In a belated concession speech Wednesday morning, Hillary Clinton urged her supporters to respect the peaceful transfer of power and to continue working towards a more inclusive, democratic America under President-elect Donald Trump.
Acknowledging that her loss was “painful,” the Democratic nominee told her still-tearful supporters, “We must accept this result and then look to the future.”
Clinton did not appear at her election night event at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City on Tuesday night after the electoral map turned in Trump’s favor, leaving her with an extremely narrow path to reach the 270 electoral votes she needed to win the presidency. Instead, she conceded to Trump over the phone as her backers and volunteers flooded out of the event, some in disbelief and others openly despairing.
Wednesday morning at Manhattan’s New Yorker hotel, Clinton said that although the outcome was not what Democrats wanted or expected, they needed to look forward to what comes next.
“This is painful and it will be for a long time, but I want you to remember this,” she said, with husband Bill, daughter Chelsea and running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) standing beside her. “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.”
“We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought, but I still believe in America and I always will,” she continued. “If you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our President. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”
Though she had respectful words for her opponent, some of her remarks offered a pointed rebuke to the rhetoric about immigrants, Muslims, the press and constitutional rights that Trump has expressed on the campaign trail. Clinton spoke not only of “the peaceful transfer of power” but of the “rule of law,” equal rights, and “freedom of worship and expression.”
Thanking her staff, volunteers, supporters, family, and running mate, the former secretary of state urged them all to carry on the work of her campaign.
“We have spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American dream is big enough for everyone, for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people and for people with disabilities,” she said. “For everyone. So now, our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek, and I know you will.”
Clinton reserved targeted words of consolation for young people and women and girls who supported her, saying their work still mattered. One day, she said, the glass ceiling she failed to break would shatter.
“I still believe as deeply as I ever have that if we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us,” Clinton said.