Clinton, Obama pledge to unite behind next president Trump
Donald Trump put aside the celebrations and began planning his 73-day transition to the White House on Wednesday as rival Hillary Clinton promised to bury the bitterness of their long presidential race and work to unify a divided country.
After the Republican Trump's stunning upset of the heavily favored Clinton, Democratic President Barack Obama and leading figures in the Republican Party who had struggled to make peace with Trump all vowed to move past the ugliness of an angry and sometimes personal campaign to seek common ground.
"Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead," Clinton, the Democratic nominee, said in a concession speech in New York before noon on Wednesday, joined by her husband, former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea.
With a row of American flags in the background, she told supporters her loss was painful "and it will be for a long time," and that she had offered to work with Trump as he prepares to begin his four-year term on January 20.
A wealthy real estate developer and former reality TV host, Trump rode a wave of anger toward Washington insiders to win Tuesday's election against Clinton, whose gold-plated establishment resume included stints as a first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
Trump's victory marked a crushing end to Clinton's second quest to become the first woman president. She also failed in a White House bid in 2008.
Obama, who campaigned hard against Trump, invited him to the White House for a meeting on Thursday after a brutal night for his Democratic Party, which also fell short of recapturing majorities in both chambers of Congress.
"We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country," Obama said at the White House, adding he and his staff would work with Trump to ensure a successful transition. "We are not Democrats first, we are not Republicans first, we are Americans first."
Trump and his senior aides were meeting at Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday to begin the transition. Trump will enjoy Republican majorities in both chambers of the U.S. Congress that could help him implement his legislative agenda.
"He just earned a mandate and we now just have a unified Republican government," House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, who had a strained relationship with Trump, told reporters in Wisconsin, saying Congress would "hit the ground running" in January.