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Trump vows to unify a deeply divided nation

'It is time for us to come together as one united people,' he tells supporters gathered in a Manhattan hotel

Published: Updated:

President-elect Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday to unify a deeply divided nation, having scored a stunning victory backed by extraordinary support from working-class America.

“I say it is time for us to come together as one united people,” Trump told supporters gathered in a Manhattan hotel near his Trump Tower campaign headquarters.

“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 we can work together and unify our great country,” he said, the stage crowded with family and his most loyal allies.

Trump addressed the nation after sweeping most of the nation’s top battlegrounds.

He praised Clinton and urged Americans to “come together as one united people” after a deeply divisive campaign.

Obama invites Trump to meet

In Washington, conceding his party’s staggering electoral defeat, President Barack Obama on Wednesday invited President-elect Donald Trump to meet with him to discuss the handover of power from his administration to Trump's.

The White House said Obama called the Republican in the early hours of the morning to congratulate him on his victory in the presidential campaign, which marked a forceful rebuke by voters to Obama's eight years in office. The two leaders planned to meet Thursday at the White House, where Obama was to update Trump about ongoing planning for the transition.

Obama was to offer his first reaction to the election later Wednesday in a televised statement that the White House said would focus on “what steps we can take as a country to come together after this hard-fought election season.”

“Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the president identified at the beginning of the year and a meeting with the president-elect is the next step,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

Trump’s win shocked political professionals and global financial markets alike. But it created pure joy inside the hotel ballroom where hundreds of Trump supporters waited for hours for his celebration speech. They hugged each other, chanted “USA!” and bellowed “God bless America” at the top of their lungs.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called Trump on Tuesday night to congratulate him on his “incredible victory.”

“We are eager to work hand-in-hand with the new administration to advance an agenda to improve the lives of the American people,” Ryan, who had a rocky relationship with Trump at times, said in a statement. “This has been a great night for our party, and now we must turn our focus to bringing the country together.”

A businessman and former reality TV star, he is a true political outsider in a way that marks a sharp break from past presidents.

Trump’s outsider status ultimately helped him politically far more than it hurt.