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Reaction pours in to Joe Biden becoming president-elect

Meredith Walsh celebrates the victory of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.  Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, positioning himself to lead a nation gripped by the historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil.  (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Meredith Walsh celebrates the victory of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, positioning himself to lead a nation gripped by the historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Joe Biden is projected to defeat President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States.

In the hours after Biden was announced as the president-elect, Biden supporters poured into the streets in major cities to celebrate, even as Trump supporters gathered to protest the outcome of the election.

Dozens of Democratic Party activists and Joe Biden supporters gathered Saturday afternoon in front of the Duval County Courthouse, saying they want the former vice president to focus on dealing with rising COVID-19 cases and the tension among Americans over the divisive election.

“He has said over and over again, even in his acceptance speech, that he was going to be an American president. He was going to bring this country together after four years of division and building a relationship both with voters that voted for him and those that didn’t vote for him,” said Duval County Democratic Party Chair Daniel Henry.

Crowd gathers at the courthouse to celebrate.
Crowd gathers at the courthouse to celebrate.

About 75 people of all ages and backgrounds gathered along the sidewalk in front of the courthouse, and as people drove by, they waved flags and cheered.

Speakers made note of how there is still more work to do but they say they were proud to see Duval in blue for this election, despite Republican leadership at the local and state levels.

They said now it’s about holding both Biden and themselves accountable.

“How we do it is just redoubling our own personal efforts to be engaged,” one man said.

Democratic State Rep. Angie Nixon said it has been a difficult few days for Democratic voters and leadership because there was so much uncertainty in the race. She said they learned their lesson in 2016 with assuming Biden was the victor before the race was called.

Biden supporters poured into the streets in major cities to celebrate, even as Trump supporters gathered to protest the outcome of the election.
Biden supporters poured into the streets in major cities to celebrate, even as Trump supporters gathered to protest the outcome of the election.

“It’s been very stressful, however, we knew in the back of our minds that we were going to win, but we didn’t want to call it because we called it too soon in 2016 when we thought Hillary was going to win,” Nixon said. “But, again, this should be owed to Black and brown communities, to social justice organizations all across the country rallying and getting involved.”

But the Republican Party is against labeling Biden the president-elect, saying the race for the White House is far from over. They say they want every ballot counted and any voting irregularities to be investigated before the race is called.

Local arms of the Republican Party echoed a statement from RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on Facebook, saying “the media doesn’t decide who wins elections, voters do.”

The Republican Party of Duval County echoes the statement of RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

Posted by Republican Party of Duval County on Saturday, November 7, 2020

Local Republican Rep. Jason Fischer agreed.

“I think it’s a little too early to call,” Fischer said. “If you look back at the election results around the country, several of the states have small margins.”

Florida Rep. Clay Yarborough said the election is too narrow to call without all of the votes in.

“I don’t believe that it is completely over yet. It could still be premature to be doing this because all the votes are still not counted, especially where we see narrow margins in Arizona and in Nevada,” Yarborough said.

Fischer said many steps must be followed, and pointed out the electoral college won’t meet until December.

Fischer said, most importantly, he wants everyone to feel like this was a fair election.

“I want our country to heal,” he said. “I want our country to use this as a unifying moment and if things are called too early, it will be hard for people to accept those results.”


Here’s how political leaders, both current and former, reacted Saturday when Biden became president-elect:

Joe Biden

Biden himself tweeted: “I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not.”

Donald Trump

Text of a statement from Trump on the election result:

"We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed. The simple fact is this 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 that could determine the ultimate victor. In Pennsylvania, for example, our legal observers were not permitted meaningful access to watch the counting process. Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media.

"Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated. The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots. This is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election. It remains shocking that the Biden campaign refuses to agree with this basic principle and wants ballots counted even if they are fraudulent, manufactured, or cast by ineligible or deceased voters. Only a party engaged in wrongdoing would unlawfully keep observers out of the count room – and then fight in court to block their access.

“So what is Biden hiding? I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands.”

The statement was issued while Trump was golfing at his club in Virginia.

Kamala Harris

Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, said: “We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started.”

She also tweeted a video of her on the phone with Biden.

Barack Obama

Former President Barack Obama tweeted: “Congratulations to my friends, @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris — our next President and Vice President of the United States.”

Jimmy Carter

The Carter Center issued the following statement on behalf of former President Jimmy Carter.

Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton said: “Congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on your momentous victory!”

Hillary Clinton

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was defeated by Trump in the 2016 presidential election, tweeted: “The voters have spoken, and they have chosen @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris to be our next president and vice president."

Nikki Fried

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried tweeted out a statement, saying “Americans have sent a message which cannot be ignored — we must build back better.”

Brenda Priestly Jackson

Jacksonville City Councilwoman Brenda Priestly Jackson said: “We just elected a good man as our next US President, not a perfect man, but a man with empathy & striving to be better & unite us.”

Florida Democratic Party

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement:

"Congratulations to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. Today we celebrate the start of a new chapter for our country. We saw record breaking vote totals with Joe Biden winning more votes than any President in history. Today’s win was a victory for America and a victory for the millions of volunteers who gave their time, their heart and their soul to secure this outcome, and we thank them for their commitment to elect leadership that will build America back better.

"Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will work tirelessly to improve the lives of every single American. Their inclusive, clear-eyed leadership is precisely what we need to restore the soul of this nation. The Biden-Harris administration will also make history, as the brilliant Kamala Harris will be both the first woman and the first Black and Southeast Asian Vice President.

“We have much work to do, as a nation and as a state, but Joe Biden has never given up when things are difficult, and neither will we. Along with all Florida Democrats, I cannot wait for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be sworn in as the next President and Vice President of the United States.”


Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez released the following statement:

"The American people chose hope. They chose dignity and opportunity for all. They chose to build back better. And after four years of hate and division, they chose unity. Now it’s time for our nation to come together. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are ready to go to work for American families. They will not just be president and vice president for Democrats, but for all Americans. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will begin to heal our nation’s wounds, rebuild our economy, and put Americans back to work.

"This is a historic victory. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won more votes than any other ticket in American history. We rebuilt the blue wall in the Midwest and flipped formerly red states like Georgia and Arizona. And Kamala Harris made history as the first woman and first person of color to be elected vice president of the United States. We’ll tell our grandchildren about this moment. We’ll tell them how Kamala Harris broke down barriers and showed future generations, especially young women of color, that there is no height to which they cannot aspire. We’ll tell them how millions of Americans organized and mobilized to lift Joe and Kamala to victory.

"This success didn’t happen overnight. It was the result of four years of hard work by countless grassroots activists across the country who marched, organized, and voted for the brighter future they deserve, who turned their anguish into action and made their voices heard. The DNC was proud to support their efforts by building the strongest infrastructure for a party nominee in our history. From the moment I took over the DNC in 2017, we began laying the groundwork to take back the White House and support Democrats at every level of the ballot. We engaged the grassroots and shattered fundraising records; we invested early and organized everywhere; we marched, and we tried to give a voice to the voiceless; we worked hand in hand with state parties and took no voter for granted; we championed diverse candidates and brought barriers of color, creed, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity crashing down. And our work paid off in spades. Over four years, we took back the House, the White House, and governorships across the country. We won hundreds of seats down the ballot and we will compete in two runoff elections that will determine the balance of the Senate.

"So today, we celebrate. We celebrate not just the end of an incompetent and compassionless presidency, but the beginning of a better one – a presidency grounded in the values of inclusion and opportunity for all. A presidency that believes health care is a right, diversity is a strength, and our economy should work for everyone.

“To the families of those who’ve lost loved ones to COVID-19, and to all our Americans yearning for change, our message is simple: You will finally get the leadership you deserve. The era of cruelty, chaos, and corruption is over. It’s time to build back better."

Nancy Pelosi

In a tweet, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi congratulated Biden and Harris.

Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, said: “I want to congratulate all those who worked so hard to make this historic day possible.”

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams, who previously served in the Georgia House of Representatives and was the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor in 2018, also congratulated Biden.

Jon Ossoff

Jon Ossoff, who is in a run-off election with Sen. David Perdue to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate, said “it’s a new day.”

Cindy McCain

Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain, congratulated her “dear friend" Biden on Saturday.

Jeb Bush

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush congratulated Biden in a tweet.

Donna Deegan

Donna Deegan, who was defeated by incumbent U.S. Rep. John Rutherford in Florida’s 4th Congressional District race, said: “I pray with love and compassion our country can begin to heal.”

Kat Cammack

Kat Cammack -- who won Florida’s U.S. House seat held by her former boss, retiring Rep. Ted Yoho -- tweeted: “The American people decide who is President - not the media.”

Mitt Romney

Sen. Mitt Romney said: “Ann and I extend our congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.”

Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg, who also ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, tweeted his congratulations.

About the Authors:

Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.

16-year veteran journalist and Emmy Award winning anchor