Outlook staff report
Hours after winning one of the most contentious elections to become the 45th president of the United States, Republican Donald Trump said he will begin to work immediately to become a president that the country could be proud of.
Trump pulled off a stunning upset by taking 289 electoral votes to 218 for Democrat Hillary Clinton. He went into election day needing victories in battleground states like Florida and North Carolina. But he not only took those states, winning many others where the Democratic Party has traditionally done well.
Clinton didn’t offer a concession speech until Wednesday morning. She called on Americans to support the president-elect in an emotional speech, with her vice president candidate Tim Kaine and members of their families at her side.
“This is painful and it will be for a long time,” Clinton said. “But I want you to remember this: Our campaign wasn’t about one person or even one election. This was about the country we love and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive and big hearted.”
Clinton appealed for the country to allow a smooth transition of power. Later, President Barack Obama said he will have his first meeting with Trump this week to discuss how the transition will take place.
During his victory speech late Tuesday night, Trump seemed to put aside the differences that he trumpeted throughout the campaign.
“We’re going to get to work immediately for the American people,” Trump said late Tuesday night. “And we’re going to be doing a job that hopefully you will be so proud of your president. You’ll be so proud. Again, it’s my honor. It was an amazing evening. It’s been an amazing two-year period. And I love this country.
“Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream. I’ve spent my entire life and business looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country.
Trump, known more for his business savvy than politics, was considered an underdog who didn’t have the support of Black voters, but that didn’t seemed to matter because of the apparent work that the RNC had done on the ground. However, Clinton was credited for having a solid ground game and had hoped to have support from a majority of women voters.
That didn’t play out, according to a breakdown of exit polls.
Exit polls provided a number of insights into the hard-fought and historic contest and exposed the deep divisions in the country. The candidates, who were widely viewed as unpopular, exposed these divisions in their candidacies.
But Trump praised Clinton’s competitive spirit.
“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,” Trump said.
Throughout the campaign, Clinton attacked tactics by Trump that she called divisive for comments about immigrants. There was no sign of division in Trumps speech.
Gone was Trump’s refrain, which he repeated at just about every juncture, about “crooked Hillary” and what he called her unprecedented corruption. And apparently gone was his oft-repeated rhetoric about the election’s being “rigged.”
Support for Trump ran not only through the expected battleground states — such as Florida, North Carolina, Iowa and Ohio — but also through traditionally blue states as well, like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And his victory came as the GOP was projected to retain control of the House and Senate.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together,” he said. “To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”
Clinton’s started her concession speech in the same tone, calling for support of the president-elect.
“Donald Trump is going to be our president,” she said. “We owe him an opened mind and a chance to lead.”
NOTE: The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.