How The World Reacted To Joe Biden Being Announced President In The 2020 Election

Recent History | November 13, 2020

People celebrate in the streets after the major networks declare Joseph Biden the winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. (Sdkb/Wikimedia Commons)

As nail biters go, the 2020 election was right up there with Kerry Strug's one-legged vault in 1996. For the week of November 3–7, Americans sat in a state of nervous limbo as election offices around the country counted in-person votes as well as the overwhelming number of mail-in ballots that had rolled in, thanks to the COVID-19 epidemic that continued raging through the U.S. and compelled many voters to stay home on Election Day.

The rest of the world watched equally anxiously as the election was decided at a glacial pace, but on Saturday, November 7, 2020, Joe Biden crossed the electoral finish line to be named the next President of the United States. Reactions to the 2020 election ranged from celebration to outrage, but for everyone glued to the election coverage, there was mostly just relief that at least that hurdle in a year plagued by political circus and, well, a plague had been leaped and left behind.

Dancing In The Streets

Following the announcement that Biden had secured Michigan and Pennsylvania, earning him those magic 270 electoral votesmany of his supporters took to the streets in impromptu celebration of this turn in the political tide. Pandemic be damned, the festivities cascaded throughout cities like Austin, Chicago, and New York City, but for obvious reasons, it was particularly boisterous in Washington, D.C. Crowds impeded traffic for blocks around the White House, with many people standing on their cars and holding signs and placards, many of which simply expressed the relief that comes with the end of four complicated years of U.S. and international politics. In Los Angeles, revelers drove down Sunset Boulevard, honking their horns as others held signs and popped champagne.

Trump rally in Louisville, Kentucky, March 20, 2017. (Office of the President of the United States/Wikimedia Commons)

Accusations Of Voter Fraud

It wasn't all partying in the streets. Many Trump supporters were shocked by and suspicious of the result, convinced that the only way their man could have lost was through voter fraud. Chants of "We will be here forever" rose from Trump supporters on the steps of the Michigan State Capital, and similar gatherings occurred in Arizona and Texas while various calls for recounts and even halting the count on suspicion of voter fraud were declared outside election facilities in states like Nevada and Georgia, who were still counting mail-in and absentee votes more than a week after Election Day.

Donald Trump returns to the White House after golfing on November 7, 2020, finding a crowd cheering for his apparent loss against Joe Biden. (Carlos Barria/Wikimedia Commons)

Refusing To Concede

When Biden's victory was announced, President Trump was playing golf, and he returned to a world he didn't recognize and refused to believe. He took to social media, claiming the election results were fraudulent and that he received 70 million votes, more than any sitting president. That was true, but it was also true that Biden had received 74 million votes, and the total number of votes across the country was irrelevant to the electoral college system anyway.

As the president stewed over the election results, his campaign filed a series of lawsuits in battleground states, hoping to overturn each of their counts, but things weren't looking good. On November 11, 2020, longtime G.O.P. strategist Karl Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

To win, Mr. Trump must prove systemic fraud, with illegal votes in the tens of thousands. There is no evidence of that so far. Unless some emerges quickly, the president's chances in court will decline precipitously when states start certifying results.

Donald and Melania Trump posing with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other world leaders at the 45th G7 summit. (White House/Wikimedia Commons)

World Leaders React

The United States isn't the only country with a stake in its politics, so naturally, leaders around the world joined the unwashed masses in voicing their reactions to the 2020 election. The consensus was undeniably positive, with many congratulating former Vice President Biden and sharing anecdotes about their relationships with him. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote:

Congratulations, Joe Biden and [running mate] Kamala Harris. Our two countries are close friends, partners, and allies. We share a relationship that's unique on the world stage. I'm really looking forward to working together and building on that with you both.

Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin stated:

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. I also look forward to welcoming him back home when the circumstances allow!

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu got in on the fun, too, adding:

Congratulations Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Joe, we've had a long & warm personal relationship for nearly 40 years, and I know you as a great friend of Israel. I look forward to working with both of you to further strengthen the special alliance between the US and Israel.

Not every world leader was stoked about the possibility of a Biden presidency, but rather than speak out directly against the results of the 2020 election, world leaders like Russia's Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro kept mum.

Biden in Henderson, Nevada, February 2020. (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)

Biden Spoke To A Divided Country 

On the evening that his victory was declared, Biden gave a speech in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, where he called for unity from a deeply divided nation. Speaking directly to Trump supporters, he stated:

For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight. I've lost a couple of times myself. But now, let's give each other a chance. It's time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again. And to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies ... This is the time to heal in America.

Tags: American presidents | political campaigns | voting

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Jacob Shelton


Jacob Shelton is a Los Angeles based writer. For some reason this was the most difficult thing he’s written all day, and here’s the kicker – his girlfriend wrote the funny part of that last sentence. As for the rest of the bio? That’s pure Jacob, baby. He’s obsessed with the ways in which singular, transgressive acts have shaped the broader strokes of history, and he believes in alternate dimensions, which means that he’s great at a dinner party. When he’s not writing about culture, pop or otherwise, he’s adding to his found photograph collection and eavesdropping on strangers in public.