Ian Payne 4am - 7am
Biden wins: Trump defeated in race to the White House
7 November 2020, 17:21 | Updated: 7 November 2020, 20:06
Joe Biden is to become the 46th President of the United States after winning the state of Pennsylvania and surpassing the 270 electoral college votes needed for victory.
After a long and bitter battle with Donald Trump in the race to the White House, the Democrat candidate was declared to have passed the threshold needed to become President-elect after a tumultuous closing period in the contest.
Mr Biden was declared to have won Pennsylvania by major US networks, meaning his lead was insurmountable.
Shortly after his victory was declared, Mr Biden issued a statement: "I am honoured and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris.
"In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America.
"With the campaign over, it's time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation.
"It's time for America to unite. And to heal.
"We are the United States of America. And there's nothing we can't do, if we do it together."
Kamala Harris made history as the first female, black and Asian American vice-president-elect of the US. She said: “This election is about so much more than Joe Biden or me. It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it”
Trump's team has offered no indication the incumbent president plans to concede and instead said they plan to contest the announcement through the courts. Mr Trump was reported to have gone for a game of golf while the winner was being declared.
Before Biden's victory , Mr Trump tweeted: "I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!"
Trump had already launched legal action in several states to try and halt counting of votes, making a series of unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud.
Mr Biden meanwhile had called for calm as votes in key battleground states were counted well past November 3.
Earlier, a top election official dismissed Mr Trump's fresh claims of voter fraud as Mr Biden edged closer to victory.
As soon as Biden's victory was declared, Donald Trump's camp issued a statement saying Joe Biden was "rushing to pose falsely as the winner."
The statement added that they would be stepping up court action from Monday.
Mr Trump said: "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.
"Beginning (on) 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."
Mr Trump had encouraged supporters to descend on counting centres in protest in an effort to influence counts in his favour.
In the small hours of Saturday morning, Mr Biden made a speech declaring "we're going to win this race"
Speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, just before 11pm on Friday local time, he said: "We don't have a final declaration, a victor yet, but the numbers tell us a clear and convincing story.
"We're going to win this race, just look at what has happened since yesterday.
"24 hours (ago), we were behind in Georgia, now we're ahead, and we're going to win that state.
"24 hours ago, we were behind in Pennsylvania and we are going to win Pennsylvania. Now we're ahead, we're winning in Arizona, winning in Nevada, in fact our lead just doubled in Nevada."
Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer said it represented "an important moment for the world."
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: "Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris on your well-deserved win.
"London looks forward to working with you - it's time to get back to building bridges, not walls."
In the course of the counting, Mr Biden picked up the first battleground state of the night, New Hampshire, a small prize that Mr Trump tried to steal from Democrats.
He also won California, the nation's biggest electoral haul, and other predictable victories including Colorado and Virginia, two former battlegrounds that have become Democratic strongholds.
Mr Trump's wins included Kansas, North Dakota and other conservative bastions.
The pair were locked in a bitter rivalry for the White House, with the incumbent Trump beginning legal action and demanding a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia.
There has been no evidence of any signs of wrongdoing at any of the counts.
Election Night was marred with controversy after Trump accused Joe Biden of trying to "steal" the presidency from him in a Tweet later flagged as "disputed" and flagged as "potentially misleading" by Twitter.
He then appeared before the American public to make accusations of a "fraud on the American nation," adding that "we did win this election" and saying he will go to the Supreme Court to get vote counting stopped.
For four years, Democrats had been haunted by the crumbling of the blue wall, the trio of Great Lakes states - Pennsylvania is the third - that their candidates had been able to count on every four years.
But Mr Trump's populist appeal struck a chord with white working class voters and he captured all three in 2016 by a total of just 77,000 votes.
Both candidates this year fiercely fought for the states, with Mr Biden's everyman political persona resonating in blue collar towns while his campaign also pushed to increase turnout among black voters in cities like Detroit and Milwaukee.