Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks one day after Americans voted in the presidential election, on November 04, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden spoke as votes are still being counted in his tight race against incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump which remains too close to call. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Photo: Drew Angerer, Getty Images)
Michiganders had a lot to say after former Vice President Joe Biden earned enough projected electoral votes to clinch a win as President-elect over President Donald Trump on Saturday.
That’s not unexpected – Michigan delivered an essential state win to make it possible.
The announcement also marked a historic moment, as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is the first woman, African American and Asian-American to be elected to the role.
Read how Michigan reacted to the news below, and listen to the Detroit Free Press’ audio briefings throughout the day:
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Jody LaMacchia was surrounded by the strong women in her life – her 90-year-old mother, her wife, her sister-in-law and mother-in-law — when it became clear Saturday morning that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were going to win Pennsylvania, and thus the White House.
They all took a selfie, grinning, in front of the television screen in the family room of her Oxford home.
It was a good moment after a hard four years, LaMacchia, 48, said.
“We were like the frog in the boiling water, and it just kept getting to the point where every single day there was something that would have ended any other presidency,” she said. “I feel tremendously relieved that we have in Joe Biden a genuine caring person that knows the law, knows the constitution, is going to uphold it, isn’t going to try to divide people. He’s going to try and bring people together. And that’s what he’s always done.”
She volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 and knocked on a few doors for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid in 2016. But it wasn’t until after Trump’s election in 2016 that LaMacchia was galvanized to do more.
She joined the North Oakland Democratic Club, organized carloads of activists to travel to Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March in January 2017, hosted postcard and sign-making events in her home in the lead-up to the 2018 midterms, campaigning heavily for U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, state Attorney General Dana Nessel and state Sen. Rosemary Beyer – all of whom rode the pink wave to elected office that year.
And then, LaMacchia ran for office herself. On Tuesday, she lost her bid for the 46th state House District, which includes Addison Township, Brandon Township, Orion Township, Oxford Township. Despite that loss, LaMacchia celebrated other victories in the 2020 election, resolved to continue doing more.
“I feel tremendously fortunate to be able to witness the first woman vice president, the first African American woman vice president. I think it is a really powerful time for women and we’ve seen across the whole world that women leaders, when they step up, they know how to deliver and they know how to bring people together and they know how to lead. They know how to get things done. They know how to listen. They know how to learn. And I think that this is going to be wonderful for our country.
“This is a beautiful day, perhaps the greatest day in democracy in my entire lifetime. … It feels in a way like a big weight is lifted off our shoulders. But we still have to recognize that we have to remain involved. … Democracy doesn’t rest and we have to keep an eye on it, and make sure that we stay involved so this doesn’t happen again.”
— Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press
Exchanges became heated outside the Michigan Capitol following the announcement of Biden’s win on Saturday, the Lansing State Journal reports.
Michigan State Police troopers started separating Trump supporters from counter-protesters amid a gathering in Lansing, LSJ reporter Mark Johnson said about 1:25 p.m. on Twitter.
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah and a Michigan native, offered congratulations via Twitter from both him and his wife to the President-elect and Vice President-elect.
“We know both of them as people of good will and admirable character,” he said. “We pray that God may bless them in the days and years ahead.”
Romney, a former Republican presidential nominee and Massachusetts governor, is the son of the late Michigan Gov. George Romney and was born in Detroit.
Detroit automakers were quick to share their hopes for the future administration as the news came in Saturday,
Ford Motor Co. offered congratulations to Biden, along with all winners of the election, according to a statement from spokeswoman Rachel McCleery.
“It is our hope these leaders will focus on bringing the country together and pursue policies that encourage U.S. manufacturing, sustainability and global economic stability,” she said in the statement.
General Motors also called for policies to support their endeavor, according to a statement from spokeswoman Jeannine Givivan.
“We look forward to working with the new administration and incoming Congress on policies that support our customers, dealers and employees, help strengthen our manufacturing presence in the United States and advance our vision of an all-electric, zero-emissions future,” she said.
— Phoebe Wall Howard, Jamie LaReau, Detroit Free Press
Biden’s win was celebrated in Dearborn, a city with a sizable population of immigrants and Arab-American Muslim residents.
Biden defeated Trump 69% to 30% in the city, according to the city clerk’s results. The city is more than 46% Arab-American, according to Census data.
“The defeat of Donald Trump is not just a defeat of a man, it’s a defeat of an idea and everything that man stood for,” said Majed Moughni, a Dearborn resident and attorney. “It’s a defeat of Islamophobia and xenophobia. It’s a defeat of racism and bigotry. It’s a defeat of white supremacy.”
Moughni also reflected on Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again.”
“Trump’s defeat is a victory for immigrants and minorities. With his defeat, we can finally ‘Make American Great Again,'” Moughni said.
— Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press
Watching their 3-year-old son, Liam, play with other children at Gainsboro Park, Pleasant Ridge couple Emily Bogits and her husband Christian Thomas, 31 and 35, said they were excited about the result.
“It took a while,” Bogits said.
“Relief,” her husband added.
Thomas, though also asked a question: “Where do you go from here to try to heal? Because that’s what we need.”
–Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press
Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump continued to shout their support for the president during a protest at the Michigan Capitol in Lansing on Saturday.
A gathering was already planned in response to concerns raised this week about a stolen election.
Following the announcement of Biden’s win, they continued to levy claims, without evidence, that the election was stolen, according to reports from Lansing State Journal reporter Mark Johnson.
“God’s got this,” one protester said, according to Johnson.
The crowd started chanting “four more years,” in response. They also sang a rendition of the Queen song “We Are the Champions,” LSJ reported via Twitter.
Tears of joy marked the day for Rev. Kenneth Flowers, the pastor of Greater New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit.
“I had tears of joy that we have finally gotten rid of this man Donald Trump and all the hatred, the vitriol, the bitterness, the racism, the rage tweets that he has been giving us these last four years.”
He also highlighted the moment for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the first African American and Asian-American woman to be elected to the role.
“And to have a Black woman, the first woman vice president, to be a woman of color, a Black woman, it just causes my heart to jump and to rejoice and praise God,” Flowers said. “So I am just over elated. I had tears of joy that we have gotten rid of Donald Trump from the office of the president, and I have more tears of joy that we’ve elected the first Black woman as vice president of the United States of America.”
“This is definitely a historic day,” Flowers said.
— Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan celebrated Biden’s win with a photo of him alongside the President-elect holding a “Detroit Vs. Everybody” T-shirt.
The win will have a positive impact on the country and the city, he said.
“President-elect Biden was a friend to Detroit when we were down, helping save our auto industry and helping our city to recovery from bankruptcy, ” he said. “We look forward to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President elect Kamala Harris uniting our country and building a much brighter future.”
President Donald Trump was quick to bite back at the announcement of Biden’s win, a move he’s set the stage for in questioning the counting process and inciting “Stop the Steal” rallies since Election Day.
“We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed,” Trump said in a statement. “The simple fact is this election is far from over.”
He vowed to continue to fight in court over the counting processes and access. He already had one such case in Michigan thrown out, where no evidence of misconduct was shown.
Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone those headed for recounts, Trump said.
He also repeated rhetoric of concerns for “illegal” ballots being manufactured or sent by dead voters.
A false claim of dead individuals casting votes in Wayne County has circulated online, but there is no evidence of that.
More: List of alleged dead voters in Wayne County does not provide evidence of voter fraud
More: Judge throws out Trump lawsuit over counting of Michigan ballots
“I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands,” he said
Whitmer congratulates Biden
Governor Gretchen Whitmer was one of the first to congratulate Biden, as news networks projected the win.
She offered congratulations, too, to now Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on a hard-fought win, before quickly pivoting to the rising coronvarius cases in Michigan and the more than 200,000 person death toll.
“I look forward to working with both of them as we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19, work to rebuild our economy, and save lives,” she said.
“Now, with the election behind us, it is time for the American people to unite against our common enemy: COVID-19 …To our newly elected leaders, from the White House down to the Michigan State Legislature, let’s roll up our sleeves, work together, and beat this virus once and for all.”
United Automobile Workers President Rory L. Gamble was also quick to give Biden a nod, president to President-elect.
Biden has been a supporter of UAW members and labor since his time as a Senator in Delaware, Gamble said in a statement. He called on Americans to unify for the work ahead amid the pandemic.
“Our members, our families and our communities are hurting in this pandemic and with economic challenges, health care challenges and workplace rights and safety challenges as union members,” he said. “These are the issues that unite us as union members regardless of who is in power in the White House, in Congress or our Courts.”
U.S. Senator Gary Peters, a fellow Democrat who also clinched a win in a close race win in Michigan this week, too, focused on the coronavirus in offering his congratulations.
More: Peters defeats James in US Senate race, wins reelection
“Together, we can defeat coronavirus, ensure health care protections for people with pre-existing conditions, put working families before special interests, and boost Michigan manufacturing,” he said. “It is clear we need to heal our country from the politics of division and hyperpartisanship and that will be our mandate as we look ahead and start to build back better.”
Livonia Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan, a Democrat, proudly displayed a Biden-Harris sign on her front lawn during the election and was excited with the news Saturday.
The city saw a record-breaking turnout and was able to process the ballots quickly, thanks to a bipartisan effort on both sides, she said.
She hopes with that effort along with a new U.S. president, Americans will be able to put aside division and work “as a community to serve our democracy,” she said.
“President Biden shares a lot of my views and values,” Brosnan said. “We as Americans are looking for someone to bridge the divisiveness in politics. I am particularly impressed with is views on race relations and what we can do in terms of healing those ills.”
But she remains concerned for the country between now and the inauguration in January, saying she hopes that any resistance from President Donald Trump or his supporters is put aside.
“I hope that everyone concludes, like I did and the residents of Livonia concluded, that this has been a fair process,” Brosnan said. “So many people have engaged in the process to make this happen and it’s fair and it’s time to move on.”
— Jamie Lareau, Detroit Free Press
Darcie Moran is a breaking news reporter and podcaster for the Detroit Free Press. She’s served as an investigative reporter and covered justice issues, crime, protests, wildfires and government affairs. Contact Moran: [email protected] Twitter: @darciegmoran.
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