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Thursday, November 10, 2016, 10:37

Clinton, Obama pledge to unite behind Trump

By Reuters
Clinton, Obama pledge to unite behind Trump
US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a concession speech after being defeated by Republican presidential-elect Donald Trump as her running-mate Tim Kaine(R) and former president Bill Clinton look on in New York on Nov 9, 2016. (Jewel Samad / AFP)

Republican Donald Trump put aside the celebrations and focused on Wednesday on his 73-day transition to the White House as rival Hillary Clinton promised to bury the bitterness of their long presidential race and work to unify a divided country.

After Trump's stunning upset of the heavily favored Clinton, Democratic President Barack Obama and leading figures in the Republican Party who had struggled to make peace with Trump all vowed to move past the ugliness of the campaign to seek common ground.

Hillary Clinton promised to bury the bitterness of their presidential race and work with Donal Trump to unify the US

"Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead," Clinton, the Democratic nominee, said in a concession speech in New York, joined by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and daughter Chelsea.

With a row of American flags in the background, she told supporters her loss was painful "and it will be for a long time," and that she had offered to work with Trump as he prepares to begin his four-year term on Jan 20.

Trump's victory marked a crushing end to Clinton's second quest to be the first woman elected president. She also failed in a White House bid in 2008.

Obama, who campaigned hard against Trump, invited him to the White House for a meeting on Thursday after a brutal night for the Democratic Party, which also fell short of recapturing majorities in both chambers of Congress.

"We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country," Obama said at the White House, adding he and his staff would work with Trump to ensure a successful transition. "We are not Democrats first, we are not Republicans first, we are Americans first."

Trump and his senior aides met at Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday to begin the transition.

TRUMP PRIORITIES

In an Oct 25 Reuters interview, Trump said his top priorities when he took office would be building stronger borders, repealing Obama's national healthcare plan, aiding military veterans and working to create more jobs.

In his victory speech early on Wednesday, he also promised to embark on a project to rebuild American infrastructure and to double US economic growth.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday that repealing the healthcare plan known as Obamacare would be a "pretty high item" on the agenda. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that she spoke to Trump about passing a "robust" jobs bill.

Speaking to cheering supporters in a New York hotel ballroom after his victory, Trump said it was time to heal divisions after a campaign that exposed deep differences among Americans.

"It is time for us to come together as one united people," Trump said. "I will be president for all Americans."

His comments departed sharply from his campaign rhetoric in which he repeatedly branded Clinton as "Crooked Hillary" amid supporters' chants of "lock her up."

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it hoped the tradition of not using the criminal justice system to extract revenge on political opponents would continue under Trump.

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