What We Learned After Biden Became President – The New York Times

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President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. closed his Saturday night acceptance speech with a poignant quote from a hymn —“On Eagle’s Wings” — that was composed more than three decades ago by a Catholic priest in memory of his friend’s father.

Mr. Biden, a weekly churchgoer who often keeps a rosary on hand, said the hymn was dear to his family, especially to his deceased son Beau, and that he hoped it would provide solace to the more than 230,000 families in the United States who had lost loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It captures the faith that sustains me and which I believe sustains America,” he said.

Jan Michael Joncas, the priest, wrote and composed the hymn after he and his friend Doug Hall found out Mr. Hall’s father had died of a heart attack, according to America Magazine, which publishes articles on the Catholic faith.

The hymn, often played at Christian funerals, has also become a signature song at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s chapel and was played at a memorial for those killed in the 1995 bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City.

Credit…Desiree Rios for The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr. emerged as the president-elect on Saturday, after nearly four days of tallying and tabulating votes and national anticipation of the election outcome.

But it’s not over yet: In the weeks between Election Day and Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, several key mechanisms take place, most related to the Electoral College, that eventually lead to a president in the White House.

So with the vote count nearly completed, and the next president made clear, what happens next? Beginning on Nov. 10 and lasting through Dec. 11, states will begin to certify their election results, a process carried out over slightly different time frames in each state. This could all be made even more complicated by the Trump campaign pursuing lawsuits in key states that could delay the formal certification of the vote.

Then the Electoral College comes in. When Americans cast their ballots on Tuesday, they were actually voting for this slate of electors, appointed by their state’s political parties, who are pledged to support that party’s candidate. The electors don’t always do that, as seen in 2016, and whether they should be allowed to change their positions has been widely debated. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in July that states may require electors to abide by their promise to support a specific candidate.

On Dec. 14 — the Monday after the second Wednesday in December — the electoral votes will be cast. Each state convenes its electors on the same day, and they cast their votes for the presidency before sending those votes to Congress. Those votes must arrive in Washington by Dec. 23. After the new Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3, the members of the House and Senate meet in the House chamber on Jan. 6 to hear the electoral votes counted.

Its important to note that members of Congress can challenge or reject the electoral votes, though that process is complicated and rarely occurs. You can read more about it here.


Sydney Ember

President-elect Biden has shifted leftward since the primary, but he has hardly embraced the bold agenda of progressives.

Here’s where he actually stands

Credit…John Amis/Associated Press; John Bazemore/Associated Press

As the dust settles from the presidential race, the eyes of the political world have already shifted to Georgia, where two runoff elections set for early January will almost certainly determine which party has control of the Senate.

This was an unusual year for Georgia, with both of its Senate seats up for election. Senator David Perdue, a Republican elected in 2014, was facing a normal re-election race. In addition, Senator Kelly Loeffler, another Republican appointed last year to succeed Senator Johnny Isakson after he retired because of health issues, was facing a special election to serve out the remainder of his term until 2022.

Both of their races went to runoffs because none of the multiple candidates garnered at least 50 percent of the vote. Mr. Perdue’s Democratic challenger in the runoff is Jon Ossoff, while Ms. Loeffler’s is the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock.

Credit…Brynn Anderson/Associated Press; Erik S Lesser/EPA, via Shutterstock

After elections last week, Republicans and Democrats are tied in the Senate 48 to 48, with Republicans expected to win two other Senate races in North Carolina and Alaska. The outcome of the two Georgia runoffs will either swing the majority to Democrats, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote handing President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. broad power to carry out his policy agenda, or leave Republicans in charge, allowing them to influence his plans. In the weeks ahead, tens of millions of dollars in campaign cash are expected to pour into both races.

On the day that the United States elected its first female vice president, many visitors marked the occasion by visiting the grave of Susan B. Anthony, a leader of the 19th-century women’s suffrage movement, at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, N.Y.


Mark Landler in London

Next up: the scramble by foreign leaders to reach President-elect Biden with congratulatory phone calls. A lot of diplomatic prestige rides on getting in early.

Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is poised to unleash a series of executive actions on his first day in the Oval Office, prompting what is likely to be a yearslong effort to unwind President Trump’s domestic agenda and immediately signal a wholesale shift in the United States’ place in the world.

In the first hours after he takes the oath of office on the West Front of the Capitol at noon on Jan. 20, Mr. Biden has said, he will send a letter to the United Nations indicating that the country will rejoin the global effort to combat climate change, reversing Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord with more than 174 countries.

Mr. Biden’s afternoon will be a busy one.

He has vowed that on Day 1 he will move rapidly to confront the coronavirus pandemic by appointing a “national supply chain commander” and establishing a “pandemic testing board,” similar to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wartime production panel. He has said he will restore the rights of government workers to unionize. He has promised to order a new fight against homelessness and resettle more refugees fleeing war. He has pledged to abandon Mr. Trump’s travel ban on mostly Muslim countries and to begin calling foreign leaders in an attempt to restore trust among the United States’ closest allies.

Credit…Paulo Nunes dos Santos for The New York Times

BALLINA, Ireland — When the election was called for Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Saturday afternoon, the town of Ballina was ready to celebrate. Pride in the president-elect, considered a native son of this charming town on Ireland’s west coast — albeit five generations removed — runs strong here.

The first champagne cork was popped by Mr. Biden’s distant cousins in the town’s Market Square, watched by a few hundred delighted townspeople, two hours before CNN made the call. Someone drove up in a cherry red ’57 Buick Electra coupe with Elvis cushions in the back window. A speaker played Mr. Biden’s campaign song, Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own,” and the walk-on music from former President Bill Clinton’s winning campaign, “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow).”

Mr. Biden’s great-great-great-grandfather Edward Blewitt was born in Ballina and emigrated to Scranton, Pa., just after the great Irish famine of 1845 to 1849, according to historians. Gerry Luskin, a local restaurateur and president of the Ballina Chamber of Commerce, said there were longstanding links between his town and Scranton, which are sister cities.

“There are a lot of ordinary people in Ballina who also have relations in Scranton,” he said. “When his great-great-great-grandfather went to Scranton, a lot of other people followed, and they worked in the railroad and the coal mining and things like that.”

Mr. Biden’s ancestor was a government official and a surveyor, and he was deeply involved in famine relief, according to historians. And Mr. Biden has real and affectionate links to Ballina, Mr. Luskin said. Apart from an official visit in 2016, when Mr. Biden was vice president, he has made several other informal trips to the town.

Now, the town can boast that it has produced not one but two presidents. The other is Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first female head of state, who won election on Nov. 7, 1990 — exactly 30 years before Mr. Biden’s victory.

“It’s amazing to think of it,” said Aileen Horkin, an elementary schoolteacher in town. “I can tell any child in my school that they can grow up to be a president.”


Richard Fausset in Atlanta

Biden is on the verge of adding Georgia to his winning electoral margin, with a narrow lead that is headed for a recount but is nevertheless a dramatic sign of the shifting politics of the South.

Read more

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The presidential race ended on Saturday with victory for Joseph R. Biden Jr., but election coverage continues. Here’s who to look for on the Sunday talk shows.

  • “Meet the Press,” NBC: Kate Bedingfield, the deputy manager of the Biden campaign; Representative James E. Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, who has been credited with rejuvenating Mr. Biden’s struggling campaign in February; and Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, one of the first top Republican lawmakers to acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory.

  • “Face the Nation,” CBS: Representative Cedric L. Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana and the national co-chairman of the Biden campaign; Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania; Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia; Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration; and David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research.

  • “This Week,” ABC: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York; Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware; Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota; and Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri.

  • “Fox News Sunday”: Pete Buttigieg, a member of the president-elect’s transition team and the former mayor of South Bend, Ind.; Mr. Romney; and Gen. James C. McConville, the Army chief of staff.

  • “State of the Union,” CNN: Symone D. Sanders, a senior adviser to Mr. Biden; Mr. Clyburn; Mr. Romney; Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York; Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland; and Stacey Abrams, the founder of the voting rights organization Fair Fight, who has been credited with helping increase Democratic voter turnout in Georgia.


NEW DELHI — From the moment the sun came up in Thulasendrapuram, a little village in southern India, people started stringing firecrackers across the road. They poured into the temple. They took colored powder and wrote exuberant messages in big, happy letters in front of their homes, like this one:

“Congratulations Kamala Harris, pride of our village.”

If there was one place in India that relished the triumph of Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Ms. Harris, his running mate, in America’s presidential election, it was Thulasendrapuram, the hamlet where Ms. Harris’s Indian grandfather was born more than 100 years ago.

“Kamala has made this village very proud,” said Renganathan, a farmer, who rushed to the village’s main temple. “She’s a great lady and an inspiration. She belongs to this soil.”

Although Ms. Harris has been more understated about her Indian heritage than about her experience as a Black woman, her path to the vice presidency has also been guided by the values of her Indian-born mother and her wider Indian family.

Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, who came to America young and alone in the late 1950s and made a career as a breast cancer researcher before dying of cancer in 2009, remains one of the people Ms. Harris talks about most.

“When she came here from India at the age of 19, she maybe didn’t quite imagine this moment,” Ms. Harris said in her victory speech on Saturday. “But she believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible.”

Credit…Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

While Joseph R. Biden Jr. secured Pennsylvania and the presidency on Saturday, votes were still being counted in a handful of states that have not yet been called.

Here is a look at key states where more results are expected:

  • Arizona: Officials in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, said a small number of provisional and other ballots remain. They plan to announce the next results update for the county at 6 p.m. Eastern on Sunday. As of early Sunday, Mr. Biden leads in Arizona by fewer than 19,000 votes.

  • Georgia: Because of the small margin between Mr. Biden and President Trump, the state will conduct a recount, the secretary of state said on Friday. Mr. Biden leads by about 10,000 votes, with a small number of absentee, overseas, military and provisional ballots yet uncounted in some counties.

Two other states, where the outcome seems more clear, are also yet to report their votes. In Alaska, only 56 percent of the state’s ballots had been counted, less than in any other state, by Sunday morning. There is little question that Mr. Trump will take the state’s three electoral votes.

In North Carolina, 98 percent of the estimated vote total has been reported, and Mr. Trump is leading.

Overnight across the country, Biden supporters continued to celebrate with flags in Times Square, cruising through Las Vegas and West Hollywood, dancing in Brooklyn and throwing glitter in Philadelphia.


Days after the election in 2016, the comedian Dave Chappelle hosted a somber episode of “Saturday Night Live” that had been expected to be a celebration of Hillary Clinton. On Saturday, he was back to host the first post-election episode, hours after former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. gave his victory speech.

After an opening sketch that lampooned weary CNN journalists and President Trump’s refusal to concede, Chappelle struck a conciliatory tone in his monologue. Invoking his 2016 appearance on the show, he said, “I would implore everybody who’s celebrating today to remember.”

It’s good to be a humble winner. Remember when I was here four years ago? Remember how bad that felt? Remember that half the country, right now, still feels that way. Please remember that. Remember that for the first time in the history of America, the life expectancy of white people is dropping. Because of heroin, because of suicide. All these white people out there, that feel that anguish, that pain, they’re mad because they think nobody cares — maybe they don’t, but let me tell you something, I know how that feels. I promise you, I know how that feels.

Chappelle encouraged viewers to “fight through” their feelings of hostility and resentment.

“You’ve got a find a way to live your life,” he said. “You’ve got to find a way to forgive each other.”


As news of the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Kamala Harris made its way across the globe, world leaders reacted. Below are some of the responses from leaders across Asia and the Pacific.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India congratulated Mr. Biden, writing on Twitter that during his time as President Barack Obama’s vice president, Mr. Biden had made a “critical and invaluable” contribution to strengthening U.S.-India relations.

Mr. Modi tweeted a separate message to Ms. Harris, the daughter of a woman from India, who will become the first woman and first woman of color to serve as vice president. He mentioned her “chittis,” a Tamil word for aunts that she used in her speech at the Democratic National Convention in August.

“Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans,” Mr. Modi wrote.

President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan congratulated Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris and said the country looked forward to working with the United States, “our foundational partner,” on counterterrorism and the Afghan peace process.

Abdullah Abdullah, who is leading the country’s peace talks with the Taliban in a power-sharing deal with Mr. Ghani, congratulated Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris on their victory “and also the American people for their historic election turnout.”

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines once crudely disparaged Mr. Obama but has been friendlier with President Trump, who lauded his “great relationship” with the Philippine leader despite accusations of human rights abuses. Still, through a spokesman, Mr. Duterte congratulated Mr. Biden.

“We look forward to working closely with the new administration of President-elect Biden anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit and shared commitment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” said the spokesman, Harry Roque.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of Malaysia said that American voters had “decided decisively in endorsing Mr. Biden as the 46th president of the United States for his leadership and vision.”

President Joko Widodo congratulated Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris on their “historic election.” He said on Twitter that the huge turnout was “a reflection of the hope placed on democracy.”

Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, who had worked diligently to build a relationship with Mr. Trump, congratulated Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris and said Australia welcomed Mr. Biden’s “commitment to multilateral institutions and strengthening democracies.”

He also thanked Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, saying Australia would continue to work with the administration during the transition.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, who recently won re-election, congratulated Mr. Biden and welcomed his cooperative spirit.

“There are many challenges in front of the international community right now,” she said. “The message of unity from Joe Biden positions us well to take those challenges on.”

Yoshihide Suga, who took over in September from Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, congratulated Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris and said he looked forward to working with them to “ensure peace, freedom and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.”

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, where 28,500 American troops are stationed, congratulated Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris in a Twitter post, saying “the bond between our two countries is rock-solid.​”

He ended his message with “Katchi Kapshida​,” or “We go together,” the slogan of the six-decade military alliance between the two countries.

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy that is claimed by China, retweeted the congratulatory message that Mr. Biden sent after Ms. Tsai’s re-election in January, saying that it was her turn. “The values on which we have built our relationship could not be stronger,” she said.

Xi Jinping, China’s leader, had yet to issue a statement, but Chinese state news media reacted with cautious optimism, though many outlets warned of continuing tension between the United States and China over issues like trade, Taiwan and the democracy movement in Hong Kong.

Reporting was contributed by Hannah Beech, Amy Qin, Damien Cave, Motoko Rich and Choe Sang-Hun.


Adam Nagourney in Los Angeles

Joe Biden’s victory speech set a tone that was very different from President Trump’s, invoking his own spirituality and sharing credit with others.

Read more takeaways


Matt Stevens in New York

Joe Biden had to flip a few states that went to President Trump in 2016 and hold on to Democratic-leaning battleground states to win the election.

Here’s how it happened

As President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris spoke in Wilmington, Del., some supporters and others paused in cities around the country to listen in.

Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

In Washington Square Park in Manhattan, where hundreds gathered to cheer President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, the afternoon’s celebrations carried on into the night, transforming the park into a cathartic commune. Some shared bottles of champagne with strangers, while others waved Biden-Harris flags. People shimmied to drum circle rhythms, and on the west side of the park, the crowd sang lyrics in response to a trumpet’s blare: “Hey hey hey, goodbye.”

But on benches, some sat quietly and listened to Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s speeches via earbuds and loudspeakers.

Adeline Henderson, 46, split a pair of earbuds with her partner. She said she had waited long enough to hear the president-elect and vice president-elect speak.

“We kept the faith and the patience Biden asked us for,” Ms. Henderson said. “With the weather today, I thought, ‘Today’s sunshine is going to bring some good news.’”

She said that as a Black woman and mother of Black daughters, she found Ms. Harris’s speech “very empowering.”

On another bench, Jesell Castillo, 45, and her husband, Reinaldo Laureano, 45, listened to the speeches on a Bluetooth speaker. Ms. Castillo began celebrating by banging on a pot outside her window in Bushwick, and came into Manhattan with Mr. Laureano later in the evening to celebrate among the crowds.

“Hearing Biden only helped us gain confidence,” she said.

Mr. Laureano said it felt as if Mr. Biden would look out for all Americans and try to help everyone succeed.

“I got the feeling that he’s going to unite America, and that’s what we need right now: stability in the White House,” he said.

Credit…Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

As some supporters of President Trump rejected the outcome of the election during events across the country on Saturday, a series of demonstrations at state capitol buildings devolved into violence that included punches and pepper spray.

In Sacramento, videos captured arguments that ended in shoving and punching, including one confrontation that resulted in a woman with a bloodied nose and another in which about a dozen people had a brief fight on the street. Some of the people involved appeared to be wearing apparel of the Proud Boys, a far-right group notorious for engaging in violence.

Similar scenes played out in Salem, Ore., where the Proud Boys were also in attendance as part of a pro-Trump demonstration. Videos captured a person wearing the group’s apparel using pepper spray on someone, another person in the crowd throwing a punch and a crowd that surrounded and struck a vehicle with fists and a baseball bat. Another fight developed earlier in the day in Lansing, Mich., where Trump supporters had also gathered to insist, with unfounded claims, that he had won the election. There was also a brief scuffle reported in Olympia, Wash.