Joe Biden wins US Presidential election

The historic poll also saw Kamala Harris become the first woman and the first black and South Asian American to be elected US Vice-President.

By Lorna Hutchinson

Lorna Hutchinson is Deputy Editor of The Parliament Magazine

07 Nov 2020

After a marathon four days of painstaking vote counting, a win in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania finally tipped the scales in favour of Joe Biden, making him the 46th President of the United States.

In the shadow of a protracted election race marred by allegations of fraud and false claims of victory by incumbent Donald Trump, Saturday evening’s announcement saw many breathe a collective sigh of relief to finally have a winner in a contest that turned out to be much tighter than first anticipated.

Having remained within touching distance of the crucial threshold of 270 electoral college votes for several days, it was a win in his birth state of Pennsylvania that took Joe Biden over the finishing line to clinch the presidency.

Shortly after his victory was projected by news outlets including CNN and Associated Press, President-elect Joe Biden took to Twitter to say, “America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country.”

“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.”

Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris said, “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.”

“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” Joe Biden, US President-elect

Also a first in this historic election: Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff, who took a leave of absence from his job as an entertainment lawyer to support his wife on the campaign trail, will become the United States’ first “Second Gentleman.”

Donald Trump, for his part, tweeted before the result was announced, “I won this election, by a lot!”

Hillary Clinton, who went head-to-head with Trump in the 2016 presidential election, said, “The voters have spoken, and they have chosen Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be our next president and vice president. 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.”

Former First Lady Michelle Obama said, “I’m beyond thrilled that my friend Joe Biden and our first Black and Indian-American woman Vice President, Kamala Harris, are headed to restore some dignity, competence, and heart at the White House. Our country sorely needs it.”

EUROPE SENDS ITS CONGRATULATIONS

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warmly congratulated Biden on his victory and said she looked forward to meeting him “at the earliest possible opportunity.”

She added, “The European Union and the United States are friends and allies, our citizens share the deepest of links. Together we have built an unprecedented transatlantic partnership rooted in common history and shared values of democracy, freedom, human rights, social justice and open economy.”

Von der Leyen said that the Commission “stands ready to intensify cooperation with the new Administration and the new Congress” to address pressing challenges, notably COVID-19 pandemic, and tackling climate change together.”

“We gain a strong progressive ally with whom we will work together to face our shared global challenges. Looking forward to building a new EU and US partnership” Iratxe García Pérez, S&D Group leader

Biden said on Wednesday, “Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.”

Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo said, “Welcome back America! While we are about to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, this victory symbolises our need to act together more than ever, in view of the climate emergency.”

European Parliament President David Sassoli said, “Our best wishes to the next US President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris,” adding, “The world needs a strong relationship between Europe and the US - especially in these difficult times. We look forward to working together to fight COVID-19, climate change, and address rising inequality.”

European Council President Charles Michel said, “Congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The EU is ready to engage for a strong transatlantic partnership. COVID-19, multilateralism, climate change and international trade are some of the challenges which Europe wants to address together.”

EU Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli said, “Congratulations to Kamala Harris for leaping over the hurdles and becoming the first ethnic minority woman Vice President of the US.”

She added, “We must play our fair share in politics and we need to reflect society, in all its diversity, at the decision-making level.”

“The Commission stands ready to intensify cooperation with the new Administration and the new Congress to address pressing challenges, notably COVID-19 pandemic, and tackling climate change together”

Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President

Fellow European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness said, “Congratulations President-elect Joe Biden. It was a pleasure to welcome you to Co. Louth in Ireland in 2016, along with members of your family. I look forward to a strong EU-US relationship under your presidency. Congratulations Kamala Harris.”

Heads of state and government also rushed to offer their congratulations to the new Democratic President and Vice-President-elect.

French President Emmanuel Macron said, “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!”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, “Congratulations from Scotland to President-Elect Joe Biden and to history-making Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.”

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said, “We look forward to working with the new USA Administration to reinforce transatlantic relations and cooperate on global issues, such as climate change, defense of democracy and international security.”

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, “Congratulations to Joe Biden, the new President-elect of the United States. Europe and the United States share a system of values - values that we stand up for together. Looking forward to our future cooperation.”

“A DARK DAY FOR POPULISTS AND AUTHORITARIANS”

There was a distinctly celebratory mood on Twitter on Saturday evening, as MEPs, who had been waiting with bated breath since Tuesday, finally heard the news they had been hoping to hear.

S&D Group leader Iratxe García Pérez said that the Biden-Harris victory “breathes new air into the White House.”

“We gain a strong progressive ally with whom we will work together to face our shared global challenges. Looking forward to building a new EU and US partnership.”

“Looking forward to the change Kamala Harris will bring our way. Hope springs eternal and this feels like a good day for women and a good day for the future of the planet and its inhabitants” Grace O’Sullivan, Greens/EFA

Renew Europe leader Dacian Cioloş said that the group “looks forward to a new dawn in transatlantic relations,” but added, “We have pressing challenges: restoring liberal democracy, climate change, health and security threats, trade relations. The EU and US can achieve a lot together.”

EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber said that the announcement of Biden’s victory was “excellent news from the US,” adding, “The transatlantic partnership needs a EU-US restart.”

GUE/NGL co-president Martin Schirdewan said, “The American people have spoken. Time to retire for Donald Trump. Finally. A huge victory for democracy. Congratulations to Joe Biden.”

German Greens/EFA deputy Terry Reintke tweeted, “Stopped the crying and popped the champagne. Have a wonderful night everyone and celebrate. This is historic.”

She said that the election “gives such a boost to all the movements that stand up for freedom, rule of law and democracy in the world. And against autocrats. It shows: The authoritarian grip on power will never be unchallenged. We resist and in the end we shall win.”

But Reintke added, “If you have felt any sense of superiority living in ‘enlightened’ Europe vis-a-vis the US lately, just don’t. We have exactly the same type of politicians here. With exactly the same strategies. We have to fight this together.”

Fellow Greens MEP Grace O’Sullivan said of Kamala Harris, “First woman Vice President of the USA. Wow! Looking forward to the change Kamala Harris will bring our way. Hope springs eternal and this feels like a good day for women and a good day for the future of the planet and its inhabitants.”

Renew Europe deputy Chrysoula Zacharopoulou said, “You did it! Congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the new President and Vice-President of USA. Εurope is happy to work with you!”

Belgian ECR deputy Assita Kanko called Kamala Harris “an asset to the US, but also to politics on a global level and that has nothing to do with her colour.” She added, “Happy for the Americans. This is a huge step and it proves that democracy works.”

Renew Europe MEP and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said, “Huge congratulations to Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and the Democrats for your impressive achievement.”

“This is a dark day for populists and authoritarians globally who took inspiration from Trump's rotten ideology. The EU and US must work together for a better, more free world.”

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