Hillary Clinton addressed the nation Wednesday after a stunning loss against Donald Trump, telling her supporters that they must accept the outcome of the election and move forward.
“I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans,” she said at The New Yorker Hotel in midtown, adding that this was not the outcome she had hoped for.
“But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together,” Clinton said.
The former secretary of state said that the election’s outcome “was painful and will be for a long time.” She continued, “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.”
She said that the election proves that the country is deeply divided, but said, “I still believe in America, and I always will.”
She told her supporters, “Being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life.” But now, she said, the country must give Trump a chance.
“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead,” she said.
Clinton had a message for the women who have supported her candidacy: “Nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion.”
And she had this to say to her younger female crowd: “To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valued and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine spoke briefly ahead of Clinton’s speech, remarking that he was “so proud” of Clinton “because she loves this country” and has “held fast to dreams.”
The two spoke at New York City’s New Yorker Hotel several hours after what her campaign expected would be a victory party at the Jacob Javits Center. Her campaign chairman John Podesta sent supporters home after 2 a.m. on Wednesday, telling them Clinton would address the country later that day.
Shortly after her election night event came to a close, Clinton called Trump to concede the election. She lost most major swing states — including Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania — but was ahead in the popular vote.
Clinton fans were despondent as they stood outside The New Yorker while she gave her concession speech.
Eve Thoma, 40, a retired special education teacher living in midtown, said she was still trying to collect her thoughts on the election. Thoma did say that she’s looking forward to being more politically active.
“I need to make my voice stronger,” she said. “My voice needs to be louder.”
She described Trump’s win as a huge loss for women, minorities, the LGBTQ community and the environment. She also doubted that Trump would actually be able to deliver on some of his key talking points, specifically his pledge to bring more manufacturing jobs to the country.
“There are no jobs to be had,” Thoma said. “Those jobs are of a different era. It’s all tech now.”
David Sasson, a 21-year-old Clinton supporter from Brooklyn and student at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, said he was most interested to see how, or if, Trump’s rhetoric changes now that he’s in the White House.
“When you run a campaign on rage and hate, a lot of what he said can’t be taken back,” Sasson said. “I’m curious to see how he carries himself now.”
Sasson was worried that Trump could leave a lasting impact on the country if he enacts some of the policy changes that he’s promised.
“I consider him to be a little bit of [Lyndon B. Johnson] and my generation’s version of [Richard] Nixon,” Sasson said. “A lot of what they’ve done has had a lasting impact on policy today.”
Sasson said all the polling goes to show that what he called the “human factor” is almost impossible to gauge.
“Strangely, our statistical methods were pretty good,” he said. “But there’s that human factor of people that you can’t predict if they’re going to come out to vote. You can’t capture that.”
Jeremy Richards, 44, a writer living in New York, was an early Bernie Sanders supporter who voted for Clinton. He said he was interested in seeing where Trump takes the economy.
“I think we’ve learned that Trump successfully conned the Rust Belt into believing he could bring their jobs back,” he said. “That’s not going to happen.”
Richards said he donated thousands of dollars to political campaigns this election season. He’s not sure the Trump victory will change how and who he supports.
“In some ways there’s a feeling of helplessness as to what I can do,” he said, noting that several candidates he donated to have lost. “There was a possibility of Citizens United being overturned. Now, who knows.”
“I could always do more,” he said, regarding his support for the Democratic Party. “But — and I believe this hurt Bernie, with his supporters — I have a job and responsibilities. I can’t be the guy to carry these politicians to the final stretch.”