Democrat Hillary Clinton has conceded the 2016 US White House race to Republican Donald Trump, offering to work with the president-elect who she said she hoped would be a successful leader for all Americans.
Mrs Clinton, appearing at midday (local time) after a bruising election loss to the New York real estate magnate, urged supporters to keep an open mind towards Mr Trump and give him a chance to lead.
“Last night I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country,” Mrs Clinton told hundreds of supporters and staff at a Manhattan hotel.
“This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I’m sorry that we did not win this election for the values we shared and the vision we hold for our country.”
Possibly facing her last opportunity for a presidential run, Mrs Clinton acknowledged the results were painful and that she was disappointed.
She urged her assembled staff and supporters — deflated after recent national opinion polls indicated a good chance at victory — to continue to work for a better nation.
“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 about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted.”
Mrs Clinton has become the fifth presidential nominee in US history to win the popular vote, but lose the election.
Overall more Americans voted for Mrs Clinton but Mr Trump won most of the electoral college votes which decide the presidency.
The former first lady, US senator, and secretary of state said the election results showed the nation was deeply divided, but the voters had spoken.
“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”
The 69-year-old, who would have been the first woman to be US president, told female supporters “nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion”.
“I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think right now,” she said.
“To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
Trump softens usual rhetoric
Mr Trump has put aside the celebrations and begun planning his 73-day transition to the White House, with he and his senior aides meeting at Trump Tower in New York to plan their course of action.
Last month the president-elect said his top priorities when he takes office would be building stronger borders, repealing President Barack Obama’s national healthcare plan, aiding military veterans and working to create more jobs.
In his victory speech, he also promised to embark on a project to rebuild American infrastructure and to double US economic growth.
Mr Trump told cheering supporters it was time to heal divisions and find common ground after a campaign that exposed deep differences among Americans.
“I will be president for all Americans.”
His comments were an abrupt departure from his campaign trail rhetoric in which he repeatedly branded Mrs Clinton as “Crooked Hillary” amid supporters’ chants of “lock her up”.
Mr Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway nonetheless did not rule out the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Mrs Clinton’s past conduct, a threat Mr Trump made in an election debate last month.