‘I will never give up’: Trump defiant despite Biden’s breakthroughs

Joe Biden has overtaken Donald Trump by slim margins in two key battleground states, as the race for the White House goes down to the wire.

The Democrat candidate jumped into first place in Republican-held Georgia and Pennsylvania for the first time, meaning if he can stay out in front he will clinch the US presidency.

Counting is still underway, with the results due to be updated throughout the day by election administrators.

US election 2020 live: Follow the latest updates

Sky News understands Mr Biden’s campaign team are “thrilled” at the developments, with staff said to be “elated” and “confident”.

But Mr Trump said in a statement he is no longer contesting “any single election” but “our entire election process”.

“We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government; I will never give up fighting for you and our nation,” he added.

Despite his campaign’s attempts to delay a result, it looks like a nail-biting finish is in sight as the race to get to 270 Electoral College votes enters its final stretch.

Mr Biden is on 253 – and if he picks up 20 more with highly-prized Pennsylvania, he will win the White House and make Mr Trump the first one-term president since George HW Bush.

HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 05: Children take part in a display of the "Count Every Vote" slogan during a Count Every Vote demonstration at the Pennsylvania State Capitol on November 05, 2020 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for MoveOn)
Image:Some protesters have urged administrators to carry on counting

A result there was expected imminently, but an election official said it could be several days before the numbers are confirmed because of having to wait for ballots from members of the armed forces and voters living overseas.

Even without the Rust Belt jewel, Mr Biden would still get over the line with two of Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina.

Donny Wadkins holds a US flag outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center as ballot counting in the presidential election continues inside on November 6, 2020 in Philadelphia. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images)
Image:A final result in Pennsylvania may take several days

He is expected to address the nation tonight to make an appeal for unity and healing.

The most senior Democrat in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, is already treating victory as a given, saying it is “clear” Mr Biden will win and referring to him as “president-elect”.

“His election is historic,” she said – despite no more declarations having been made yet.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 06: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference in the House Visitors Center at the U.S. Capitol on November 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. The 2020 presidential race between incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is still too close to call with outstanding ballots in a number of states including Georgia. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)
Image:Nancy Pelosi called Joe Biden the ‘president-elect’

In Georgia, a recount will get underway due to the race being so tight.

Disputing Mr Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of mass voter fraud, Gabriel Sterling, a local Republican official there overseeing the count, said “we’re not seeing any widespread irregularities”.

And Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate who ran in 2012, said it is “wrong” to claim the election was rigged – warning that doing so “damages the cause of freedom here” and “recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions”.

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 06: Gabriel Sterling, Voting Systems Manager for the Georgia Secretary of State's office, answers questions during a press conference on the status of ballot counting on November 6, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2020 presidential race between incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is still too close to call with outstanding ballots in a number of states including Georgia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
Image:Mr Sterling denied there was any widespread voter fraud

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tried not to wade into the row about the legitimacy of the election.

But he said he has “every confidence” in the checks and balances of the US system and promised to “work closely” with whoever wins.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 06: Protesters, police, members of the media and others converge outside of the Philadelphia Convention Center as the counting of ballots continues in the state on November 06, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Joe Biden took the lead in the vote count on Friday morning from President Trump, bringing him one step closer to winning the election. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Image:The president has inspired mistrust amongst his supporters in the result

Several records have already been broken this election – with Mr Biden, who is leading in the popular vote, getting the most votes achieved by any presidential candidate in history.

And Mr Trump has surpassed the total number of backers he had in 2016 by 3 million votes.

Analysis: Trump may lose, but eroded trust in democracy will last

By Sally Lockwood, news correspondent, in Pennsylvania

US President Donald Trump speaks in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC on November 5, 2020. - Democrat Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump in the race for the 270 electoral votes that will put one of them over the top, with the Democrat's campaign asserting they believe he has enough votes to win in key battleground states that remain undecided, like Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Image:Mr Trump has cried foul and fraud – without evidence

We could have known the result in Pennsylvania before now had postal votes been allowed to be counted before election day.

Instead, on-the-day ballots had to be calculated first under state electoral rules which revealed a lead for Mr Trump.

That margin has evaporated as mail-in ballots were tabulated.

Democrats were more likely to vote by post but the president has used his early lead as an opportunity to cry foul and fraud.

The Trump campaign’s requests to discount postal votes by filing legal challenges in battleground states seem desperate attempts to delay the inevitable.

They already lost court rulings in three states yesterday.

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 06: Election officials proceed with the counting of ballots at the Allegheny County elections warehouse on November 6, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Countng continues as Biden edged ahead of President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania for the first time Friday and leads the president by more than 6,000 votes, a difference of 0.1%. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Image:Counting is still underway in five states

A small number of ballots are being called into question and they would be unlikely to make any material difference to Joe Biden’s current trajectory.

The more defining consequence of these legal disputes is an erosion of trust in America’s democracy.

Mr Trump’s repeated calls to “stop the count” may well have inspired an armed man to drive to Pennsylvania last night allegedly plotting to stop vote counters in the convention centre. The suspect now in police custody.

The Republican candidate’s time in the White House may soon be over – but to the bitter end he is sewing dangerous distrust and division.

There will be no gracious concession speech, no unifying message, just alleging the election has been stolen from him – a parting gift to a country battered and bruised after a traumatic year.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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