Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the top Republican in Congress, on Monday threw his support behind President Trump’s refusal to concede the election, declining to recognize President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory as he argued Mr. Trump was “100 percent within his rights” to challenge the outcome.
In his first public remarks since Mr. Biden was declared the winner, Mr. McConnell, the majority leader, celebrated the success of Republicans who won election to the House and Senate, hailing their victories as decisive. But in the next breath, Mr. McConnell treated the outcome of the presidential election — based on the same ballots that elected those Republicans — as merely “preliminary,” and hammered Democrats for calling on Mr. Trump to accept the results.
“President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options,” the Kentucky Republican said, delivering his first comments since Mr. Biden was declared the winner. “Let’s not have any lectures about how the president should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election.”
Mr. McConnell did not contradict Mr. Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen from him, instead endorsing the president’s vow to pursue a bevy of lawsuits in key swing states aimed at handing him a victory. He said that “this process will reach its resolution” and that the nation’s legal and political system “will resolve any recounts or litigation.”
Following him on the floor, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said flatly that “Joe Biden won this election fair and square.” He called Mr. Trump’s claims “extremely dangerous, extremely poisonous to our democracy” and warned Republican leaders not to give it oxygen.
“Republican leaders must unequivocally condemn the president’s rhetoric and work to ensure the peaceful transfer of power,” Mr. Schumer said.
Yet none have done so, and only a handful of Republican senators have acknowledged Mr. Biden’s victory.
Senator Susan M. Collins, Republican of Maine, broke ranks and congratulated Mr. Biden on his “apparent victory” and stressed the need to begin a presidential transition. She was only the fourth senator in her party to recognize his election since he declared victory on Saturday.
“He loves this country, and I wish him every success,” Ms. Collins said in a statement. “Presidential transitions are important, and the president-elect and the vice president-elect should be given every opportunity to ensure that they are ready to govern on January 20.”
Ms. Collins said that Mr. Trump should be given an opportunity to challenge the results and urged Americans to be patient. “I know that many are eager to have certainty right now,” she said. “While we have a clear direction, we should continue to respect that process.”
Ms. Collins easily and unexpectedly won re-election last week even as Mr. Biden carried her state by a comfortable margin. She will return to Washington for a fifth term with unusual power, given her ability to sway votes in a closely divided Senate on areas where she may find common ground with a Biden administration.
Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Ben Sasse of Nebraska are the only other Republicans in the chamber who have publicly congratulated Mr. Biden.
Mr. Sasse, an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump, congratulated Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Sunday, telling The Omaha World-Herald he and his wife would pray that both the incoming and outgoing president “would be wise in the execution of their respective duties during this important time in our nation.”
Attorney General William P. Barr, wading into President Trump’s unfounded accusations of widespread election irregularities, told federal prosecutors on Monday that they were allowed to investigate allegations of voter fraud before the results of the presidential race are certified.
Mr. Barr said he has authorized “specific instances” of investigative steps in some cases. But he made clear in a carefully worded memo that prosecutors had the authority to investigate only “substantial allegations” of irregularities, warning that “specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries.”
Mr. Barr’s directive ignored the Justice Department’s longstanding policies intended to keep law enforcement from affecting the outcome of an election. And it followed a move weeks before the election in which the department lifted a prohibition on election fraud investigations before an election for fear they could depress voter turnout or erode confidence in the results.
“Given that voting in our current elections has now concluded, I authorize you to pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections in your jurisdictions,” Mr. Barr wrote.
While Mr. Trump’s campaign lawyers have filed a dozen or so legal challenges to the results in battleground states, none appeared to be gaining traction in the courts. And none were likely to give the president an edge in the votes he would need to change the outcome of the race.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday made an urgent plea for Americans to wear masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus, declaring that “a mask is not a political statement” as he vowed to make defeating the pandemic his number one priority when he replaces President Trump on Jan. 20.
“It doesn’t matter who you voted for, where you stood before Election Day,” Mr. Biden said in short remarks in Delaware after meeting with members of a newly formed Covid-19 advisory board. “It doesn’t matter your party, your point of view. We can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months.”
He added: “Not Democratic or Republican lives — American lives.”
The magnitude of his task became starkly clear on Sunday as the nation surpassed 10 million cases and sank deeper into the grip of what could become the worst chapter yet of the pandemic. In his remarks, the president-elect said the grim statistics suggested that the country was “facing a very dark winter” ahead.
“Infection rates are going up. Hospitalizations are going up. Deaths are going up,” Mr. Biden said after listening to his advisers, who called into the meeting remotely.
The drug maker Pfizer announced on Monday that an early analysis of its coronavirus vaccine trial suggested the vaccine was robustly effective in preventing Covid-19, a promising development as the world has waited anxiously for any positive news about a pandemic that has killed more than 1.2 million people.
Mr. Biden called the development “excellent news” in a statement, but cautioned that Americans would need to rely on basic precautions in order to “get back to normal as fast as possible.” He said Americans would not be wearing masks forever, but should do so until the vaccine is readily available.
“It’s clear that this vaccine, even if approved, will not be widely available for many months yet to come,” he said. “The challenge before us right now is still immense and growing.”
Mr. Biden’s comments about masks were a striking contrast with Mr. Trump, who has spent the last eight months dismissing or playing down the need for Americans to wear masks, saying frequently — and falsely — that there was deep disagreement about whether masks were effective.
As cases surge in over half of the country, the nation’s worsening outlook comes at an extremely difficult juncture: Mr. Trump, who remains in office until January, is openly at odds with his own coronavirus advisers — including about mask-wearing — and winter, when infections are only expected to spread faster, is coming.
Mr. Biden named Dr. Rick Bright, a former top vaccine official in the Trump administration who submitted a whistle-blower complaint to Congress, as a member of the Covid-19 task force advising him during the transition, officials announced Monday morning.
Dr. Bright, who was ousted as the head of a federal medical research agency, told lawmakers that officials in the government had failed to heed his warnings about acquiring masks and other supplies, and that the failure to act may have cost American lives.
Mr. Biden had already revealed the three co-chairs of the panel: Dr. Vivek Murthy, a surgeon general under former President Barack Obama, who has been a key Biden adviser for months and is expected to take a major public role; David Kessler, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration for former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of public health at Yale University.
The 13-member panel will also include Dr. Zeke Emanuel, the chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and the brother of Rahm Emanuel, an Obama administration adviser; Dr. Luciana Borio, a vice president at In-Q-Tel; Dr. Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Dr. Celine Gounder, a clinical assistant professor at the N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine; Dr. Julie Morita, the executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota; Loyce Pace, the executive director and president of Global Health Council; and Dr. Robert Rodriguez and Dr. Eric Goosby, both professors at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.
In selecting his coronavirus transition team, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has turned to a trio of high-powered doctors with Washington experience, Ivy League pedigrees and activist bents. He has also fulfilled his pledge to surround himself with advisers who look like America.
Here’s a quick look at the three doctors who will lead the effort.
Dr. David A. Kessler
Dr. Kessler, a Harvard-educated pediatrician who picked up a law degree from the University of Chicago, made his name in Washington in the 1990s fighting Big Tobacco.
Dr. Kessler was appointed in 1990 by President George Bush to lead the Food and Drug Administration, but his activist bent made him popular with Democrats, and he also ran the agency during President Bill Clinton’s first term.
Under his watch, the F.D.A. sped up drug approvals and enacted regulations requiring food manufacturers to print standardized nutrition labels on their products in a bid to expose “stealth fat” in foods. But Dr. Kessler is best known for his crusade against smoking. His push for the F.D.A. to regulate cigarettes was unsuccessful but ushered in a new era of lawsuits against the tobacco industry. The power to regulate tobacco was finally granted to the F.D.A. early in the Obama administration.
After leaving the F.D.A., Dr. Kessler, 69, served as dean of the Yale School of Medicine, and later as a vice chancellor at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School, where he is now a professor. He is also the author of the 2009 book “The End of Overeating.”
Dr. Vivek Murthy
Dr. Murthy was the 19th surgeon general of the United States.
Appointed in 2014 by President Barack Obama, he also served briefly under President Trump, who asked for his resignation in April 2017 and then fired Dr. Murthy when he refused to step down.
Dr. Murthy, a son of Indian immigrant parents who were also physicians, was the first surgeon general of Indian descent, and, at 37 when he was appointed, the country’s youngest surgeon general since John B. Hamilton, who left the office in 1891.
At the time of his appointment, Dr. Murthy was treating acutely ill patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and teaching at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Murthy has for years made headlines for calling gun violence a public health threat, and his appointment was contentious. The National Rifle Association urged the Senate not to confirm him, but it ultimately did, in one of its last acts before Republicans took control in 2015.
In 2008, Dr. Murthy helped found a group called Doctors for Obama that supported Mr. Obama’s campaign for president, and later fought for the passage of the Affordable Care Act under a new name, Doctors for America.
Like Dr. Kessler, whom Dr. Murthy has known since he was a student at Yale Medical School while Dr. Kessler was the school’s dean, Dr. Murthy has dual degrees; he also has a master’s degree in business administration from Yale.
Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith
Dr. Nunez-Smith was raised in St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and is an associate professor of internal medicine, public health and management at Yale.
She has devoted her career to ending racial disparities in health — a perspective that will inform her work on the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected people of color.
At Yale, she is the founding director of a research center devoted to creating health equity for marginalized populations.
She is also the founding director of the Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Health Equity Leadership, which trains health care professionals to address disparities in health and medical care.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. plans to move aggressively this week to start setting up his administration, putting in motion staffing decisions aimed at accelerating his policy agenda as soon as he replaces President Trump in the Oval Office early next year.
The moves come on the heels of a whirlwind weekend in which Mr. Biden cemented his victory in the Electoral College, even as Mr. Trump and the leadership of the Republican Party refused to concede defeat, making baseless claims of elections fraud without providing any evidence.
Mr. Biden and his team have planned a weeklong focus on health care, and Mr. Biden is expected to announce some key White House positions, including his chief of staff. That job is likely to go to Ron Klain, who served in that role when Mr. Biden was vice president and has been a longtime member of the president-elect’s inner circle.
Decisions about who will fill cabinet posts — including the secretary of health and human services, the secretary of state and the attorney general — will come later, starting around Thanksgiving, according to one person familiar with the planned schedule for the transition announcements.
Transition officials said that Mr. Biden had yet to make decisions on individual cabinet posts and would be meeting with top advisers in the days ahead. Potential candidates for cabinet secretaries will need to be vetted by the transition team’s lawyers and political advisers before being publicly nominated, officials said.
Most presidents-elect have met quickly at the White House with the outgoing president. Mr. Trump met with Mr. Obama for 90 minutes on Nov. 10, 2016, just two days after the election in which Mr. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. There appear to be no plans for Mr. Trump to invite Mr. Biden to the White House in the days ahead, people close to the president said.
Over the weekend, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, promised more court challenges to come as part of the campaign’s multipronged legal effort to challenge the election. One attempt ran aground on Monday when an appellate court in Michigan ruled that the campaign’s bid to reverse an earlier ruling was “defective” and incomplete, giving the campaign three weeks to complete its submission before the case would be dismissed.
The Trump campaign was trying to reverse a decision from Thursday by Judge Cynthia Stephens of the Michigan Court of Claims who had refused to halt the counting of absentee ballots in the state, pointing out, among other things, that by the time the campaign requested the halt, the tallying of absentee ballots was already complete.
And they continued to ramp up their baseless claims that fraud had wrongly tilted the election in Mr. Biden’s favor, filing a new lawsuit challenging the results in select counties where Mr. Biden won in Pennsylvania. Republicans separately filed a lawsuit challenging the vote tally in Wayne County, Mich., which includes Detroit.
The Trump campaign announced the filing during a combative press briefing in which the president’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, and Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, rehashed versions of the arguments Mr. Trump’s team has been making for days. This included the false accusation that officials in Democratic-leaning counties in Pennsylvania had barred Republican observers from critical counting rooms. (She specifically singled out Philadelphia, which had a full contingent of Republican observers and, even made live streams of its counting room available to the general public.)
At one point Fox News cut away from the briefing, with the host Neil Cavuto telling his audience “I can’t in good countenance keep showing you this,’’ noting Ms. McEnany had not presented any evidence for her charges of Democratic rigging.
The team conducting Mr. Trump’s legal effort also faced an internal setback on Monday when news broke that its newly assigned leader, David Bossie, had tested positive for the virus.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper was fired by President Trump on Monday, the latest casualty in the president’s revolving door of top national security officials who fell on the wrong side of their boss.
Mr. Esper’s downfall had been expected for months, after he took the rare step in June of disagreeing publicly with Mr. Trump and saying that active-duty military troops should not be sent to control the wave of protests in American cities. The president, who had threatened to use the Insurrection Act to do exactly that, was furious, officials said.
Mr. Esper’s spokesman tried at the time to walk back the damage, telling The New York Times that Mr. Trump did not want to use the Insurrection Act, either, or else he would have invoked it already. “We fail to see the disconnect,” said Jonathan Hoffman, a spokesman for Mr. Esper.
White House officials disagreed.
Mr. Esper, 56, a former secretary of the Army and a former Raytheon executive, became defense secretary in July 2019 after Mr. Trump withdrew the nomination of Patrick M. Shanahan, the acting defense secretary, amid an F.B.I. inquiry into allegations from Mr. Shanahan’s former wife that he punched her in the stomach. Mr. Shanahan denied the accusations.
Mr. Shanahan had been standing in for Jim Mattis, who resigned as defense secretary in 2018, citing his own differences with the president.
Mr. Esper had taken pains to hew to the Trump line during his tenure. But concern over invoking the Insurrection Act to send active-duty troops to battle protesters across the country is deep in the Pentagon. Under heavy public criticism, Mr. Esper ultimately broke with the president.
Mr. Trump has referred to Mr. Esper as “Mr. Yesper.” But the insult is ironic by itself, since it was the defense secretary’s public break with the president during a news conference in June in which he spoke against use of active-duty American troops to quell civil unrest that infuriated Mr. Trump to begin with.
Those comments came after he had accompanied Mr. Trump on his walk across Lafayette Square outside the White House, where protesters had just been tear-gassed, prompting condemnation from former military and civilian Defense Department officials.
By midsummer, Mr. Esper was walking a fine line to push back on other contentious positions involving the military that Mr. Trump had taken.
Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia on Monday called for the resignation of the state’s top elections official, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, as they accused his office of failing to oversee an honest and transparent election without evidence or citing specific concerns.
Their extraordinary joint statement on Monday came as a rift among Republicans in Georgia has intensified as Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s lead over President Trump has steadily grown, pushing the president’s supporters to lash out against Mr. Raffensperger, who is a Republican.
“We believe when there are failures, they need to be called out — even when it’s in your own party,” the senators said in their statement, which did not offer any specific allegations or explain how they believed Mr. Raffensperger had fallen short.
“Honest elections are paramount to the foundation of our democracy,” they said. “The Secretary of State has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections. He has failed the people of Georgia, and he should step down immediately.”
Mr. Raffensperger responded quickly in a statement of his own. “Let me start by saying that is not going to happen,” he said.
“I know emotions are running high,” he added. “Politics are involved in everything right now. If I was Senator Perdue, I’d be irritated I was in a runoff. And both senators and I are all unhappy with the potential outcome for our president.”
Mr. Raffensperger said that the process of reporting results had been orderly and followed the law.
The results in Georgia have drawn widespread notice and alarmed Republicans, as Mr. Biden is outperforming Mr. Trump by more than 10,000 votes in a state Mr. Trump won in 2016. Both senators have been forced into runoff races against Democrats, contests that could determine control of the Senate.
Mr. Trump has continued to falsely insist the election was being stolen from him. The move by the senators, who have both been closely aligned with the president, also underscores the infighting taking place among Republicans even as the party braces for a bitter showdown during the January runoffs.
Some conservatives fear that impugning the electoral process will depress the vote among Republican voters, who may not turn out if they do not trust the legitimacy of the electoral process.
“Trump is gonna cost the GOP the Senate,” Erick Erickson, a Georgia-based conservative commentator, wrote on Twitter. “His supporters are internalizing that the election in Georgia was stolen so why bother even trying.”
In a briefing before the statement was issued on Monday, Gabriel Sterling, the voting system implementation manager for Mr. Raffensperger’s office, sought to debunk the various allegations that had circulated and said the election had run smoothly, despite long lines at times during early voting. He noted that the average wait time to vote on Election Day was two minutes — “that’s unheard of in this state, ever.”
“The facts are the facts, regardless of outcomes,” he said, adding, “In this state, this time, this election on Election Day was an amazing success.”
Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, the leader of the House Democrats’ campaign arm, told colleagues on Monday that she would not seek another term as chairwoman after she led her party to unexpected losses last week and only narrowly won her own re-election race.
In a letter to colleagues, Ms. Bustos conceded she had “hoped for better results” and was “gutted at the losses we sustained” even as she noted that she had delivered on “job No. 1,” maintaining the majority.
Ms. Bustos will remain in her position in the coming weeks, as Democrats continue to battle for a dozen or so seats where vote-counting continues. But she said she would not seek any other leadership post days after Democrats from the party’s moderate and progressive wings traded blame over the losses on a caucus conference call.
“Instead, I will focus my efforts legislatively to help President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as we build back better for the people,” Ms. Bustos said.
Democrats had entered the election on the offensive, predicting they would grow their majority and protect all but a handful of incumbents in red-leaning districts. Instead, Democrats are on track to lose six to 10 seats and failed to capture almost every pickup opportunity.
The outcome was a painful and embarrassing turn for Ms. Bustos, 59, who was considered a rising star in the party who was particularly adept at devising strategies for Democrats running in conservative-leaning districts.
Her departure will clear the way for others competing for the campaign committee position. Already some Democrats are pitching Representative Tony Cárdenas of California for the post. Mr. Cárdenas, who represents the Los Angeles area, could potentially help the party reorient after losing significant ground to Republicans among Latino voters in Florida, Texas and some other states.
Representative Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, who is expected to win his district in the heart of Hudson Valley though it has not yet been called, formally announced his candidacy for the position, according to a letter obtained by The New York Times.
“My experience will allow me to better support our vulnerable members — especially our historically diverse group of frontline members — without sacrificing our shared principles,” Mr. Maloney wrote, citing his fund-raising, professional background and the makeup of his district as part of his pitch.
Ms. Bustos was still expected to convene a briefing for Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday to discuss the election results. In her letter, she said the campaign committee would conduct a review “to better understand why the national polling and modeling environment failed to materialize.”
In a statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised Ms. Bustos as “a leader of great integrity and inspiration” and thanked her for her service.
Stocks on Wall Street fell short of a record on Monday, as a late retreat pulled back a soaring market.
A relief-fueled rally had lifted the S&P 500 by as much as 3.9 percent earlier in the day, after the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said early data showed that its coronavirus vaccine appeared 90 percent effective. The announcement followed news on Saturday that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had enough votes in the Electoral College to clinch the presidency, a sign that the American vote, which some investors had worried could spiral into a chaotic period if President Trump lost, appeared to proceed more or less normally.
But the S&P 500 ended up just 1.2 percent by the end of trading, short of its Sept. 2 record. The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 3 percent.
The largest technology stocks, seen both as safe bets during the economic crisis and beneficiaries of a work-and-play-from-home environment during the pandemic, were sharply lower and helped drive the late pullback. Amazon fell 5 percent, Apple was 2 percent lower, and Microsoft fell more than 2 percent. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.5 percent.
Pfizer said a vaccine it was developing with BioNTech was found to have been more than 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 infections, based on a large study. Pfizer said that by the end of the year it will have manufactured enough doses of the vaccine to immunize 15 million to 20 million people.
Scientists have cautioned against hyping early results before long-term safety and efficacy data has been collected, and no one knows how long the vaccine’s protection might last. It’s also likely to be months before Pfizer’s vaccine or any other is able to substantially curb the coronavirus outbreak, which is picking up steam around the world.
That caution was lost on investors, who rushed into investments that would benefit from a world returning to some semblance of normalcy, and out of stocks that have become winners in the pandemic.
“Hurdles still remain,” said Karen Ward, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “We need to find out more about production capabilities, rollout and takeup. But for now, this is shifting the winners and losers.”
Among the winners: American Airlines rose about 15 percent and United Airlines rose about 19 percent. Carnival, the cruise ship operator, rose 39 percent. Also sharply higher were the shopping center owners Simon Property Group and Kimco Realty, the concert promoter Live Nation and the office-building owner Vornado Realty Trust.
And those whose businesses have been well suited under lockdowns and stay-at-home orders struggled. Peloton Interactive dropped 20 percent, while Netflix fell 8.6 percent, for example.
Over all, though, it was a global rally. The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 index surged 4 percent, its biggest one-day gain since March, while the FTSE 100 in Britain rose 4.7 percent. In Asian markets, which closed before Pfizer announced its news, the Nikkei 225 in Japan ended the day 2.1 percent stronger, and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong finished up 1.2 percent.
Crude oil prices also leapt about 9 percent, to more than $40 a barrel. Prices for government bonds — where investors traditionally park funds during times of uncertainty — tumbled sharply.
Trading on Monday followed the best week for the S&P 500 since April, as investors became more convinced that President-elect Biden would govern alongside a Republican-held Senate. However, two runoff elections in Georgia mean the control of the Senate will not be known until January.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. wants to bring an end to “America First” — a slogan that came to define a United States that built walls and made working with allies an afterthought.
Mr. Biden says he will re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, assuming the Iranians are willing to reverse course and observe its limits. He would sign up for another five years of the only surviving nuclear arms treaty with Russia and double down on American commitments to NATO. At the same time, Mr. Biden says he will make Russia “pay a price” for what he says have been disruptions and attempts to influence elections — including his own.
But it is far easier to promise to return to the largely internationalist approach of the post-World War II era than it is to execute one after four years of global withdrawal and during a pandemic that has reinforced nationalist instincts. The world does not look remotely as it did when Mr. Biden was last in the White House four years ago. Power vacuums have been created, and filled, often by China. Democracies have retreated. The race for a coronavirus vaccine has created new rivalries.
Mr. Biden’s team announced Monday evening that the president-elect had spoken with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and that the pair of leaders had “reaffirmed the close bonds” between their two countries and looked forward to working together on a host issues including combating the pandemic.
But while foreign allies may find Mr. Biden reassuring — and smiled when they heard him say in a town-hall meeting that “‘America First’ has made America alone” — they also concede that they may never fully trust that the United States will not lurch back to building walls.
Those who have known Mr. Biden for decades say they expect him to move carefully, providing reassurance with a few big symbolic acts, starting with a return to the Paris climate accord in the first days of his administration. But substantive rebuilding of U.S. power will proceed far more slowly.
“He’ll inherit a situation which both gives him enormous latitude and, oddly, constrains him,” said Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a longtime friend of Mr. Biden’s. “Clearly, what Trump did by executive order can be undone by executive order.”
But “any act that requires Senate approach or any new use of force, absent a clear provocation, will be pretty much off the table,” he added.
When it comes to relations with China, the new administration has vowed to be equally tough. While many will welcome the expected change in tone from the strident, at times racist statements by Mr. Trump and other officials, few expect Mr. Biden to quickly reverse the confrontational policies his predecessor has put in place.
China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, has instead been pushing a strategy that would better insulate the country from rising international risks. But without significant concessions by the Chinese government, the fundamental tensions between the two countries could even become more pronounced — over trade, tech, Taiwan and other issues.
The polarization President Trump provoked among world leaders is continuing unabated during his transition from power — as President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia refused to quickly acknowledge President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory while Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany offered a friend’s embrace.
Ms. Merkel, in a statement to reporters on Monday, recalled her “fond memories” of her many meetings with Mr. Biden when he was vice president, a stark departure after four fraught years in which the partnership between the U.S. and Germany suffered under punitive tariffs and angry tweets by Mr. Trump.
“Joe Biden brings decades of experience in domestic and foreign policy,” she wrote. “He knows Germany and Europe well.”
Her remarks reflected the views of most other European leaders, and could signal a return to the more collaborative partnership Ms. Merkel developed with President Barack Obama.
And the king and crown prince of Saudi Arabia each sent cables congratulating Mr. Biden on his electoral victory, an initial effort by Saudi leaders, who have benefited from a strong relationship with President Trump, to build ties with the new American administration.
Then there was Russia.
For years, the Kremlin has painted Western democracy as dangerously chaotic compared to what it says is the safety and stability offered by Mr. Putin — and thanks to Mr. Trump’s unfounded allegations that Democrats stole last week’s presidential election, the Kremlin now has a fresh chance to claim vindication.
On Monday, a spokesman for Mr. Putin said Russia will not recognize Joseph R. Biden Jr. as president-elect until Mr. Trump’s court challenges to the election results run their course.
“We believe it would be proper to wait for an official announcement” of the election results, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters. “There are certain legal procedures pending that were announced by the current president.”
Mr. Peskov sought to couch the delay as a technical matter of diplomatic protocol, and pledged that Mr. Putin would be ready to work with “any elected president of the United States.”
And Russia isn’t the only country taking a wait-and-see approach: The leaders of Mexico and Brazil, Latin America’s two largest countries, refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory even as much of the region rushed to congratulate the President Elect.
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, a Trump ally who has also minimized the impact of the pandemic, has not made any statement.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, said on Saturday that he would not comment on the election until “all the legal issues were resolved,” saying he wanted to “be respectful of the people’s self-determination.”
Mr. López Obrador, who accused rivals of electoral fraud in his two previously unsuccessful bids for the presidency, emphasized that he had good relationships with both U.S. candidates.
Despite Mr. Trump’s history of insulting Mexican immigrants, Mr. López Obrador has forged a close relationship with the president, who he praised as “very respectful” of Mexico.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a Brooklynite who is chairman of the Democratic Caucus, is urging his jostling colleagues to take a deep breath and enjoy President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory before plunging in their inevitable infighting.
Mr. Jeffries, 50, who helps plot his party’s policy and legislative strategy in the House, plans to announce on Monday that he will seek re-election to that post.
“Democrats won the White House, kept the majority in the House and are on the midnight train to Georgia to take the Senate,” Mr. Jeffries said in an interview. “That’s a good day as far as I am concerned.”
If he wins, as expected in a race in which he is unlikely to face a challenger, he would be a crucial voice as the party figures out how to govern with an ally in the White House, but a slimmer majority on Capitol Hill.
As other Democrats compete to climb the ranks and secure a spot in the future of the party’s House leadership, Mr. Jeffries is also a top contender to succeed Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has led the party in the House since 2003, whenever she steps aside.
But while he represents a different generation of leadership from Ms. Pelosi, he sees little need to upend the approach that Democrats put in place after the 2016 election, either by veering further to the left or tacking to the center.
He has no problem with having a hard “family conversation” about what went wrong in last week’s elections, Mr. Jeffries said, but his pitch to fellow Democrats is that their strategy — focusing on policies that affect Americans’ wallets and broadly popular issues, like gun safety — is sound and their message is resonating.
He has encouraged his colleagues to set aside the lure of “irrationally exuberant expectations,” take a deep breath, and stay focused on economic and social justice.
Former Vice President Dan Quayle, a Republican and the only surviving member of the last incumbent presidential ticket to be defeated in a re-election campaign, said on Monday that it was time for President Trump to accept the election results.
“You know, it’s tough in defeat,” said Mr. Quayle, who was vice president to President George H.W. Bush when the ticket lost to Bill Clinton in 1992.
“Unfortunately, we were the last incumbent president to lose, and it’s not easy,” he said. “But we’ve had enough time to look at what’s going on, there have been a lot of allegations they continue to investigate, but from my viewpoint I don’t think there’s any systemic fraud.”
He added: “It’s time to move on, and therefore I hope that there’s some sort of announcement from the White House sooner rather than later.”
Mr. Quayle’s words are notable in part because he is among the few current or former Republican elected officials who has made such a statement, as Mr. Trump has maintained that he actually won the election that he lost.
Mr. Quayle said he thought that more Republicans would take a stand if Mr. Trump and his allies “move forward aggressively and continue to indicate that the election is not conclusive.”
“I think as time goes on that more and more people will speak out,” he said.
Mr. Quayle said he had left President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. a message but hadn’t yet connected with him.
“I’ve known him for 40 years, he’s a good guy,” he said. “I wish him well.”
GENEVA — Human rights advocates expressed optimism that a Biden-Harris administration would usher in a host of policy changes and quickly re-enter the United States into various global pacts at a meeting of the United Nations top human-rights body on Monday.
But even as some at the a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva looked to the future, United States diplomats faced calls to tackle systemic racism and reform policing and the treatment of migrants in America.
“The United States is firmly committed to finding meaningful remedies that address claims of injustice in our society,” Robert Destro, an assistant Secretary of State, told the council via video from Washington.
American officials rejected the notion that the country’s policing was systemically racist and sought instead to focus on what they said was American leadership in promoting freedoms of religion, assembly, speech and the press.
Although President Trump pulled the United States out of the Human Rights Council two years ago, accusing it of anti-Israeli bias and resisting reform, American officials have continued to take part in the council’s process of reviewing the human rights performance of every U.N. member every five years.
Some U.S. allies have voiced regret about the void left by the country’s withdrawal from the group and concern that its absence has opened the way for China and other countries they deem to be unfriendly to human rights to fill the space.
But even as officials discussed the policies of the Trump administration, some human-rights advocates signaled their expectation that change was on the horizon.
“Hallelujah, it seems like God has come back from his holidays!” said Marc Limon executive director of the Geneva-based Universal Rights Group, noting Mr. Biden’s campaign pledge to rejoin global pacts.
Since the start of his campaign in early 2019, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has made the case that he could beat President Trump precisely because of the strength he would have in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where his unpretentious, approachable style and moderate politics would connect with voters.
On Election Day, Mr. Biden’s analysis prevailed. He won every state. Here is a look at the dynamics that worked in his favor.
The communities surrounding Detroit provided Mr. Biden with the votes he needed to help claw the state back from the president.
Mr. Trump held onto most of the counties he won in 2016 and boosted his vote total statewide by nearly 370,000, with gains in places like Macomb County, a bellwether that first appeared in the political spotlight in the 1980s, thanks to its high concentration of Reagan Democrats. But it was not enough.
Mr. Biden surged ahead of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 totals statewide, especially in suburban areas where Republicans were once dominant. He managed to flip conservative-leaning Kent County in the western part of the state. In Oakland County, the state’s second-largest, Mr. Biden finished ahead of Mr. Trump by 14 points, a major improvement over not just Mrs. Clinton but also Barack Obama in 2008, who both won it by eight points. Mr. Biden also managed to do very well in the county’s wealthy enclaves.
Pennsylvania’s biggest city, Philadelphia, went overwhelmingly to the president-elect, but also provided Mr. Trump with more votes than he received four years ago.
Outside of Philadelphia, it was a different story. Mr. Biden’s voters showed up in overwhelming numbers in the suburbs and swing counties farther out, like Northampton in the Lehigh Valley and Erie in the northwest. These predominantly white counties voted twice for Mr. Obama, then went to Mr. Trump in 2016.
Mr. Biden won them both, but narrowly — Erie County by one percentage point and Northampton County by less than a point.
For much of the campaign, Mr. Trump’s re-election seemed to hinge on Wisconsin. It was the test market for his playbook of driving up turnout in rural areas where his operation could identify people who liked him but who didn’t vote in 2016. The playbook worked, but the margins were too small: a few thousand votes, give or take, in most of the state’s 72 counties.
Mr. Biden didn’t flip any major counties, just two smaller ones north of Milwaukee. But in a sign of the president’s weakness among voters age 65 and older, one of those was Door County, northeast of Green Bay on Lake Michigan. As a destination popular with retirees but also reliant on tourism, Door County was an especially bad environment for the president, with many voters blaming him for mismanaging the deadly coronavirus and the economic fallout that followed.
In the bigger picture, Wisconsin’s shifts toward Mr. Biden came from its cities and largest counties.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to be sworn in as the 46th commander in chief of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021, at an outdoor inauguration ceremony, though the coronavirus pandemic might cause the plans to be scaled back.
“We are moving forward, anticipating an outside, full-scale inauguration,” Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, said on Sunday on the ABC News program “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”
But Mr. Blunt, who chairs the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, was still hedging about which candidate he expected to be placing his hand upon a Bible that day.
“This is a great time for us to show how a true democracy works,” Mr. Blunt said, adding: “I’m confident we are going to see that. I expect to see both Vice President Biden and President Trump on the stage on Inaugural Day, and that will be a powerful message, no matter which one of them is sworn in.”
It is tradition for the departing president to attend the inauguration of his successor, but Mr. Trump has ignored many of the norms of the office.
Other Republican leaders and scores of party lawmakers have also refrained from acknowledging Mr. Biden’s victory out of apparent deference to Mr. Trump, who continues to refuse to concede.
For many of them, the president’s reluctance to accept the election results created a dilemma, making even the most cursory expression of support for Mr. Biden seem like a conspicuous break with Mr. Trump.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce voiced optimism on Monday that a Biden administration could break the political gridlock that has stymied legislative cooperation between Democrats and Republicans in Congress and called on lawmakers to quickly put aside their differences and pass legislation to bolster the economy.
The expression of hope came after the traditionally right-leaning business lobbying group shifted away from President Trump this year, backing several House Democrats ahead of the 2020 election amid frustration with the White House’s trade and immigration policies.
“The time for campaigning has come to an end, and now we’ve entered the time for governing,” said Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer, said on a call with reporters.
Mr. Bradley called on lawmakers to pass another stimulus bill before the end of the year and said that he would like to see the Biden administration prioritize an infrastructure package next year. He said that the recovery from the recession had been uneven and that the group did not expect the jobs that had been lost as a result of the pandemic to be recovered until 2022.
The chamber’s leftward shift has only gone so far. Mr. Bradley said that the group, which opposes President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s plan to reverse some of the Trump tax cuts, is supporting the Republican Senate candidates in runoff elections in Georgia in January.
Although Mr. Trump has yet to concede defeat, Mr. Bradley said that a smooth transition would be preferable for the economy. It is unclear if the president would back a stimulus bill before leaving office, but the chamber is pushing for him to do so.
“President Trump was quite vocal heading into the election about the need for additional Covid relief,” he said.
Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a spokesman for the agency, joining a long list of Trump administration officials, including the president himself, who have contracted the virus.
“Secretary Carson has tested positive for the coronavirus. He is in good spirits and feels fortunate to have access to effective therapeutics which aid and markedly speed his recovery,” said Coalter Baker, the agency’s deputy chief of staff, in an email.
Mr. Carson, a neurosurgeon who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, has defended Mr. Trump’s response to the virus. At 69, Mr. Carson is at an elevated risk for complications. He is also a cancer survivor, having undergone surgery in 2002 for an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, tested positive last week. Five other White House aides and a Trump campaign adviser also tested positive for the virus in the days before and after Election Day, people familiar with the diagnoses told The Times on Friday.
David Bossie, an adviser to Mr. Trump who was at the White House on election night, also tested positive, two people familiar with the diagnosis said on Monday. Mr. Bossie told campaign officials that he had tested positive.
Mr. Trump recently named Mr. Bossie as the face of the efforts to contest vote tabulations in places like Nevada and Georgia.
Jon Meacham, the presidential historian and biographer, has been helping to craft President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s speeches, according to multiple sources involved, including helping to write the acceptance speech that Mr. Biden delivered Saturday night from Wilmington, Del.
In that address, Mr. Biden spoke of a mission “to rebuild the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class and to make America respected around the world again.” Mr. Meacham’s 2018 book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” has long served as a touchstone for Mr. Biden, who read it and has reached out to Mr. Meacham in the past to discuss passages he liked.
Mr. Biden’s speech-writing process is run by Mike Donilon, the president-elect’s longtime adviser. But behind the scenes, Mr. Meacham has been playing a larger role than was previously known, both writing drafts of speeches and offering edits on many of Mr. Biden’s big addresses, including one he gave at Gettysburg last month and his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in August.
TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for Mr. Biden, downplayed Mr. Meacham’s role. “President-elect Joe Biden wrote the speech he delivered to the American people on Saturday night, which laid out his vision for uniting and healing the nation,” Mr. Ducklo said. “Given the significance of the speech, he consulted a number of important, and diverse, voices as part of his writing process, as he often does.”
A Biden official added that Mr. Meacham was involved in discussions about the themes in the victory speech.
Mr. Meacham, who has voted for presidents in both parties, played an unusual role during the campaign. He publicly endorsed Mr. Biden in an op-ed and received a prime speaking slot at the D.N.C. this year.
“To record history doesn’t mean you are removed from it,” Mr. Meacham said over the summer, noting he had been friends with Mr. Biden for a long time.
Mr. Meacham is currently not expected to join the administration. But his role helping to craft Mr. Biden’s biggest addresses has shades of the presidential historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.’s relationship with President John F. Kennedy. Mr. Schlesinger worked for Mr. Kennedy’s campaign and as a member of his White House staff.
Mr. Meacham declined to comment on his role.
During the Trump years, Mr. Meacham has been a regular presence on both MSNBC and NBC News’ broadcasts, where he served as a paid contributor.
The network declined to comment on Monday, but Mr. Meacham will no longer be a paid contributor going forward, according to a person familiar with the decision. That person added, however, that Mr. Meacham would be welcomed back on the airwaves as a guest.
Indeed, Mr. Meacham appeared on MSNBC both shortly before and after Mr. Biden’s speech. About half an hour after the speech had concluded, the anchor Brian Williams introduced Mr. Meacham by saying, “I’m not the historian that you are, and I don’t have the Pulitzer that you do, but do you concur that is the way we are used to hearing from our presidents?”
“Absolutely,” Mr. Meacham responded, without disclosing that he been involved in the writing of Mr. Biden’s speech.
Just before the Nov. 3 election, we asked our correspondents around the country what they were keeping an eye on, beyond the presidential contest. Here’s a look at how those races and ballot questions turned out.
Affirmative action was rejected. By a significant margin, California voters killed a measure to reverse the state ban on affirmative action in public university admissions and public contracting.
A pitch for unity failed. Debbie Roundtree, a Black woman in a largely white region of North Carolina, hoped to persuade working-class voters that she and they had more in common than not. Her bid for a seat on the Henderson County Board of Commissioners fell short.
A gun-control candidate was elected. Alyssa Black, whose focus on gun control after the suicide of her youngest son propelled her into politics, won a seat in the Vermont legislature.
A prosecutor in the Arbery case was ousted. District Attorney Jackie Johnson’s conduct came under intense scrutiny after the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was chased and killed by white men in Brunswick, Ga. On Election Day, residents denied her bid for another term, voting for a former prosecutor, Keith Higgins
History was made in Miami-Dade. Daniella Levine Cava was elected mayor of Miami-Dade County, Fla. She is the first woman to win the office and will be the county’s first mayor without Hispanic roots in a quarter century.
A G.O.P. streak continued. In Michigan’s Third Congressional District, where the outgoing Representative Justin Amash recently split from the Republican Party, voters nonetheless did what they have for generations: voted Republican. The Republican candidate, Peter Meijer, beat Hillary Scholten, the Democratic candidate, decisively.
Sentencing reform failed in Oklahoma. Voters there overwhelmingly rejected a measure aimed at shrinking prison populations. The ballot question would have prevented prosecutors from using past felony convictions to lengthen sentences for certain defendants convicted of another felony.
Mississippi approved a new flag. By a wide margin, Mississippi voters endorsed a new state flag featuring a magnolia blossom. It replaces a flag with the Confederate battle emblem, the last of its kind in the nation.
Wisconsin reconsidered a 2018 flip. Two years ago, Democrats were buoyed by a victory in Wisconsin’s conservative 10th State Senate District. Last week, voters changed their minds, ousting the incumbent Democrat, Patty Schachtner, and electing a Republican, Rob Stafsholt.
L.A. chose a progressive prosecutor. George Gascón, who promised to take a tougher line on police shootings, beat the incumbent, Jackie Lacey, in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s race, which took on national significance in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis.
An embattled mayor hung on. Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, who drew scorn from both left-wing protesters and President Trump, was re-elected over Sarah Iannarone, a challenger who had aligned herself with the city’s protests.
Texas stuck with the G.O.P. Sri Preston Kulkarni, a Democratic candidate with a family connection to the Texas statesman Sam Houston, lost in his attempt to flip a congressional seat in the Houston suburbs.