Trump calls for unity in victory speech

Presidential election results. Tribune News Service 2016

By Michael Finnegan and Seema Mehta
Los Angeles Times

NEW YORK _ After waging a fiercely divisive campaign, Donald Trump called for unifying Americans after he won the presidential race early Wednesday.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” he told cheering supporters at a Manhattan hotel. “To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans.”
Trump said he had received a call from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton conceding the race and congratulating him on his win. He said he congratulated Clinton on the hard-fought campaign and had only words of praise for the one-time rival he regularly referred to as “Crooked Hillary” on the campaign trail.
“Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for service to the country,” Trump said. “I mean that very sincerely.”
In his 15-minute speech, Trump said he planned to focus on growing the economy, infrastructure projects that would put millions of Americans to work and caring for veterans. There was no mention of mainstays of his campaign rhetoric, such as building an enormous wall along the Southern border and making Mexico pay for it or ripping up trade deals.
Instead, he pledged to work with other nations.
“We will seek common ground, not hostility. Partnership, not conflict,” Trump said.
Jubilation at Donald Trump’s New York election-night party built gradually Tuesday as he racked up battleground-state victories, each of them announced by Fox News anchors on huge television monitors bracketing a hotel ballroom stage.
Ohio drew the first big burst of cheers, but it was not entirely a surprise after weeks of polls showing Trump running ahead of Hillary Clinton there.
“That puts us on a path for a really, really good night,” said Sarah Huckabee, a senior Trump adviser. “It’s going to be a long night, but I think we’re in for a good night for Donald Trump.”
The next win, North Carolina, sparked louder applause. It was a more hard-fought contest. Clinton had staged a midnight rally in Raleigh on the eve of the election, and President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama both made repeated visits in what turned out to be a vain effort to inspire the state’s black voters.
Florida soon followed, and the mood turned giddy, with a constant din as Trump’s supporters, many wearing red “Make America great again” caps, marveled at the possibility that he could really pull it off.
But it was Fox’s call of Trump’s win in Wisconsin, where Clinton was heavily favored, that really sent the room into a frenzy. People screamed, waved their red caps in the air and leaped into one another’s arms. One woman lost her high heel. Another called out: “If he won this, my husband works in the White House.”
“Look at this excitement,” said Sasha Epshteyn, 50, a Russian immigrant wearing one of the red caps. “People laughing, people cheering, people kissing each other.”
No network had yet called the election for Trump, but Epshteyn, a New Jersey telecommunications manager, said he was “150 percent sure” Trump had captured the White House.
Laura Loomer said she was “jumping up with joy” at Trump’s victories in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina.
“Now I feel redeemed,” said Loomer, 23, a journalist.
“He’s going to go to Washington and take a sledgehammer to everything,” Loomer said.

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