- On Saturday, several news outlets called the 2020 election, declaring former Vice President Joe Biden the victor.
- Former Presidents Obama and Bush both sent their well wishes to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Other global leaders reached out as well, saying they were ready to work with the new administration.
- People also celebrated across the country, throwing dance parties in the street, honking horns, and popping champagne on sidewalks.
- However, President Donald Trump has not conceded the election and is instead pushing false claims of voter fraud. He and his legal team are vowing to bring the matter to court but others in his circle are reportedly trying to figure out how to convince Trump that it really is over for him.
World Celebrates Biden’s Win
After it was announced Saturday that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and would become the 46th president of the United States, people all over the country and the globe celebrated the victory.
Former President Barack Obama congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on the win.
“In this election, under circumstances never experienced, Americans turned out in numbers never seen,” Obama said in a statement. “And once every vote is counted, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will have won a historic and decisive victory.”
Former President George W. Bush also extended his well wishes.
“Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Bush wrote.
“The fact that so many of our fellow citizens participated in this election is a positive sign of the health of our democracy and a reminder to the world of its strength. No matter how you voted, your vote counted,” he added.
Across the country, people also celebrated by dancing, cheering, and popping champagne bottles in city streets. In New York City and Washington D.C., crowds broke out into song during festivities.
In Los Angeles, parades of honking cars took to the streets while people clapped and danced along the sidewalks. At one point, singer John Legend and model Chrissy Teigen were spotted in West Hollywood celebrating with the crowds.
Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the USA,” as well as YG and Nipsey Hussle’s “Fuck Donald Trump” re-entered the charts as people found them to be apt songs to play during these gatherings.
However, Americans were not the only ones celebrating. In London, people set off fireworks. In Paris, people began ringing church bells.
World leaders also sent their congratulations, as is often customary when a new U.S. President is elected. Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, said, “Welcome back America.”
Speeches From Biden and Harris
On Saturday night, Biden and Harris both spoke in Delaware to accept their win. Harris went first, embracing the electoral process and thanking the country in her remarks.
“Protecting our democracy takes struggle, it takes sacrifice, but there is joy in it and there is progress, because we, the people, have the power to build a better future,” Harris said. “When our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, with the very soul of America at stake, and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America.”
Harris, who is Black and Indian, will be the first woman and woman of color in the role. She touched on what this groundbreaking moment meant for her, her family, and women across the country.
“I am thinking about [my mother] and about the generations of women, Black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women who, throughout our nation’s history, have paved the way for this moment tonight. Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all,” she said.
“But 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 country of possibilities.”
During his speech, Biden echoed the ideas he had been sending throughout his campaign, and especially in the last week as the results of the election were a pending uncertainty. He promised to bring the country together and to lead for every American, regardless of how they voted.
“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States, and work with all my heart, with the confidence of the whole people, to win the confidence of all of you,” Biden said. “For that is what America, I believe, is about. It’s about people. And that’s what our administration will be all about.”
“Now this campaign is over, what is the will of people? What is our mandate?” Biden later asked. “I believe it’s this: American have called upon us to marshal the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, to marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time, the battle to control the virus, the battle to build prosperity, the battle to secure your family’s healthcare, the battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country.”
“Folks, I’m a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president. I’ll work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did. Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now.”
Trump Refuses to Concede
But confetti was not flying everywhere. President Donald Trump has spent this weekend sending tweets riddled with misinformation, alleging unfounded claims of voter fraud, and refusing to concede the election.
It has long been expected that should Trump lose, he would not go down without a fight. In fact, just one hour before the election was officially called for Biden, Trump tweeted that he himself was the winner, a false claim he has been making since election day.
He later bragged about how many “legal” votes he got, implying the votes Biden got were illegal, but providing no evidence.
“The simple fact is this election is far from over,” Trump later said in a statement after the election for all intents and purposes, was over.
“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated,” he said. “The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots.”
While Trump can try to make a court game out of this, experts do not believe it will change anything. ABC News spoke to sources within Trump’s White House circle who believe the lawsuits are “pointless and meritless.” Alberto Gonzales, who served as the U.S. Attorney General under George W. Bush, told NPR that they will likely go nowhere.
“I think most experts and certainly all that I have heard that are experts in the election field believe that that would be sort of a fruitless effort,” he said. “But obviously, he’s entitled to do what he thinks is right.”
During a Saturday press briefing at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Pennsylvania (not the hotel) Trump’s legal team continued to spout unbacked claims of voter fraud. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, claimed that voting my mail is inherently fraudulent and that Trump is “not going to concede when at least 600,000 are in question.” Currently, ballots in several states remain uncounted, but their legitimacy is not in question.
Still, Trump thinks that these legal battles are the best course of action for him. According to Vanity Fair : “While Trump has apparently admitted to some people that he knows the electoral math has no chance of working out in his favor, he has ‘maintained that a prolonged court battle and corrosive rhetoric about election fraud would sow enough doubt to allow him to refuse to accept the results.”
Even so, those in his circle are allegedly trying to find a way to sit him down and tell him it’s over.
“The delicate matter of a loss — and a potential post-presidential life — was not discussed widely among his team and was not raised often with the President, who believed adamantly he would win,” CNN reported. “Now, people around Trump are working to identify who might be able to communicate to him the stark reality.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (Vanity Fair) (NPR)
Supreme Court Rejects Third Challenge to Affordable Care Act
In the 7-2 decision, the justices argued the Republican-led states that brought the challenge forth failed to show how the law caused injury and thus had no legal standing.
SCOTUS Issues Opinion on Individual Mandate
The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the third Republican-led challenge to the Affordable Care Act to ever reach the high court.
The issue at hand was the provision of the law, commonly known as Obamacare, that requires people to either purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty: the so-called individual mandate.
The individual mandate has been one of the most controversial parts of Obamacare and it has already been before SCOTUS, which upheld the provision in 2012 on the grounds that it amounted to a tax and thus fell under Congress’ taxing power.
However, as part of the sweeping 2017 tax bill, the Republican-held Congress set the penalty for not having health care to $0. As a result, a group of Republican-led states headed by Texas sued, arguing that because their GOP colleagues made the mandate zero dollars, it no longer raised revenues and could not be considered a tax, thus making it unconstitutional.
The states also argued that the individual mandate is such a key part of Obamacare that it could not be separated without getting rid of the entire law.
The Supreme Court, however, rejected that argument in a 7-2 decision, with Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissenting.
Majority Opinion Finds No Injury
In the majority decision, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that the Republican states had no grounds to sue because they could not show how they were harmed by their own colleagues zeroing out the penalty.
“There is no possible government action that is causally connected to the plaintiffs’ injury — the costs of purchasing health insurance,” he wrote, adding that the states “have not demonstrated that an unenforceable mandate will cause their residents to enroll in valuable benefits programs that they would otherwise forgo.”
Breyer also argued that because of this, the court did not need to decide on the broader issue of whether the 2017 tax bill rendered the individual mandate unconstitutional and if that provision could be separated from the ACA.
The highly anticipated decision will officially keep Obamacare as the law of the land, ensuring that the roughly 20 million people enrolled still have health insurance. While there may be other challenges to the law hard-fought by conservatives, this latest ruling sends a key signal about the limits of the Republican efforts to achieve their agenda through the high court, even with the strong conservative majority.
While the court has now struck down challenges to Obamacare three times, Thursday’s decision marked the largest margin of victory of all three challenges to the ACA.
For now, the ACA appears to be fairly insulated from legal challenges, though it will still likely face more. In a tweet following the SCOTUS decision, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) vowed to keep fighting Obamacare, adding that the individual mandate “was unconstitutional when it was enacted and it is still unconstitutional.”
See what others are saying: (Axios) (The Washington Post) (The Associated Press)
Utah Student With Down Syndrome Left Out of Cheer Squad’s Yearbook Photo
The move marks the second time in three years that Morgyn Arnold has been left out of the school’s yearbook. Two years ago, it failed to include her in the class list.
Two Photos Take, One Without Morgyn Arnold
A Utah school has apologized after a student with Down syndrome at Shoreline Junior High was excluded from her cheerleading squad’s yearbook photo.
The squad took two official team portraits this year. The first included 14-year-old Morgyn Arnold, who had been working as the team manager but attended practices and cheered alongside her other teammates at every home game. The second imsgr did not include her and ended up being the photo the school used across social media and in its yearbook.
Arnold was heartbroken by the decision and her family believed it was made because of her disability.
In social media posts about the move, Arnold’s sister, Jordyn Poll, noted that Arnold “spent hours learning dances, showing up to games, and cheering on her school and friends but was left out.”
“I hope that no one ever has to experience the heartbreak that comes when the person they love comes home from school devastated and shows them that they’re not in the picture with their team,” she continued.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Poll also said this marked the second time in three years that her sister has been left out of the yearbook. Two years ago, the school failed to include her in the class list.
School Apologizes After Backlash
After Poll’s public call out picked up attention, the school said it was “deeply saddened by the mistake.”
“Apologies have been made to the family, and we sincerely apologize to all others impacted by this error,” it added. “We are continuing to look at what has occurred, and to improve our practice.”
The district issued a similar statement, claiming it was looking into why this occurred to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
But Poll said this isn’t the same response her family received when they initially contacted school administrators. Instead, Poll told the Tribune that an employee at the school “blatantly said they didn’t know what we were expecting of them and there was nothing they could do.”
The school has since contacted them again “to make the situation right.”
Meanwhile, Poll stressed that her sister’s teammates had nothing to do with the decision, defending the girls as amazing friends who have done everything to make Arnold feel included.
In fact, they too were disappointed to see that she was not featured in the image or even named as a member of the team in the yearbook.
Arnold’s family decided to speak up about the issue so that this school and others can improve the ways they interact with and include students with disabilities. Different forms of exclusion happen at schools across the country, and this story has prompted other parents of kids with disabilities to share similar experiences.
This kind of thing happens all the time. I can't count the number of times our son has been excluded, or nearly excluded, from events and pictures and related social activities in his 8 years of school. I know this fury.— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) June 16, 2021
A staff attorney at the Disability Law Center of Utah told the Tribune that it receives about 4,000 complaints each year. Some complaints stemmed from students with disabilities being separated into other classrooms without their peers. Others include name-calling or not allowing students on a team or in a club.
Thankfully, Arnold has not let this situation bring her down. According to her family, she has already forgiven everyone involved and plans to continue cheering alongside her friends.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Salt Lake Tribune) (NBC News)
Ex-Shake Shack Manager Sues NYPD Over False Milkshake Poisoning Allegations
The former manager is accusing the police department and its unions of false arrest and defamation relating to the viral incident last summer.
Former Shack Shack Employee Sues One Year Later
The former manager of a New York City Shake Shack restaurant who was falsely accused of poisoning several law enforcement officers’ milkshakes last summer is now suing the city’s police department, its unions, and individual officers.
On June 15, 2020, three officers monitoring the anti-racism protests in Lower Manhattan entered a Shake Shack location for milkshakes, which they later claimed had been poisoned, likely by bleach.
By the end of the night, investigators determined that no one had tampered with the drinks, and the New York Police Department declared there was “no criminality.” Police later said the officers were possibly sickened by a cleaning solution that had not been properly cleaned out of the machines, though Shake Shack claimed it did not find leaks of any foreign substances.
Before that lack of criminality was determined and while the inquiry was ongoing, the police unions and their leaders accused the Shake Shack workers of launching a targeted attack in a series of tweets, which were then shared and discussed widely on social media by prominent conservatives.
The resulting outcome was widespread condemnation and deleting of tweets. Now, almost exactly a year later, the former manager of that Shake Shack, Marcus Gilliam, has accused the parties involved of false arrest and defamation.
According to his lawsuit, the three officers — who are referred to as Officers Strawberry Shake, Vanilla Shake, and Cherry Shake — ordered the drinks via mobile app, meaning the employees could not have known cops placed the order.
Additionally, the documents state the order was “already packaged and waiting for pickup” when the officers arrived, making it impossible for Gilliam or any other employee to have added anything to the shakes when they saw the officers come in to claim them.
After the officers complained about the taste of the milkshakes and threw them out, Gilliam said he apologized and offered them vouchers for free replacements, which they accepted. However, they still told their Sergeant that Gilliam had put a “toxic substance” in their drinks, even though they had disposed of any evidence.
Claims of Wrongful Detainment
The court documents go on to say that another officer arrived and detained the employees, who cooperated with the officer’s investigation. That process included interviews, searches, and tests, which showed no evidence of bleach or other toxins.
The NYPD also conducted a review of security footage, which independently determined that none of the employees put any kind of toxic substances in the officer’s drinks.
Despite all that, and even after the three officers were released from a hospital “without ever showing symptoms,” the NYPD still arrested Gilliam and brought him into the precinct, the suit stated.
Once in the precinct, the former manager was allegedly “interrogated for approximately one to two hours” and detained for around three hours, putting the total time he was detained by police in both the store and the precinct at approximately five to six hours.
Gilliam’s attorney is arguing that the officers had no probable cause or warrants for his arrest. An arrest that the lawsuit says caused him to suffer “emotional and psychological damages and damage to his reputation,” as well as economic damages from legal fees and missed wages, for which he is seeking both punitive and monetary damages.
None of the defendants have responded to requests for comment from the media.