Trump rages over ‘stolen’ election as Biden prays
President-elect Joe Biden visited church and the graves of his late son, daughter and wife early Sunday as a defiant Donald Trump headed back to the golf course.
Mr Trump again claimed the election was stolen and that he would fight the result, as members of his inner circle were reported to be urging him to accept defeat.
After a night when the White House was surrounded by a raucous victory party for Mr Biden, he was greeted at the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia about 10am by a clutch of protesters.
"ORANGE CRUSHED," said one sign, while another said "TRUMPTY DUMPTY HAD A GREAT FALL".
First Lady Melania Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner were reported to have tried to talk Mr Trump down from his determination to challenge the legitimacy of thousands of votes for his rival.
But he appears to be ignoring the advice, calling election officials running the count in Democrat-run cities "thieves".
"The big city machines are corrupt. This was a stolen election. Best pollster in Britain wrote this morning that this clearly was a stolen election, that it's impossible to imagine that Biden outran Obama in some of these states," he tweeted Sunday morning, local time.
"We should look at the votes. We're just beginning the tabulation stage. We should look at these allegations. We're seeing a number of affidavits that there has been voter fraud. We have a history in this country of election problems."
And one of Mr Trump's Republican political foes warned that he was unlikely to go "quietly in the night" and would only accept a legal outcome to his electoral challenges that favoured the president.
"You're not going to change the nature of President Trump … He is who he is. He has a relatively relaxed relationship with the truth," said Utah Senator Mitt Romney on Sunday morning, local time.
"I'm convinced that once all remedies have been exhausted, if those are exhausted in a way that's not favourable to him, he will accept the inevitable.
"But don't expect him to go quietly in the night. That's not how he operates.
"I would prefer to see a more graceful departure but that's just not in the nature of the man."
It comes as former President, George W. Bush, congratulated Mr Biden on his win. Mr Bush is one of the few Republicans to publicly congratulate the Democratic victor.
"I just talked to the President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden," Mr Bush said in a statement.
"I extended my warm congratulations and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night. I also called Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her historic election."
Mr Bush described Mr Biden as "a good man" who would "lead and unify" America.
Mr Bush said that, while US President Donald Trump has the right to pursue legal challenges and recounts, the 2020 race was "fundamentally fair" and "its outcome is clear."
Mr Bush also offered congratulations to Mr Trump "on a hard-fought campaign," nodding to his "extraordinary political achievement" of winning the votes of more than 70 million Americans, the second-most in history behind Mr Biden. "They have spoken, and their voices will continue to be heard through elected Republicans at every level of government," Mr Bush said.
BIDEN PROMISES TO BE A LEADER 'FOR ALL AMERICANS'
Mr Biden promised to be a leader for all Americans in an uplifting victory speech as cities across the country erupted into spontaneous street parties to celebrate his win.
Mr Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris both sought to unify the divided country in their addresses before a crowd of a thousand supporters in Delaware, who sat in and on their cars to watch.
Mr Biden, 77, will be the oldest US president, while Ms Harris is the first female vice president, and the first black woman and East Asian woman on a presidential ticket.
In his 15-minute speech, Mr Biden said Americans had chosen unity, joy and faith over the chaos of the past four years.
"I sought this office to restore the soul of America and to make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home," he said to honks and cheers from the crowd.
Mr Biden said his first priority was to unite a deeply divided nation struggling with social unrest, the pandemic and a tanking economy.
"I pledge to be a president who does not seek to divide, but unify, who doesn't see red states and blue states, but only sees the United States," he said.
President Donald Trump has not conceded and his lawyers have prepared more than a dozen legal challenges in which they allege wrongdoings ranging from voter fraud to corrupt ballot counters.
He was golfing when the election was called after almost four days of counting.
He responded with a series of furious tweets.
"I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!," he said, saying that his 71 million votes were legal but that the Democrat contender's weren't.
The bitter 45th president faces increasing calls to step down graciously to ensure his legacy and any chance of a 2024 run, but all indications are that he is settling in for a fight.
Ms Harris, 55, introduced Mr Biden in Delaware with a resounding speech that acknowledged his role in making history with his appointment of her.
"While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a county of possibilities," she said.
"To the children of our country, regardless of your gender, your country has sent you a clear message.
"Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourselves in a way that others may not, simply because they'd never seen it before."
She said she would work for all "American people, no matter how you voted".
"I will strive to be a Vice President like Joe was to President Obama. Loyal, honest and prepared, waking up every day thinking of you and your family, because now is when the real work begins," she said.
"Joe is a healer, a uniter, a tested and steady hand, a person whose own experience of loss gives him a sense of purpose that will help us as a nation reclaim our own sense of purpose and man with a big heart who loves with abandon."
She also praised the 74 million Americans who had turned out to vote for Mr Biden.
"Thank you for turning out in record numbers to make your voices heard," she said.
"And I know times have been challenging. Especially the last several months.
"The grief, sorrow and pain. The worries and the struggles. But we have also witnessed your courage, your resilience, and the generosity of your spirit.
"For four years, you marched and organised for equality and justice. For our lives, and for our planet.
"And then you voted, and you delivered a clear message.
"You chose hope and unity, decency, science. And yes, truth."
Mr Biden said his priorities after Inauguration Day next January 20 would be handling the pandemic, healing racial inequality and fixing the shattered economy.
But before then he urged a peaceful transition of power.
"Let this grim era of demonisation in America begin to end - here and now," he said.
"The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to co-operate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control.
"It's a decision. It's a choice we make.
"And if we can decide not to co-operate, then we can decide to co-operate. And I believe that this is part of the mandate from the American people. They want us to co-operate.
"We have to stop treating our opponents as enemies. They are not our enemies, they are Americans.
"It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric and see each other again."
Originally published as Trump rages over 'stolen' election as Biden prays