President-elect Biden pledges unity in victory speech


US President-elect Joe Biden officially declared victory Saturday, pledging to be a president who will work to mend the nation's divisions and "make America respected around the world again."

"The people of this nation have spoken, they delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory, a victory for we, the people," Biden told a crowd of supporters at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. "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."

Directly addressing outgoing US President Donald Trump's supporters, Biden said he understands their disappointment, but indicated now is the time to give each other a chance to move forward together.

"It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperate, see each other again, and listen to each other again. And to make progress we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They are Americans," he said in his first speech since winning the White House.

Earlier Saturday, Biden was projected to win the crucial state of Pennsylvania, and with a victory there surpassed the necessary 270 Electoral College votes needed to claim the White House, according to The Associated Press and other news organizations.

Biden now holds a commanding 290 delegates after the AP also called the state of Nevada for the president-elect.

The states of Georgia, North Carolina, and Alaska remain outstanding several days after Tuesday’s election, but it is now mathematically impossible for Trump to win re-election without a major change in vote counts.

Biden's victory makes Trump the first single-term president in nearly three decades. Trump has, however, vowed to pursue legal challenges to vote totals in several states.

The outgoing president refused to concede shortly after every major news outlet in the US called the race for his opponent, instead lashing out defiantly in a statement distributed by his campaign that claimed the election "is far from over."

"Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges," Trump said. "Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media."

Trump is set to leave office amid a worsening COVID-19 pandemic with the US reporting more than 100,000 daily cases since Wednesday.

More than 236,000 people have died during the pandemic, and Biden sought during his campaign to cast the grim fact as disqualifying Trump from receiving a second term in office.

In addition to the stark health crisis, Biden will now have to contend with uniting an American public that has been sharply divided during the White House race, and could further sink into partisan trenches, particularly with the president's refusal to concede.

The president-elect said his first task in office will be to bring the spiraling pandemic under control, saying without doing so the US cannot make progress on rebuilding its economy and returning the country to normalcy. Biden will take the first step Monday when he will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors.

Biden turns 78 two months to the day before Inauguration Day, making him the oldest incoming president in US history.

SOURCE: Anadolu Agency 

Profile: Who is US President-elect Joe Biden?


After serving eight years as vice president under Barack Obama, next Jan. 20 Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is set to return to the White House, but this time to serve in his boss’ old job, as the US’ 46th president


The victory of Joe Biden, 77, over incumbent Donald Trump makes him first former vice president to win the Oval Office since George H. W. Bush, who won in 1988 after eight years under Ronald Reagan.


Unlike Bush, however, Biden spent four years outside of government office before winning the White House.


Bush lost his re-election bid four years later, making him a one-term president, and Biden himself has indicated he may voluntarily serve just a single term, describing himself as a "transition candidate."


Biden is also the oldest person in American history to lay claim to the mantle of president-elect, as he will turn 78 on Nov. 20, two months to the day before his Jan. 20 inauguration.


The oldest president to date was the late Reagan, who was 77 when he left office in 1989.


Biden's eight years as “veep” was highlighted by Obama awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the two highest civilian awards in the US, in the final days of the administration.


At a Jan. 12, 2017 White House ceremony, Obama hailed Biden as "the best vice president America's ever had" and a "lion of American history."


"To know Joe Biden is to know love without pretense, service without self-regard, and to live life fully," he said.


Biden was Obama's point man in Ukraine in the face of Russia's illegal 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and support for separatist rebels in the east. Biden sought to improve bilateral relations and help Kiev root out corruption.


Re-elected to Senate six times


Biden was born in 1942 in the blue-collar city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, but was largely raised in the state of Delaware, where he attended university before earning his law degree in 1968 from New York’s Syracuse University.


In an incident which left deep scars, on Dec. 18, 1972, Biden's first wife, Neilia, and the couple’s one-year-old daughter Amy were killed in a car accident in Delaware, while his sons Beau and Hunter both suffered injuries.


More than a month earlier, on Nov. 7, he had been elected to become the sixth-youngest senator in US history, and went on to serve 36 years in the chamber, including being a longtime member of its powerful Foreign Relations Committee, eventually becoming its chairman in 2001.


In another key post, he was also chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1987 to 1995.


Biden won re-election to the Senate six times before becoming vice president in 2009.


His triumphant campaign with Obama followed two unsuccessful runs for the Democratic presidential nomination, in 1988 and 2008.


As part of Obama’s team, Biden was responsible for overseeing infrastructure spending to jump-start the economy after the 2007 financial crisis, and also led negotiations with congressional Republicans that produced the 2010 Tax Relief Act.


On the military front, he helped pass the new START Treaty between the US and Russia, supported NATO-led efforts to depose Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, as aided with the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in 2011.


Iran nuclear deal


During Biden's tenure as vice president, the US along with several key negotiating partners sought to establish curbs on Iran’s nuclear program, as well as an unprecedented inspections regime to ensure the country's compliance with a prospective accord.


Negotiations lasted until July 2015, when a final agreement was made to limit and monitor Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for relief from harsh international sanctions.


The deal was one of the most prominent foreign policy achievements of the Obama administration until President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the deal in May 2018.


As incoming president, Biden said he wants to return the US to compliance with the agreement. But that depends on not only what Iran will seek in return after Trump unilaterally imposed sanctions that have sent Iran's economy into a nosedive, but also on Israel, which has long criticized the deal while praising Trump's efforts.


Ukraine


When Ukraine’s then-President Petro Poroshenko took office in June 2014, Obama made Biden his point man to help improve relations between the two countries and help Kiev fight domestic corruption.


Years later, in 2019, however, the activities of Biden and his son, Hunter, made headlines as Republicans spread unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, partially in an effort to blunt Democratic efforts to impeach President Trump.


In a July 25, 2019 telephone call that figured in the impeachment drive, Trump pressed Poroshenko’s successor Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son, saying that their activities in Ukraine sound "horrible to me."


The younger Biden, who is now 50, had joined the Board of Directors of Ukraine's largest private natural gas producer Burisma Holdings, in May 2014 – almost one month before Poroshenko took office – according to a press release by the company.


He reportedly received a salary of $50,000 a month until stepping down from the board in April 2019.


Allegations of withholding loan


Trump argued that the elder Biden had improperly used his influence during his time in the White House to oust Ukraine's top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, to help his son avoid corruption investigations in the country.


For weeks, thousands of Ukrainian protestors called for Shokin to resign for failing to fight corruption, but it was Biden's threat to withhold a $1 billion loan from Ukraine if Shokin was not fired that led to his dismissal. Biden acknowledged the fact in 2018.


"I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from [then Prime Minister] Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn’t," Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank in January 2018.


"I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money," he said, according to a transcript posted on the group's website.


Critics claimed that it was a conflict of interest for Hunter Biden to work for a Ukrainian company while his father was actively working with that government; however, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing.


SOURCE: Anadolu Agency 

Kamala Harris: First US woman vice president-elect


With Joe Biden the projected winner of the 2020 White House race, his running mate, Kamala Harris, is set to mark several firsts in Americas' political history despite being the first woman vice president-elect.


Harris, 56, also makes history as the first Black person and the first person of Asian descent who will serve as number two in the US.


The child of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, she has been a taboo-breaker her entire career, starting from 2010 when she was elected the first Black and first woman to serve as the state of California's Attorney General.


After completing nearly two terms, she was sworn in as California senator -- the second Black woman and first South Asian-American senator in history. Harris is currently the only Black woman in the chamber.


She holds seats on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on the Budget.


Growing up in Oakland, California gave Harris a "stroller-eye view" of the civil rights movement which led her to the law field. After earning an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a law degree from the University of California, she began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.


In 2003, Harris became the San Francisco District Attorney where she started a program to reintegrate drug offenders by giving them a chance to earn a high school diploma and find employment. She held that post for two terms.


During the 2020 White House race, Biden defeated incumbent Republican President Donald Trump with 290 Electoral College votes, according to projections.

SOURCE: ANADOLU NEWS AGENCY

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