day in Philadelphia, with Trump’s supporters insisting his leadership persist nationwide, and the city’s Democrats, led by former MP Robert A. Brady, revealed an analysis of the remaining vote that Biden brought Pennsylvania to a convincing win.
In Georgia, the counting of ballots in numerous counties continued to undermine Trump’s advantage in the traditionally republican state: By Thursday evening, he was leading with fewer than 4,000 votes out of almost 5 million votes.
Tens of thousands of ballot papers had to be counted late in the day in the state, including many in Chatham County, a Democratic county on the Georgia coast that is home to Savannah, and many thousands more from Democratic counties also in the Atlanta area.
The Republican Party of Georgia has announced that it will bring up to a dozen lawsuits in the state.
In Arizona, Biden’s lead was around 58,000 votes, significantly less than on election night. Hundreds of thousands of ballots remain to count, many of them from Phoenix’s Maricopa County, which was expected to post an update Thursday night.
Adrian Fontes, the Democrat overseeing the elections in Maricopa County, home of Phoenix, said officials would continue to post updates east every day at 7 p.m., including over the weekend.
“We’ll participate and make it possible,” said Fontes.
However, the number of votes in Maricopa has been tense since several armed demonstrators appeared at the district office on Wednesday evening. About 200 Trump supporters gathered outside the Republican Party of Arizona headquarters Thursday afternoon after about 50 Trump supporters were dispersed outside Phoenix City Hall earlier that day.
Some in the crowd held signs saying “Steal Elections,” “Shame on Fox News,” and “Recall Fontes.” (Fox News called Arizona for Biden Tuesday night, inflaming Trump supporters).
Biden led Nevada by a little over 11,000 votes, but local Las Vegas officials announced Thursday that 51,000 Clark County ballots will be counted and will be announced on Friday. Biden won the county by about 8 percentage points. If he wins the bulk of the new votes, Trump would make it nearly impossible to take over the state, as roughly 70% of Nevada’s voters live in Clark County.
As part of an effort to cast doubt on the state elections, Trump’s Nevada state director posted a letter Thursday to supporters urging them to “speak to the issues about the issues they faced in this election Going on camera ”to“ uncover problems we see at polling stations / office workers. “
Publicly and privately, the Biden campaign spent much of Thursday dampening expectations for certainty of results in individual states, though its supporters were nervous when it found margins far closer than many expected.
In a briefing with reporters, Biden’s campaign manager Jennifer O’Malley Dillon admitted that his leads in Arizona and Nevada may be narrowing or otherwise wavering. It was a departure from her position the day before when she spoke of a “historic victory in a place like Arizona,” although she was still optimistic about victories in both states.
“Similar to Nevada, we expect part of the margin to continue to close today,” she said of Arizona, a state she has been focusing on for months. “The story of Arizona is one where Joe Biden will win, but it will take time and patience as we go through the count.”
“Today’s story,” she said elsewhere, “is going to be a very positive story for the Vice President, but also one in which people need to be patient and calm.”