‘Mandate to tackle the pandemic, struggling economy’

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden. File   | Photo Credit: AP

‘Mandate to tackle the pandemic, struggling economy’

Democrat Joe Biden said on Friday night that American voters have made it clear that they want the country to come together.

“They made it clear they want the country to come together, not continue to pull apart,” said Mr. Biden, from his home State of Delaware.

Mr. Biden’s speech was originally planned as a victory celebration, but he changed his approach in the absence of a call on the result from television networks and other election forecasters.

President Donald Trump has nothing on his public schedule for Saturday. He said in a statement issued by his campaign on Friday that “all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted,” while accusing Democrats of resisting that call.

Election officials say there has been no evidence of fraud.

Although the popular vote does not determine the outcome, Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump by 4.18 million votes nationwide out of a record 147 million cast. He said on Friday Americans had given him a mandate to tackle the pandemic, the struggling economy, climate change and systemic racism.

Mr. Biden, who said he hoped to address Americans again on Saturday, said Mr. Trump’s demands to stop the count would not work.

“Your vote will be counted. I don’t care how hard people try to stop it. I will not let it happen,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Trump gave no indication he was ready to give up.

“Joe Biden should not wrongfully claim the office of the President. I could make that claim also. Legal proceedings are just now beginning!” he wrote on Twitter.

A Trump adviser described the campaign’s litigation strategy as chaotic and disorganised. Another Republican official said it was doubtful the lawsuits would yield a Trump victory.

“This race is over, and the only person who doesn’t see it is Donald Trump,” said the official.

Republicans aimed to raise at least $60 million for legal costs, although the fine print on solicitations indicates that more than half the money would go to paying down the campaign’s debts.

In one potential bright spot for Mr. Trump, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ordered county election boards in Pennsylvania to follow a state directive to separate mail-in ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day from other ballots.