USA TODAY’S coverage of the 2020 election and President-elect Biden’s transition continues this week as states certify their vote counts. President Donald Trump has yet to concede the race but his administration Monday cleared the way for Biden’s team to have access to federal resources and briefings during the transition.
Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the election and the transition.
Biden Thanksgiving message calls for sacrifice amid pandemic
President-elect Joe Biden urged Americans to remain patient for a coronavirus vaccine through Thanksgiving and the holiday season by continuing to take precautions such as wearing masks and maintaining a social distance.
Biden noted the first Thanksgiving was celebrated Dec. 18, 1777, by George Washington and his troops on the way to Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War. Biden said a plaque commemorating the harsh conditions and deprivation said troops were “forging the soul of the nation,” a phrase echoing his campaign slogan to fight for the soul of the nation.
“Gratitude even in the face of suffering has long part of what Thanksgiving means in America,” Biden said in an 18-minute speech from The Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware. “Looking back over our history, you see that it’s been the most difficult circumstances that the soul of our nation has been forged. Now we find ourselves again facing a long, hard winter.”
Biden acknowledged the difficulty of spending holidays isolated from relatives because of health warnings not to travel or gather in large numbers.
But 160,000 new cases of the virus are reported each day and the figure could spike to 200,000 daily, he said. More than 260,000 people have already died.
“Our country is in the middle of a dramatic spike in cases,” Biden said.
But he warned that even if immunizations begin in December, it will take months to distribute promising vaccines to everyone. He committed to providing more protective gear for businesses and schools, along with clear guidance about how to reopen.
Biden held up a mask, saying mask-wearing and social distancing are the most effective way to prevent the disease from spreading faster.
“This is a moment when we need to steel our spines,” Biden said. “We all have a role to play in combating the virus.”
— Bart Jansen
Trump blasts PA election results but cancels plan to join Giuliani at event there
President Donald Trump told a panel of Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania on Wednesday that the Nov. 3 election was a “fraud” and falsely claimed he had won the pivotal battleground state.
Hours after canceling plans to travel to Gettysburg, where lawmakers are holding an event to question the results, Trump phoned into the meeting and accused Democrats of cheating to steal the election. He also made claims of voter suppression and other irregularities but offered no evidence.
“This election was rigged, and we can’t let that happen,” he said. “We can’t let that happen for our country. This election has to be turned around.”
Trump has spent weeks challenging the results of the presidential election in which Democrat Joe Biden won a clear majority in both the Electoral College and the popular vote. Trump and his legal team have suffered a series of defeats in court after failing to back up their claims of widespread voting problems.
A federal judge in the Pennsylvania dismissed a lawsuit from the Trump campaign over the weekend in a scathing order that cited “strained legal arguments” that were “unsupported by evidence.” That case is pending before the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Wednesday, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani joined other Republicans at a Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee meeting in Gettysburg on election issues and the alleged irregularities.
Pennsylvania has already certified the results of the election, confirming Biden won with a margin of 80,555 votes and handing the Democrat the state’s 20 electoral votes.
Trump insisted that he would prevail. “All we need is some judge listen to it properly without having a political opinion,” he said.
Though the trip was not on his daily schedule, Trump considered traveling to Gettysburg for the event. The White House had gathered the group of traveling reporters – known as the press “pool” – for the trip. Reporters were later told it was called off.
Trump also lauded Giuliani for leading his challenge to the election results. “This is going to be your crowning achievement because you’re saving our country,” he said.
— Michael Collins and John Fritze
Trump weighs joining Giuliani in PA to challenge election results – then cancels
President Donald Trump canceled a trip that had been under consideration Wednesday to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where state lawmakers are holding an event to raise questions about the outcome of the contest in the pivotal battleground.
In Gettysburg, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is joining other Republicans at a Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee meeting on election issues and alleged irregularities.
Though the trip was not listed on Trump’s public schedule, the White House had gathered the group of traveling reporters – known as the press “pool” – for a trip to Pennsylvania. Reporters were later told it was called off.
The decision to bow out is only the latest indication that aides close to Trump are divided about the path forward, with some acknowledging privately that Democrat Joe Biden won the election but others pushing Trump to continue to fight.
Trump and his legal team have leveled allegations of widespread voting problems in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, but have not provided evidence to back up the claims. Pennsylvania has already certified the results of the election, confirming Biden won with a margin of 80,555 votes and handing the Democrat the state’s 20 electoral votes.
A federal judge in the state dismissed a lawsuit from the Trump campaign over the weekend in a scathing order that cited “strained legal arguments” that were “unsupported by evidence.” That case is pending before the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
– John Fritze
China’s Xi congratulates Joe Biden, Putin still a holdout
Chinese President’s Xi Jinping on Wednesday congratulated Joe Biden on his election win, among the last world leaders to do so.
Biden will face a series of difficult decisions on U.S.-China policy, including how aggressively to confront the country’s human rights violations, trade practices and regional aggression.
Xi’s congratulations came after the Trump administration cleared the way for Biden to begin his official transition, although President Donald Trump continues to contest the election and make unfounded allegations of fraud.
In a message to the U.S. president-elect, Xi said he hoped the U.S. and China would “uphold the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” according to a statement from the Chinese embassy in Washington.
China’s vice president, Wang Qishan, also sent a message to Kamala Harris to congratulate her on election as vice president, the embassy said.
While dozens of leaders across the globe have called Biden to offer their election congratulations, there are still a few holdouts, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A spokesman for Putin said on Tuesday that Trump’s decision to greenlight Biden’s transition was “not enough” to merit an official recognition from Moscow of Biden’s victory. Biden is expected to take a tougher approach to Russia than Trump did.
“You know that the consideration and recount of votes in some states is still ongoing, without which the election results cannot be officially summed up,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, according to Interfax.
– Deirdre Shesgreen
Biden surpasses 80 million votes
WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, President-elect Joe Biden surpassed 80 million votes, the most votes a candidate has received in U.S. history.
Biden’s transition also kicked into gear after much delay and reluctance by the Trump administration. Just hours after Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, said she’ll allow Biden to begin his transition to the White House, Biden’s transition website on Monday night began existing under a government top-level domain.
Will Trump concede? The OK of a Biden transition may be as close as Trump gets
On Tuesday, it was reported that Biden will now begin receiving the same daily intelligence briefings that President Donald Trump receives, and his transition team is now communicating with all federal agencies.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Biden said he has not started intelligence briefings but would soon.