Joe Biden becomes US President: All you need to know about career politician who reached Oval Office

2 weeks ago 10

US voters have narrowly rebuffed Republican incumbent Donald Trump's tumultuous leadership and embraced Democrat candidate Joe Biden and his promise of fighting the coronavirus pandemic and fix the economy in a divided nation.

Major US media outlets have called the US presidential election results in the favour of Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris, who will become the first woman, the first Black American and the first American of Asian descent to serve as vice-president of the United States.

Joe Biden, who has spent half a century in public life as a US senator and then Vice-President under Donald Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, will be the oldest person to assume the US president's office at age 78.


Joe Biden, born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and raised in Delaware, was one of the youngest candidates ever elected to the Senate. Before he took office, his wife and daughter were killed, and his two sons badly injured in a 1972 car crash.

Commuting every night on a train from Washington back to Wilmington, Biden fashioned an everyman political persona to go along with powerful Senate positions, including chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees.

Before 2020, Biden had tried his luck in the presidential race twice before in 1988 and 2008.

Biden's 1988 presidential campaign was done in by plagiarism allegations, and his next bid in 2008 ended quietly. But later that year, he was tapped to be Barack Obama's running mate and he became an influential vice president, steering the administration's outreach to both Capitol Hill and Iraq.

While his reputation was burnished by his time in office and his deep friendship with Obama, Biden stood aside for Clinton and opted not to run in 2016 after his adult son Beau died of brain cancer the year before.

Trump's tenure pushed Biden to make one more run as he declared that "the very soul of the nation is at stake."

Joe Biden and Barack Obama sharing a laugh. (Photo: Reuters)

Biden's victory was driven by strong support from groups including women, African Americans, white voters with college degrees and city-dwellers. He was more than four million votes ahead of Trump in the nationwide popular vote count.


At the time of filing this copy, major US media outlets have called Pennsylvania, which has six electoral votes, in favour of Joe Biden, putting his tally comfortably over 270.

Joe Biden also carried Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan on his path to the presidency, flipping states that President Donald Trump won in 2016.

He will be a President for all of our families.

— Dr. Jill Biden (@DrBiden) November 7, 2020

Biden's projected victory came after four days of nail-biting suspense over the outcome of Tuesday's election, with the counting of votes in a handful of battleground states ongoing thanks to a flood of mail-in ballots.

Reacting to his historic win, Joe Biden tweeted, "America, I'm honoured that you have chosen me to lead our great country."

America, I'm honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country.

The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans - whether you voted for me or not.

I will keep the faith that you have placed in me.

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 7, 2020

Acknowledging that he will soon be presiding over a deeply divided nation, Joe Biden wrote, "The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans - whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me."


The biggest ever turnout of voters -- some 160 million people, according to preliminary estimates -- poured out across the United States, ultimately favouring Biden's promise of calm to Trump's rollercoaster.

Although a career politician -- a widely derided group today -- he is seen by many as a sympathetic character, humanized by having endured the loss of his wife, baby daughter and a son.

Yet despite his fervent promises to restore America's "soul," Biden will inherit a shaken, angry country.

President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to restore US moral authority in the world but after four years of norms-shattering by Donald Trump, he will have his work cut out for him.

Joe Biden built his campaign on driving inroads into Trump's working-class base, while selling himself to the rest of the country as the responsible, steady leader needed to confront the Covid-19 crisis.

And in a climate of ferocious political partisanship within the US, where almost every aspect of life is now seen through Democratic or Republican lenses, Biden pledged repeatedly to "be a president for all Americans."

We may be opponents — but we are not enemies.

We are Americans.

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 7, 2020

That gulf in understanding between two Americas will likely continue to rage in Congress, threatening Biden's ability to govern at a time of economic upheaval and an accelerating coronavirus crisis.

After his narrow victory over Trump, the 77-year-old Joe Biden will be the most experienced new president in decades on foreign policy, but he is also facing questions from the left of his Democratic Party on whether his worldview has kept up with the times.

America celebrates. (Photo: Reuters)

In a speech on foreign policy after he announced his candidacy, Biden denounced Trump for his flirtation both with autocrats abroad and white supremacists at home.

"As president, I will remind the world who we are. The United States of America does not coddle dictators. The United States of America gives hate no safe harbour," Biden said in New York.

Writing later in Foreign Affairs, Joe Biden said that for the next president, "picking up the pieces will be an enormous task."

The new president "will have to salvage our reputation, rebuild confidence in our leadership and mobilize our country and our allies to rapidly meet new challenges. There will be no time to lose," he wrote.

Joe Biden vowed to hold a summit of democracies within a year and promised immediately to step up international cooperation on the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.

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