FLASHBACK: Biden said two months ago he would not declare victory until election was independently certified

During the first 2020 presidential debate in September, former Vice President Joe Biden pledged that he would not declare victory in the election before the results were “independently certified.”

“Will you urge your supporters to stay calm while the vote is counted? And will you pledge not to declare victory until the election is independently certified?” moderator and “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace asked.

“Yes,” Biden answered. “Here’s the deal: We count the ballots. As you pointed out, some of these ballots in some states can’t even be opened until Election Day. And if there’s thousands of ballots, [it’s] going to take time to do it.”

President-elect Joe Biden leaves The Queen theater, Nov. 10, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President-elect Joe Biden leaves The Queen theater, Nov. 10, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

But he delivered a public victory speech Saturday night, claiming “a clear victory,” amid a flurry of longshot lawsuits brought on by the Trump campaign and before the General Services Administration officially “ascertained” the election results, which it still had not done as of Thursday evening.

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“The people of this nation have spoken. They delivered us a clear victory. A convincing victory. A victory for we the people,” Biden said. “The most votes ever cast for a presidential ticket in the history of this nation.”

But to millions of Trump supporters and allies, the outcome is not that clear, pending the Trump campaign’s many legal challenges in key battleground states.

A number of media outlets’ experts, including at Fox News, have called the race for Biden. The Electoral College is expected to formalize Biden as president-elect on Dec. 14, unless Trump prevails in court.

Both Biden’s transition team and federal elections officials have called on the GSA to issue its ascertainment, a step that would smooth communications between Trump administration officials and Biden’s team, formally begin the transition process and unlock millions in federal funding.

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And Biden’s transition team moved forward this week with announcing members of its agency review teams, the specific individuals expected to interface with each of the Trump administration’s agencies before Inauguration Day in January.

Nevertheless, Trump has remained defiant, declining to concede the election and declaring on Twitter on Wednesday evening, “WE WILL WIN!”

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Fox News’ Thomas Barrabi and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.