“Last night I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope he will be a successful president for all Americans,” Hillary Clinton said pointedly of the president-elect who had called for her to be jailed as he campaigned – a promise he has not yet publicly taken that off the table.
“We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president,” she said of the real estate developer-turned-reality TV star she previously had called dangerous for the country and temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief. “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”
The billionaire businessman won the White House with a scorched-earth campaign that resulted in what pundits this morning are calling the biggest upset in U.S. political history.
“This is not the outcome we wanted, or worked so hard for,” Clinton said. “And I’m sorry we did not win this election, for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.” She spoke at a somber gathering at Manhattan’s New Yorker hotel that played out in marked contrast to the blowout victory celebration her campaign originally had planned for the glass-ceiling-ed Javits Center nearby.
“This is painful, and it will be for a long time,” Clinton acknowledged. “But I want you to remember this: Our campaign was never about one person, or even one election. It was about the country we love and building an America that’s inclusive and big-hearted.
“We have seen our nation is more deeply divided than we thought,” she added. “But I still believe in America and always will.”
Clinton thanked President Obama and the First Lady, who campaigned for her aggressively in the final days of her campaign. “Our country owes you an enormous debt of gratitude,” she said. “We thank you for your graceful, determined leadership that has meant so much to so many Americans and people across the world.”
Hours earlier, giving his victory speech, Trump told supporters he had received a call from Clinton. “She congratulated us on our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign,” he said. “Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country. I mean that sincerely.”