Reality television star and real estate magnate Donald J. Trump pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in United States political history by defeating former first lady, secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York Hillary Clinton in one of the most controversial and contentious presidential elections in history.
The victory for Trump did not come until just before 3 a.m. Wednesday, shortly after Clinton conceded.
"I just received a call from Secretary Clinton," Trump said in his victory speech at the New York Hilton Midtown. "She congratulated us -- it's about us -- on our victory. I congratulated her on hard-fought campaign. She fought very hard.
"It is time for us to come together as one united people," Trump said. "I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans."
Trump then vowed to "work together and unify our great country."
"Our country was not a campaign but a great movement of millions of Americans from all religions, backgrounds and beliefs who expect America to serve the people."
With voting ended in 49 states as of 11 p.m. Tuesday, it became apparent Trump was closing in on being elected the 45th president of the United States in a stunning reversal of pre-election polls that had predicted a Clinton win.
The key battleground states of Florida and North Carolina were projected to be won by Trump around 11 p.m., about an hour after he became the projected winner in Ohio. No Republican presidential candidate has ever won the election without winning Ohio since Richard Nixon lost to John F. Kennedy in 1960.
New York, Connecticut and New Jersey had all been projected to be won by Clinton.
Clinton was aiming to become the first woman and the first spouse of a former president to become chief executive in the nation's 240-year history. Her husband, Bill Clinton, served as 42nd president from 1993 to 2001.
Clinton had been scheduled to hold an election night event at the Javits Convention Center in midtown.
Clinton, 69, had one of the most impressive résumés of any presidential candidate, having served as secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York, in addition to first lady.
The fallout of setting up a private email server at her Chappaqua home was a recurring issue during the campaign, and reached its peak in late October when FBI Director and Yonkers native James Comey revealed the bureau was investigating a new batch of emails it uncovered. Comey announced late last week the investigation said no additional action was warranted and most of the emails were duplicated of emails previously reviews.
Trump, 70, has spent most of his life in the bright spotlight of the public. He shook up the Republican presidential primary field of 16 contenders with his "outsider" appeal that was heightened by his ostentatious, non-conventional demeanor and unpredictable statements. In the presidential race, charges of sexual abuse by approximately a dozen women followed the release of a graphic tape in which he boasted about groping women.
Trump is the first president elected who has not served in government or the military.
It was the first presidential contest between two New Yorkers in 72 years, when Frank D. Roosevelt defeated Thomas Dewey.
"It's been called a historic event," Trump said. "But to be truly historic, we have to do a great job. I promise you, I won't let you down."
President-elect Trump, who will work with Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, is scheduled to meet with President Obama on Thursday as he begins to put his transition team in place prior to his Jan. 20 inauguration.
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