Joe Biden wins U.S. presidency, AP projects

Former Vice President Joe Biden was projected Saturday to win the U.S. presidential election, defeating President Donald Trump after a bitter campaign fought amid the economic and human tolls taken by the coronavirus.

Biden was projected the winner by the Associated Press. The 77-year-old Democrat beat Trump in Pennsylvania and other key states, propelling him to victory over the Republican incumbent.

Senate control, meanwhile, remained up in the air, as Democrats maintained control of the House of Representatives. Biden’s agenda — including a “public option” health-care plan and tax increases on companies and the wealthy — would face steep obstacles on Capitol Hill if Republicans keep the upper chamber.

Trump becomes the first incumbent to lose re-election since George H.W. Bush, also a Republican, in 1992.

As recently as Saturday morning, Trump was claiming he won the election, in a message flagged by Twitter. The president said at a news conference early Thursday that if the “legal” votes only are counted, he has won the election. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” he said, but did not provide evidence for that charge.

The National Council on Election Integrity, a bipartisan group, said there was “absolutely no basis” for his claims.

The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in key states including Nevada and Pennsylvania, seeking to stop ballot counting.

Biden, the former vice president and longtime senator from Delaware, inherits a deeply wounded U.S. economy with gaping budget deficits, as well as a country suffering lingering scars after high-profile police killings of Black Americans.

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With Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his running mate, Biden has said a coronavirus vaccine must be “free to everyone,” has pledged to raise taxes on corporations and on individuals making more than $400,000 annually, and promised to boost support for minority-owned small businesses. And he will face pressure from from the left wing of the party to pursue an even more progressive agenda.

The 2020 campaign played out amid the crushing blow dealt by the coronavirus pandemic to American businesses and workers. The country by most measures remains in a deep recession even as the economy has appeared to recover faster than expected from the pandemic’s ravages.

After record-breaking early voting, Americans went to polls around the country in person under coronavirus restrictions, in a stark reminder of the pandemic still facing the nation.

With U.S. coronavirus cases having passed the 9 million mark, Biden made what he called Trump’s mismanagement of the crisis a key line of attack during the campaign. Trump frequently claimed the U.S. was “rounding the corner” on the pandemic and laid blame for it on China, where it emerged late last year.

Wall Street DJIA, -0.23% SPX, -0.02% COMP, +0.03% last week notched its best weekly performance since April, despite the uncertainty around the presidential vote.


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