With independent outlets yet to declare victory, Biden urged Americans to keep calm, have faith in the system and stay patient while every vote is counted as he has each day since Election Day.
“I know watching these vote tallies on TV moves very slow, and as slow as it goes, it can be numbing,” Biden said. “But never forget, the tallies aren’t just numbers. They represent votes and voters. Men and women who exercised their fundamental right to have their voice heard.”
Biden stopped short of claiming victory, but did say “the numbers tell us it’s clear.”
“We’re going to win this race,” he said.
As of Friday afternoon, Biden had 253 of the 270 needed while Trump trailed with 214. Biden’s count includes Wisconsin, where ABC News is characterizing him as the apparent winner because the vote is very close and has not yet been certified.
For Biden to obtain a decisive win, he would need Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes or two of the following states: Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and North Carolina. For Trump to win, he would need to win Pennsylvania and three of the aforementioned battlegrounds — a long-shot scenario as he’s currently behind Biden in all of them but North Carolina.
Outside the White House, demonstrators gathered Friday to await the final results as Trump stayed behind closed doors and a cloud of uncertainty hung over the country as protesters gathered outside vote-counting centers in key states.
Despite sending a few tweets, Trump did not come before news cameras to reclaim the narrative with false claims about winning and ballot fraud as he did from the White House on Wednesday and Thursday.
Biden didn’t address Trump’s baseless claims of fraud Friday night, but did say the nation would need to come together.
“We’re certainly not going to agree on a lot of issues,” he said. “But at least we can agree to be civil with one another. We have to put the anger and the demonization behind us. It’s time for us to come together as a nation to heal. It’s not going to be easy. But we have to try.”
His campaign has filed a barrage of lawsuits in a handful of key states — including a petition filed with the Supreme Court arguing against the credibility of Pennsylvania’s election processes and calling for vote-counting to stop in the meantime.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” Trump said Thursday, without citing any evidence of voter fraud.
In a series of suits filed in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Nevada, the Trump team argued a range of complaints, mostly focused on their view that campaign observers were being denied sufficient access to watch mail-in ballots opened. That was paired with the president, his family and surrogates suggesting that there were ballots dumped at counting locations and that his lead “magically” disappeared on election night.
But legal experts who reviewed the lawsuits said they saw no evidence of fraud. And many told ABC News they puzzled over the ultimate objective of cases because they did not seem destined to find the president significant numbers of votes or change the election’s outcome.
Judges in Georgia and Michigan have already dismissed Trump campaign lawsuits for lacking solid evidence.
It’s unlikely Americans will see a traditional concession speech should he lose, sources said. They believe Trump will never admit he lost this election should he lose but instead will stick with the words “rigged,” “fraud” or “stolen.”
There have been discussions in the Trump orbit about who might tell the president the reality that he may not win reelection, sources told ABC News’ John Santucci and Katherine Faulders.
Questioned on Capitol Hill Friday morning, McConnell refused to comment on the baseless claims Trump made Thursday evening, referring reporters instead to a tweet he posted Friday morning echoing Trump’s language with no criticism.
“Here’s how this must work in our great country: Every legal vote should be counted. Any illegally-submitted ballots must not. All sides must get to observe the process. And the courts are here to apply the laws & resolve disputes,” McConnell said in the tweet. “That’s how Americans’ votes decide the result.”
McConnell dismissed repeated questions, saying, “I sent out a statement on Twitter this morning that I think that you’ve all gotten and beyond that I don’t have anything to say on that particular subject.”
But McConnell’s defense of the president wasn’t shared by all of his Republican colleagues.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a member of GOP leadership and a former secretary of state for Missouri, was asked by ABC News’ Trish Turner if the language Trump used in his speech might call into question the basis of American democracy.
“I think the president should turn this discussion over to his lawyers,” Blunt said.
Asked if Trump needs to concede if it’s apparent Biden has won the presidency, as networks make race projections, Blunt said it’s appropriate for Biden to act as president-elect.
“It will happen quickly from whatever the unofficial view of what happened is to the official determination of what happened. That’ll happen quick enough,” Blunt said. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to allow the president to wait for that number to be apparent. I also don’t think it’s unreasonable for the Vice President Biden to accept the unofficial result and do whatever he thinks he should do.”
ABC News’ John Verhovek, John Santucci, Katherine Faulders and Matthew Mosk contributed to this report.