Clinton came on stage with Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan on Wednesday morning, delivering an emotional speech to her supporters as she apologised for the loss and admitted that the defeat was painful. “This is not the outcome we wanted,” she admitted. “I’m sorry we did not win for the values we hold.”
The defeated candidate said she had offered to work with president-elect Donald Trump going forward and hoped he would be a success as president “for all Americans.”
Clinton said it was time to accept the result and look to the future: “Donald Trump is going to be our president and we owe him an open mind and a chance to lead,” she said. “We cherish” the transfer of power, she noted. “I still believe in America and I always will.”
She said it was the responsibility of all citizens to “do our part to build democracy” and to make it inclusive. “The American dream is big enough for everyone,” she said. To loud applause she said this should include people from the LGBT community and people with disabilities.
Clinton thanked her family and her campaign team and also president Barack Obama: “Our country owes you an enormous debt of gratitude,” she said, to great applause.
Her final comments were for young girls and women, whom she encouraged to keep believing that fighting for “what is right is worth it.” She again referred to the difficulties for women reaching top office in the US: “I know we have not shattered that glass ceiling but someday someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.”
Quoting from the Bible, she encouraged her supporters not to lose heart: “God bless you and God bless the US,” she concluded.
First public comments
The comments were her first public remarks since her defeat to Donald Trump in the presidential election. Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, emailed campaign staffers inviting them to join her for the speech, campaign aides said. Her remarks were billed as a goodbye to staff and as a way for her to lay out a way forward for Democrats and the country.
Clinton was introduced on Wednesday morning by her running mate, Virginia senator Tim Kaine, who called her a “history maker” in a country that has made it “uniquely difficult for a woman.” He praised her team for their loyalty and Clinton for her love of the country.
Clinton did not give a formal concession speech on Tuesday night but called Trump early Wednesday to congratulate him on his victory.
The Democratic candidate had watched the returns with family and close aides at a Manhattan hotel suite on Tuesday night. She made no public appearance before her supporters who had gathered at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Centre.
Press reports have suggested Clinton would win the popular vote.
Reports released shortly before her speech also indicated that she had won the electoral vote of Minnesota.
Winner of the popular vote
If the numbers are confirmed, Clinton would become the fifth presidential candidate in American history to win the popular vote but lose the White House.
Trump said during the campaign that he would assign a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton. But his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday: “we have not discussed that at all.”
Conway said Clinton had “congratulated him for his victory,” and he told Clinton that she was “very smart, very tough” and had “waged a tremendous campaign.” He said that Trump had also had a “warm conversation” with Obama.
Lady Gaga, who appeared on stage at Clinton’s final rally ahead of the election, expressed her dissatisfaction outside Trump Tower after Clinton lost the election.