The U.S. election that has captivated the world for four days now has a projected winner — Joe Biden.
The former vice president and now president-elect has been steadily consolidating a lead in several key swing states over the last four days since the election on Nov. 3, but the tight margins meant that major American networks were being cautious about projecting an official winner.
That projection finally came on Saturday shortly before noon, with the Associated Press, NBC News, CNN and Fox News all calling the race for Biden, who American media report will address the nation at 8 p.m.
The news quickly reverberated around the world.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau quickly issued a tweet congratulating Biden as well as his running mate Kamala Harris, who is set to make history as the first female vice president.
“Our two countries are close friends, partners and allies,” Trudeau tweeted.
“We share a relationship that’s unique on the world stage. I’m really looking forward to working together and building on that with you both.”
Trudeau also issued a more fulsome statement through his office that highlighted the close relationship between Canada and the U.S., which has been tested repeatedly by U.S. President Donald Trump after successive partisan attacks and imposition of steep tariffs on Canadian producers of steel and aluminum.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their election as the next President and Vice President of the United States of America,” Trudeau said in the statement.
“Canada and the United States enjoy an extraordinary relationship – one that is unique on the world stage. Our shared geography, common interests, deep personal connections, and strong economic ties make us close friends, partners, and allies,” he continued.
“We will further build on this foundation as we continue to keep our people safe and healthy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and work to advance peace and inclusion, economic prosperity, and climate action around the world.”
He added: “I look forward to working with President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, their administration, and the United States Congress as we tackle the world’s greatest challenges together.”
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole also congratulated the new president-elect and his running mate.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh congratulated Harris for making history and drew from what’s become perhaps the best-known quote from former NDP leader Jack Layton in his tweet for Biden.
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul also issued a statement congratulating Biden and Harris.
“The election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is an opportunity to usher in a new chapter in the vital U.S.-Canada relationship,” Paul said, pointing to the need to fight climate change and defend human rights.
The first world leader to congratulate Biden appears to have been Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin who tweeted that the president-elect has been a “true friend” to Ireland throughout his life.
“I look forward to working with him in the years ahead,” Martin said of the former vice president, who has Irish heritage. “I also look forward to welcoming him back home when the circumstances allow.”
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson highlighted the need to work together on shard goals from fighting climate change to trade security in his congratulatory tweet to the running mates.
Dominic Raab, the British foreign secretary, also said the results, while close, are clear.
Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister, tweeted a cautious note in German that did not acknowledge either Biden or Harris but said it was good to see “clear results.”
“We look forward to working with the next US government,” he said in the tweet. “We want to invest in our cooperation for a new transatlantic beginning, a new deal.”
French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Biden and Harris as well, tweeting in French, “We have a lot to do to meet the challenges of today. Let’s act together!”
The coronavirus pandemic has largely halted international travel, meaning any traditional first trips by the president-elect once he is sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021, are likely to be delayed.
The virus has ravaged the U.S. over the past nine months and proved to be a significant factor in the presidential election campaign, with millions of Americans casting their ballots in advance and via mail.
Those unprecedented numbers of advance ballots meant the race took longer to call than usual, which was anticipated and which journalists have been working for months to communicate to the public.
U.S. states set their own election laws — there is no national elections administrations body as in Canada.
That meant in several swing states like Pennsylvania — which the Associated Press called for Biden on Saturday — local election laws prohibited poll workers from counting those advance ballots before polls closed on Election Night.
Those delays combined with the fact the advance ballots came from voters more likely to be Democrats meant that major networks were cautious in projecting a winner because of the changeability of early vote results once the advance ballots were fully counted in accordance with state laws.
The Trump campaign issued a statement refusing to concede the election shortly after the call was made, and which contained largely false statements casting aspersions on the integrity of the election.
There is no evidence to support any claims of voter or electoral fraud.
Trump, meanwhile, spent the morning playing golf at one of his courses in Virginia.
More to come.
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