“Donald Trump is going to be our president,” she said. “We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.”
“Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans,” she said in a New York hotel ballroom.
Clinton conceded the presidential race, saying “this is painful, and it will be for a very long time.”
“I’m sorry we didn’t win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country,” she added.
She encouraged Democrats to respect the outcome of the election and the “constitutional democracy that enshrines the peaceful transfer of power.”
But she acknowledged Democrats will need to fight hard to protect their values.
The Constitution, she said, “also enshrines other things — the rule of law, the principle we are all equal in rights and dignity, freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values too, and we must defend them.”
Clinton also noted that she will not be the first woman to serve as president.
“We still haven’t shattered that highest glass ceiling, but someday someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.”
Clinton addressed a large group at the grand ballroom at Manhattan’s New Yorker Hotel on Wednesday, alongside her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and daughter Chelsea.
Her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), introduced her, and Clinton aides — a large group including campaign manager Robby Mook, chairman John Podesta, communications director Jennifer Palmieri — sat in the front row, alongside Bernie Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, and others.
Huma Abedin, Clinton’s embattled longtime aide, received a standing ovation when she entered the hall.
Members of Congress, including Reps. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), also attended.
Clinton thanked the campaign team and supporters who “poured your hearts into this campaign.”
“I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together, this vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energized campaign,” she said. “You represent the best of America and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life.”
Clinton called Trump early Wednesday morning to concede the presidential race, and Trump declared victory shortly after, saying “I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”
In his victory speech, Trump was conciliatory toward Clinton, saying she “has worked very hard over a long period of time and we owe her a major debt for her service to our country.”
“To all Democrats, Republicans, independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people,” he added.
President Obama spoke with Trump on Wednesday morning, as well, inviting the president-elect to the White House for a meeting on Thursday. Obama will speak on the election results on Wednesday afternoon.
Trump’s victory shocked establishment politicians, the media and pollsters, who had predicted a Clinton win.
He ultimately delivered for the GOP, however, winning the White House while Republicans also kept control of the House and the Senate. The party also grew its margins in state legislatures and now holds a record number of governorships, burying Democrats to a vast degree across the United States.
Clinton has a slight edge in the national popular vote as of Wednesday morning, a fact that won applause during her remarks, but not one that will comfort Democrats. But Clinton sought to rally her supporters, encouraging them to keep working for the “better, stronger, fairer America we seek.”
“Our constitutional Democracy demands our participation, not just every four years but all the time,” she said. “So lets do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear.”