Here are the latest developments:
- Congratulatory messages poured in from around the world to Biden and vice president-elect Kamala D. Harris.
- Spontaneous celebrations broke out on streets in London, Berlin and other cities.
- President Trump has continued to make unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud, retweeting misleading claims about the integrity of the vote count.
- Trump’s far-right allies, notably Brexit party leader Nigel Farage, encouraged him to keep up the fight and railed against mail-in ballots.
U.S. allies and rivals looked ahead to a Biden presidency on Saturday as Biden crossed the 270-electoral vote threshold with a win in Pennsylvania. But the expected normal flood of congratulatory messages from world leaders might be muted by uncertainty over Trump’s threats to challenge the outcome and the election process. Officials and media around the world lamented the polarization and dysfunction in one of the world’s oldest democracy. But shouts of “Biden” and cheers broke out in Berlin, London and other cities.
Many hope the period of American isolationism and country-first populism under President Trump will give way to an era of renewed U.S. global leadership and embrace of multilateralism to tackle common challenges.
“It’s good that there are finally clear numbers. We look forward to working with the next U.S. administration,” tweeted German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. “We want to invest in cooperation for a transatlantic new beginning, a new deal.”
Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji, was among the first to congratulate Biden outright even before the race was formally called, saying in a tweet that they must work together to confront a warming planet and rebuild the global economy.
Hours later, congratulations from world leaders and others — who were watching the vote count unfold — were finally uncorked as soon as U.S. media organizations declared Biden the winner. Leaders with diverse views and priorities — from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron to Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa — were among the first to share their enthusiasm for working with Biden.
“While some of the processes are still playing out, it is now clear @JoeBiden has won,” tweeted British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab.
Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, hailed “President-Elect Joe Biden and the history-making Vice President-Elect Kamala D. Harris.”
“I want to congratulate the new President Elect of the USA @JoeBiden Joe Biden has been a true friend of this nation throughout his life and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead,” wrote Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin in a nod to Biden’s Irish heritage.
“I heard a Pan-European sigh of relief, when Biden’s victory was called,” said a German member of European Parliament, Reinhard Bütikofer.
The editor of the conservative-leaning British newspaper the Evening Standard and former British Chancellor George Osbourne tweeted that “whether you’re on the left or right: moderation, integrity, seriousness and the mainstream are back.”
The news of Biden‘s victory broke in Israel just as the Sabbath was lifting and crowds were gathering for what has become a weekly ritual: protesting against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside of his Jerusalem residence. Some already carried signs reading “ Bibi you are next,” citing Netanyahu’s nickname.
Mehbooba Mufti, an opposition politician in India and former Minister of Jaamu and Kashmir, tweeted that “their win gives hope to rest of the world that right wing extremism & those who sow division & hatred will sooner or later be relegated to the pages of history like Donald Trump.”
Others continued to focus on the battered image of American democracy — sometimes with open glee.
The People’s Daily China, an official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, pointed to Trump’s earlier comment that he had won with “HaHa” and a laughing emoji.
While Trump clashed with many world leaders, he also cultivated close relationships with the populists and other allies in countries including Israel, India, and Hungary. Their leads had no immediate comment, though some opposition politicians were quick to reach out to Biden and Harris.
“It makes us proud that the first woman to serve as Vice President of the USA traces her roots to India,” tweeted India’s main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi.
“A White House without Trump should bring a less racist world,” tweeted Ahmad Tibi, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament. ”
The Times of India, which anticipated Biden’s win with the headline “Bye Don, It’s Biden Finally,” said that H1-B work visas — allowing nonimmigrants to work in the United States — are unlikely to return in their previous scale or numbers, even if the Biden administration has a more favorable immigration policy. But it noted that the Democrats could be stronger on human rights violations in India. The newspaper also described celebrations in Harris’ ancestral village in southern India — the birthplace of her maternal grandfather — where residents were feeling festive ahead of the traditional Diwali celebrations.
In China, relations with the United States have plummeted to their lowest ebb in 40 years amid bitter disputes over trade, technology, human rights and the coronavirus pandemic. But hopes have been stirred that, despite fundamental differences, a Biden win might act as a circuit-breaker and offer a window for cooperation in certain areas.
From Beijing’s perspective, “a Biden presidency is more likely to put a floor under the current free-fall in relations, judging by his recent remarks on China and those of his foreign policy advisers,” wrote Wang Xiangwei, a columnist and editorial adviser at the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post. Chinese officials, he said, are hoping for at least a short-term respite to the vitriol that has dominated Sino-U. S. relations under Trump.
Still, an op-ed in the nationalistic Global Times tabloid noted deep partisan divisions in the United States that it said would not be easily eased.
“The U.S. will remain united from outside but divided from within, no matter who is president,” wrote Zhang Jiadong, a professor at the Center for American Studies at Fudan University.
Iranian officials have largely avoided commenting on the election impasse and its possible implications for U.S. policies, such as the future of economic sanctions and the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama-Biden administration. Trump withdrew from the pact two years ago and has stepped up sanctions on Tehran.
“For us, the individual and the party are not important; rather, what matters is the policies to be adopted by the U.S. government,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday. Rouhani has urged the U.S. to return to its commitments under the nuclear deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and rejected Trump’ calls to renegotiate it.
The Chairman of Tehran’s City Council, Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, on Saturday congratulated the family of Qasem Soleimani, the former commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, who was killed in a U.S. military drone strike in January near Baghdad. Rafsanjani said the targeted killing helped cause “Trump’s heavy defeat,” BBC Persian reported.
Iranians, battered by an economic crisis alongside the coronavirus, have been following the election with intense scrutiny. Aftab-e Yazd, an Iranian reformist newspaper, declared on its Saturday front page: “A world without Trump.”
The global pandemic added urgency to Biden’s pledge to reverse Trump’s approach, which has left the United States estranged from the World Health Organization and facing the highest numbers of deaths and new cases at home.
After Trump withdrew from the World Health Organization — in protest of what he claim was a bias toward China — Biden this summer pledged to rejoin the U.N.’s health agency on his first day in office. Biden is a “globalist at heart,” wrote Natasha Kassam, a research fellow at Sydney’s Lowy Institute political think tank, in the Guardian.
“When it comes to global public health,” she added, “America has literally left the building.”
Jabs and jeers at Trump
With Trump still seemingly determined to contest the election results in court, some expressed fears for what he might unleash, even if he eventually concedes.
“The squatter” was the title of the Saturday cover of Der Spiegel, a leading German news magazine. A defiant, fatigue-clad Trump is depicted holding a rifle, barricaded in the Oval Office with a bullet-holed picture of a smiling Biden in the backdrop.
In Britain, the Guardian declared Trump in a “fight against reality,” but noted in an editorial that Biden would have his work cut out to “rebuild the U.S. government’s credibility after Trumpism hollowed out its institutions.”
“He will have to reassert America’s role as the global problem-solver,” it said. “Under Mr. Trump the ‘indispensable nation’ disappeared when it was needed the most.”
Others mocked Trump’s efforts to remain in power. “One small hand clinging to everything except reality,” read the front page of the Saturday Paper in Australia.
The Japanese government, meanwhile, warned its nationals in the United States that they may become caught up in election-related violence, and told people to take precautions, including “considering whether it is appropriate to travel to work while protests continue,” according to the Mainichi newspaper.
The Trump brand continued to find support among those on the far right who support Trump’s nativist-driven populism. Nigel Farage, who leads the U.K.’s Brexit party, wrote in an opinion piece that he believed Trump is right to “keep up the fight,” and repeated the president’s untruths that widespread postal voting is problematic and open to fraud.
In Japan, a burger outlet near a U.S. naval base followed a long tradition of naming a burger after every sitting American president by adding the Biden Burger to its menu. The owner began serving the Trump burger four years ago and wanted to be ready for the impending result as the vote count nears a conclusion, according to public broadcaster NHK.
The Biden Burger pays homage to his Scranton, Pa., roots. It comes with Philadelphia-style cheese and potato chips to represent Pennsylvania, a major chip producer. The Trump Burger has a dash of jalapeño, “supposedly reflecting Trump’s sharp tongue,” NHK wrote.
David Crawshaw in Hong Kong contributed to this report.