BIDEN URGES CALM AS TRUMP RAGES AS VOTE COUNT DRAGS ON
Election officials in key battlegrounds pressed forward with presidential vote counting as Democrat Joe Biden urged patience and President Donald Trump pursued legal options with little success, insisting the processing of ballots should be stopped, Jonathan Lemire, Zeke Miller and Will Weissert reported for the Associated Press (AP.)
The president spent Thursday at the White House, working the phones and escalating efforts to sow doubt about the outcome of the race. In a series of tweets, he pushed baseless allegations of electoral misconduct and said the ongoing vote count of ballots submitted before and on Election Day should cease. Trump followed up with an all-caps official campaign statement. “IF YOU COUNT THE LEGAL VOTES, I EASILY WIN THE ELECTION! IF YOU COUNT THE ILLEGAL AND LATE VOTES, THEY CAN STEAL THE ELECTION FROM US!” he contended.
Biden, meanwhile, sought to project the appearance of a president, speaking briefly to reporters after attending a COVID-19 briefing. He offered reassurance that the counting could be trusted and declared that “each ballot must be counted.” He added: “I ask everyone to stay calm. The process is working. It is the will of the voters. No one, not anyone else who chooses the president of the United States of America.”
The different approaches unfolded as the nation waited to learn which man would collect the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the presidency. Biden’s victories in Michigan and Wisconsin put him in a commanding position with 264 Electoral College votes, but Trump showed no sign of giving up. It could take several more days for the vote count to conclude and a clear winner emerges. With millions of ballots yet to be tabulated, Biden already had received more than 72 million votes, the most in history. He leads Trump by nearly 4-million in popular votes.