Clinton, Obama urge disappointed backers to reconcile themselves to Trump’s win

November 9 at 4:30 PM
Both Hillary Clinton and President Obama urged their backers Wednesday to accept President-elect Donald Trump’s victory and support his transition into power, as Democrats prepare to hand over control of the White House for the first time in eight years.The calls for a national political reconciliation underscored the seismic political realignment now underway in Washington after Clinton’s crushing loss to the New York businessman. Both the president and his former Secretary of State told their supporters not to despair as Republicans rejoiced at the idea that they will control both the legislative and executive branch in two and-a-half months.

Clinton said her loss exposed the nation’s deep and difficult divisions, but she urged her backers to give him “a chance to lead.”

In her first public statements since the stunning election results, Clinton also called on other women to take up where she left off and continue the push for the White House, suggesting she may not make another run in four years.

“We need you to keep up these fights,” Clinton said in New York, making special mention of the many women who hoped she was on her way to become the first female president.

“I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it, too,” said Clinton, less than 24 hours after calling the president-elect to concede after his history-shaping run that defied pollsters and galvanized legions of aggrieved voters in a loud repudiation of the status quo. “This is painful, and it will be for a long time.”

Clinton, who was misty-eyed at times but composed throughout her remarks, said the long and bitter campaign against Trump showed that “our nation is more deeply divided that we thought.”

But she told her backers: “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

Clinton and her allies are now left to sort out how Trump upended her once-clear path to become America’s first female president. Clinton called Trump to concede as the results were clear.

Minutes after Clinton finished speaking, President Obama addressed reporters in the Rose Garden with Vice President Biden by his side, as more than a hundred White House staffers stood off to the side. Several of the aides were visibly emotional, with at least one crying before he began speaking.

“Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage,” Obama said, vowing to work to ensure a smooth transition for the president-elect.

The president, who has invited Trump to the White House Thursday, added he was “heartened” by the tone of his victory speech and their private phone call, which took place around 3:30 am Wednesday.

“That’s what the country needs — a sense of unity, a sense of inclusion, a respect for our institutions, our way of life, rule of law, and respect for each other.”

Trump — who had used social media as a tool to court support and mock foes during the campaign — sent a tweet at 6:30 a.m.: “Such a beautiful and important evening! The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again. We will all come together as never before”.

But protests flared as dismay among Clinton supporters turned to anger. In Los Angeles, about 500 people chanted, “Not my president.” In Oregon, anti-Trump demonstrators blocked traffic and rail lines.

After running a divisive campaign, Trump sounded a magnanimous note of reconciliation as he claimed victory shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

He had portrayed his opponent as the embodiment of a rigged system that had failed the everyday American. Her credentials through a quarter-century on the national stage, which in another electoral climate would have been an asset, pegged her in his supporters’ view as the ultimate establishment insider.

Trump said that under his administration, “America will no longer settle for anything less than the best.” And he promised foreign countries that “while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone,” adding: “We will seek common ground, not hostility.”

Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Trump and Clinton “had a very gracious exchange” when she conceded the race.

Asked whether Trump would consider appointing a special prosecutor to probe Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state and her ties to the Clinton Foundation, Conway said: “We have not discussed that at all, and he certainly did not discuss that with Secretary Clinton on that call.”

With Trump’s ascension to the White House, the nationalist wave that has swept capitals around the world — including in Britain, which voted to break from the European Union this year — came crashing onto U.S. shores.

The prospect of an impulsive authoritarian in the Oval Office initially rattled investors around the world. But a panicked global sell-off Tuesday night transformed into a near-record high for Wall Street by the end of trading on Wednesday.

The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average surged ahead about 250 points, or 1.4 percent, close to an all-time high — despite futures markets overnight signalling a decline of as much as 800 points. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq both gained about 1 percent.

Even the Mexican peso — which had fallen as the Republican nominee rose in the polls during his campaign — regained some ground after dropping to the lowest level since the 1990s.

World leaders congratulated Trump even as they grappled with the repercussions of his win. Britain, Germany and other U.S. allies stressed their close bonds with Washington. Russia, meanwhile, was quick to make overtures for better ties — something Trump encouraged as he campaigned.

In Mexico, the nation’s currency plunged and leaders weighed how to deal with a president-elect who has vowed to build a border wall and drive out undocumented workers.

The general election, which riveted the nation and produced a record television audience for a presidential debate, turned on the question of national identity.

While Clinton assembled a diverse coalition that she said reflected the nation’s future, it was no match for the powerful and impassioned movement built by fanning resentments over gender, race and religion.

Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again” inspired millions of Americans alienated by the forces of globalization and multiculturalism and deeply frustrated with the inability of Washington to address their needs.

Voters anxious about the economy, convinced that the system was stacked against them, fearful of terrorism and angry about the rising gap between rich and poor, gravitated toward Trump. In him, they saw a fearless champion who would re-create what they recalled as an America unchallenged in the world, unthreatened at home and unfettered by the elitist forces of “political correctness.”

Online, the distress of some of some of Clinton’s top advisers was palpable. David Plouffe, who had served as Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and helped guide Clinton’s campaign, had predicted in late September that the Democratic nominee had a 100 percent chance of winning the election.

“I’m sorry everyone,” he tweeted around 1 a.m. Wednesday. “Had to talk to my kids. Wrong and remarkably so. But the idea of our country has always been stronger than an election.”

Control of Congress was on the line as well, with Republicans maintaining their majority in the House and a string of hotly competitive Senate contests going their way as well.

Trump’s feuds with Republican leaders created deep fissures in his party, and his victory has set the GOP on a new path. But congressional leaders–including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who declined to campaign with Trump after a videotape surfaced of the real estate magnate talking in lewd terms about sexually accosting women–said they looked forward to collaborating on a conservative agenda together.

“This is the kind of unified Republican government that we set out to deliver,” he told reporters in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., adding Trump “earned a mandate” with his victory. “I think we are going to hit the ground running.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also called the election a rejection of Obama’s policies and said that “the American people have chosen a new direction for our nation.”

Obama campaigned vigorously for his former secretary of state — going so far as to label her opponent temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief — but his resurgent popularity did not rub off.

Trump had pledged to dismantle Obama’s achievements, starting with his signature law, the Affordable Care Act that became known as Obamacare. He also will be in position to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court.

A Trump presidency is certain to produce significant geopolitical repercussions. He has promised to transform U.S. foreign policy and take it in a more unilateralist direction.

He also has promised to build a wall on the border with Mexico and deport immigrants who are in this country illegally. Trump said he would “bomb the s—” out of the Islamic State and claimed he has a secret plan to annihilate the terrorist organization. He has also expressed admiration for strongmen such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he has promised to forge a closer relationship based on mutual respect.