An emotional Hillary Clinton urged Americans to lend President-elect Donald Trump “an open mind and the chance to lead,” while also vowing to fight for the diversity she had claimed during a bitter campaign that Trump was trashing.
Clinton delivered her public concession speech at the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan about seven hours after Trump, the Republican nominee, was declared the victor and took Clinton’s private concession over the phone.
“I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it, too,” she said. “This is painful and it will be for a long time.”
Clinton made clear that she intended to hold Trump’s feet to fire on the biases and the threats to encroach on speech freedoms he expressed during his campaign.
“Our democratic Constitution enshrines a peaceful transition of power,” she said. “It also enshrines the rule of law, the principle we are all equal and freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values, too, and we must defend them.”
Trump during his campaign had delivered multiple broadsides against Muslims and Latinos, condescended to African-Americans, intimated conspiracy theories involving Jews and frequently used denigrating language to describe women opposed to him.
In the wee hours of Wednesday, however, he also was conciliatory, saying “now it’s time to bind the wounds of division; we have to get together.”
Choking back tears, Clinton spoke of the hopes she had stirred of becoming the first woman president.
“To all the little girls watching this, never doubt you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world of deserving to achieve your own dreams,” she said. “I count my blessings every single day that I am an American. I still believe that if we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, our best days are still ahead of us.”