NEW YORK: In his first speech as President-elect of the United States after a long and bitterly fought election, Donald Trump on Wednesday (Nov 9) called for his country to come together as one united people, saying he would bind the nation’s deep wounds and be a president “for all Americans”.
He also had praise for his defeated rival Hillary Clinton for her years of public service.
In a victory speech in his home city of New York, shortly after crossing the 270-vote threshold to win the presidency, Trump sought to bury the divisions and rancour that had made the 18-month presidential campaign so toxic.
“For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country,” Trump said.
“I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all of Americans.”
He was also noticeably conciliatory toward his vanquished rival, whom he has spent months berating as a corrupt favorite of the Washington establishment who broke the law by using a private server to send and receive classified data.
“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,” he said.
“I mean that very sincerely.”
The provocative billionaire president-elect, 70, said Clinton telephoned him to concede the race shortly after the state of Pennsylvania, which has voted Democratic in presidential races since 1992, was slotted into his win column.
“She congratulated us – it is about us – on our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign,” he said.
The real estate mogul also pledged to “deal fairly with everyone”, including “all other nations”, even as he puts America’s interests first.
“We will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will have great relationships,” he added.
“While the campaign is over, our work on this movement is now really just beginning,” Trump said, in a nod to the grass-roots anti-establishment, anti-Washington ground swell that upended the race with historic results.
“We’re going to get to work immediately for the American people, and we’re going to be doing a job that, hopefully, you will be so proud of your president.”