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(4th LD) (US election) Biden promises to unite Americans, make U.S. respected around world again

All News 12:03 November 08, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with reports of victory speech by Biden, minor changes; TRIMS; ADDS photos)
By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said Saturday he will "make America respected around the world again" as he delivered a victory speech centered largely on unifying a nation badly fractured after months of acrimonious campaigning.

"It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again and make progress," he said in the speech delivered before thousands of supporters gathered in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

"We have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They are Americans," he said.

His speech came after nearly all media outlets here, including CNN, AP and Fox, called Pennsylvania in favor of Biden, awarding him with an additional 20 electoral votes that carried him over the finish line with more than the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.

Biden and his running-mate Kamala Harris will be inaugurated on Jan. 20 should election projections hold and become certified next month.

Biden also promised to win back global respect for the U.S.

"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 said.

The captured image from the website of U.S. cable news network C-Span shows U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaking in a press conference held in Wilmington, Delaware on Nov. 7, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Trump has refused to concede.

"I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!" he tweeted earlier.

Biden said the election results are clear.

"The people of this nation have spoken. They delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for 'We, the People," he told the press conference in Delaware.

He reaffirmed his pledge to work as hard for his opponents as his own supporters.

"I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn't see red states and blue states, only sees the United States," said Biden. "I will work as hard for those who didn't vote for me as those who did."

Biden also said he will work to restore his country's leadership and respect in the world.

"The whole world is watching America, and I believe at our best America is a beacon for the globe," he said. "We will lead not only by the example of our power but by the power of our example."

The U.S. presidential election has been and is closely watched by the entire world, as its outcome decides how the world's most powerful nation interacts with the rest of the world.

Much had hung on the balance for South Korea also, as the allies face a wide range of difficult and sometimes destabilizing issues, including ways to denuclearize North Korea.

Biden has repeatedly said he will treat his country's allies with respect and dignity.

The captured image from the website of U.S. cable news network C-Span shows Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaking at a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, on Nov. 7, 2020, where she and President-elect Joe Biden delivered their victory speeches. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the first woman and person of color to be elected to the second-highest office in the United States, may face a tiresome legal battle from the incumbent president, who has threatened to file lawsuits in nearly all states that he lost.

"There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties, which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results," Trump's campaign has said.

Trump has also accused the Democrats of "ballot dumping," claiming that illicit and unaccounted-for votes that have been "dumped" in many battleground states were the only thing that made his earlier leads disappear.

"How come every time they count mail-in ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?" Trump tweeted early Wednesday when his earlier leads in Wisconsin and Michigan were overtaken by Biden.

"Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key states, in almost all instances Democrat run and controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. Very strange, and the 'pollsters' got it completely and historically wrong," he added.

State officials and election administrators in both Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as many other states, quickly dismissed the possibility of any fraudulent votes being included in their count, saying every vote is triple checked by the municipality, county and state.

Election observers here have attributed the last-minute flip of vote counts in favor of Biden to the record early voter turnout, noting that early votes are usually the last ones to be counted in most states and that the Democrats had heavily encouraged their supporters to vote early through mail-in ballots, resulting in early vote counts that are "heavily skewed" toward the Democrat.

More than 101 million Americans voted early in Tuesday's presidential election, accounting for more than 65 percent of about 150 million ballots estimated to have been cast, and marking the highest early voter turnout rate in the country's history.

As of noon, Biden was projected to have won 50.5 percent of some 145 million popular votes counted, while Trump won 47.7 percent.

Many believe Trump may also take it to court.

While prematurely declaring his victory in the wee hours of Wednesday, only about three hours after polling closed, Trump threatened to ask the Supreme Court to stop vote counting in states where he was leading at the time.

The Electoral College outcome is still based on unofficial vote counts that will only be certified next month after each and every state completes its own processes to double check the election results.

The winner of this week's presidential election is set to be sworn in on Jan. 20.

Should no official winner emerge by then, also leaving the vice presidency vacant, the speaker of the House of Representatives will serve as acting head of state.

The Democratic Party was projected to maintain its house majority as the result of general elections that took place simultaneously with the presidential election on Tuesday.

As of Saturday, the liberal party was projected to have won 211 seats, seven seats short of a majority, while the Republican Party is projected to have taken 197 seats.

How smooth a Biden administration will be able to run the nation will largely depend on who wins a majority of Senate seats.

Also up for grabs in Tuesday's election were 35 Senate seats, 23 of which were previously held by the Republican Party.

The Democratic Party is projected to have secured at least 48 of the 100 Senate seats so far, which marks a net gain of one seat.

It will need at least two more seats for a majority with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris set to serve as the president of the Senate with a tie-breaking vote.

The Republican Party is currently projected to have secured 47 Senate seats with vote counting still under way in four states -- Alaska, Georgia, Maine and North Carolina.

Georgia, however, is facing imminent runoff elections for its two Senate seats in early January as none of its candidates are projected to have secured a majority of votes cast as required by the state law.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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