Joyous celebrations erupted in Washington on Saturday after Joe Biden was declared winner of the US presidency, as several thousand people poured into the streets of the US capital — some of them chanting, cheering and singing in front of the White House.
Its occupant, President Donald Trump, was far from the cacophony in the early afternoon, playing golf in neighboring Virginia after tweeting inflammatory and unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud.
That did nothing however to dampen enthusiasm in the city, where drivers honked their horns, residents banged pots and pans, and people hooted and hollered in parks and on hiking trails — scenes seen in other Democratic-leaning cities across the country, from New York to Los Angeles.
“I’m here to celebrate,” said Jack Nugent, a 24-year-old software engineer as he walked to Black Lives Matter Plaza, an area that was the epicenter of recent protests about racial justice, on an usually hot and sunny November day.
“I’m really happy with the outcome. It’s been so many years waiting for this day to happen.”
Many people turned out with their loved ones, friends — and even pets.
Yannh Djedjro, a 32-year-old who works in software and came to BLM Plaza with his fiancee and baby daughter, said: “I think it’s amazing. People are ecstatic, everyone is happy, the people have spoken.”
Like Washington itself, the crowd was ethnically diverse and included people from a wide range of ages.
It was a moment of catharsis for many who felt marginalized under Trump, with flags from the LGBT community, BLM and others flying.
“I’m Venezuelan but I’ve been living here for 10 years so it means a lot for me,” said Rafael Contreras, 28.
“I think it’s a hope for a better future for this country, especially for immigrants who have been feeling for the past four years that they’re not welcome and they’ve been rejected by this country.”
Yolanda, a 56-year-old Black woman who is receiving disability payments because she’s being treated for cancer, added she was ecstatic.
“We won the presidency, that’s what brought us out here!” she said.
Music blasted from loudspeakers, and chants included “Thank you Stacey” — in reference to the voter drive led by Georgia politician Stacey Abrams that may help Biden ultimately win the Republican stronghold.
Many signs meanwhile turned Trump’s catchphrase on the hit show “The Apprentice” against him: “Hey Trump…You’re Fired!” while the crowd sang a song often used at protests: “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, good bye.”
The atmosphere stood in complete contrast to the empty streets and despondency seen four years ago, when the capital overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton — but she lost to Trump.
In New York, revelers cheered in Manhattan, including hundreds gathered outside Trump Tower. In Los Angeles, drivers blared their horns and people danced in the streets.
Trump supporters see fraud
While America’s big cities celebrated, in other parts of the country, Trump supporters reacted with disbelief and denial, with many repeating the president’s unsubstantiated claims of a stolen vote.
At the Maricopa County Elections Department in Phoenix, Arizona, Sharron Morris, a 51-year-old trauma recovery life coach, said: “I want my voice heard, it’s wrong to win elections by fraud.
“Winning elections peacefully and honesty is the American way and I believe in that but that is not what is happening here.”
In Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, some said they still believed the US Supreme Court would overturn the result.
Maria Teresa Chao, an 86-year-old Cuban American, said the election felt like a long baseball game which hadn’t yet entered its final inning.
“The Supreme Court is the one that has to decide and is going to hit that home run. The evidence against Biden is overwhelming,” she said.