Trump vows to unify a deeply divided nation

President-elect Donald Trump pumps his fist after giving his acceptance speech as his wife Melania Trump, right, and their son Barron Trump follow him during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/John Locher)
President-elect Donald Trump pumps his fist after giving his acceptance speech as his wife Melania Trump, right, and their son Barron Trump follow him during his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/John Locher)

NEW YORK (AP) – President-elect Donald Trump vowed Wednesday to unify a deeply divided nation, having scored a stunning victory backed by extraordinary support from working-class America.

The tough-talking New York billionaire claimed victories in the nation’s premier battleground states, but his appeal across the industrial Midwest – Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, in particular – sealed a victory that defied pre-election polls and every expectation of the political establishment.election-results-art2

“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 – and created some new ones.

He won Ohio, Florida and North Carolina. He also took down the Democratic Party’s “blue firewall” by scoring victories in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that haven’t supported a Republican presidential candidate since 1988 and 1984 respectively.

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 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.”

While Democrat Hillary Clinton was trying to make history as the first female president, Trump made a different kind of history as one of the least experienced presidential candidates ever elected.

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

Some were branded resume lightweights: ex-governors George W. Bush of Texas, Bill Clinton of Arkansas and Ronald Reagan of California, among them. But they had served somewhere – whether in Congress, states or in a leadership post in an administration.

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

His political inexperience allowed him to cast himself as a change agent just as frustrated voters in both parties were hungry for change. The message was particularly effective against Clinton, a fixture in public service over the last three decades.

Ever the showman, his strategy relied almost exclusively on massive rallies to connect with voters, ignoring the grunt work that typically fuels successful campaigns.

Pre-election polls suggested he was the least popular presidential nominee in the modern era.

Yet there were signs that Republicans who previously vowed never to support Trump were willing to give him a chance moving forward.

“If Trump wins, he does deserve the benefit of the doubt because he was right on his chances and so many of us were wrong,” tweeted conservative leader Erick Erickson.


3:10 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is telling the American people that “I promise you I will not let you down.”

Trump, addressing supporters at his victory party in New York City early Wednesday, says he looks “very much forward to being your president.”

He tells his supporters he hopes to make them “very proud” for choosing him to be the nation’s 45th president.

And the celebrity businessman vows to “get to work immediately for the American people” and says his “movement” was just beginning.

Trump is exiting the party to one of his campaign anthems, The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

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3:08 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump is trying to reassure jittery U.S. allies.

Trump ran on a platform of pulling back from historic treaties like NATO. But in his victory speech Wednesday morning Trump is trying to reassure foreign countries.

He says, “I want to tell the world that, while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone.”

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3:06 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is congratulating President-elect Donald Trump on his victory after he condemned statements and actions by Trump during the campaign.

McConnell is pitching Trump’s victory as an opportunity to move in a different direction after eight years under Democrat Barack Obama. He says Trump has “a significant opportunity to bring our nation together.”

McConnell also says he hopes to work closely with Democrats to strengthen national and economic security.

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3:05 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has called President-elect Donald Trump to congratulate him on his victory.

Ryan, who criticized Trump during the campaign, is likely to face some opposition among Republicans in his bid to retain his leadership post.

Ryan issued a statement early Wednesday calling Trump’s victory a “repudiation of the status quo of failed liberal progressive policies.”

He says he is eager to work with the new administration to advance the Republican agenda.

First, he urges the GOP to work to bring the country together after the divisive election.

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2:55 a.m.

Donald Trump has pledged to be a president “for all Americans.”

The president-elect, addressing supporters at his victory party in New York City, asked that the nation to come together, and promised to “represent every citizen of our land.”

He added that it was “time for America to bind the wounds of division” and “time for us to come together as one.”

He also declared his administration will be a time of “national growth and renewal.”

Trump said “America will no longer settle for anything but the best” and said that the nation will “dream big and bold and daring.”

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2:50 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton called him to congratulate him on his victory.

Trump, addressing supporters at his victory party in New York City, said Wednesday that he “congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign.”

He added that “we owe her a major debt of gratitude” for her service.

The gracious sentiment was a far cry from Trump’s usually heated rhetoric about Clinton. He has suggested that she should go to jail and chants of “Lock her up!” were a staple at his campaign rallies.

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2:45 a.m.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence is declaring Donald Trump’s victory “a historic night.”

Pence, Indiana’s governor, addressed Trump’s victory party in New York City early Wednesday.

Trump’s running mate said “the American people have spoken and the American people have elected their new champion.”

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2:29 a.m.

Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States.

The Republican nominee won Wednesday after capturing Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes, putting him over the 270 threshold.

Voters eager to shake up the nation’s political establishment picked the celebrity businessman to become the nation’s 45th president.

Trump rode an astonishing wave of support from voters seeking change and willing to accept a candidate loose with facts and accused of sexual misconduct.

He upset Democrat Hillary Clinton, who would have become the first woman to serve in the Oval Office.

Trump struck a populist tone and placed a hardline immigration stance at his campaign’s heart.

Trump rose to political fame after questioning whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States. He will now follow Obama into the White House.

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2:08 a.m.

Republicans have officially retained control of the U.S. Senate.

It comes as Missouri Republican Roy Blunt and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski won their two races in Tuesday’s election.

Republicans have a 51-47 edge in the Senate. Two races remain outstanding: In Louisiana, the seat will head to a runoff election next month. And in New Hampshire, Democrat Maggie Hassan and Republican Kelly Ayotte are locked in a too-close-to-call race.

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2:05 a.m.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman says it has nothing more to say even as votes turn against her.

John Podesta told a crowd in New York early Wednesday that with states still uncalled “we’re not going to have anything else to say tonight.”

Clinton trails in the Electoral College count and Donald Trump is close to breaking the 270-vote threshold to become president.

Podesta told the crowd Clinton “has done an amazing job” and “is not done yet.”

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1:56 a.m.

Hillary Clinton has won the statewide vote in Maine.

Clinton has won one of the state’s congressional districts, giving her three electoral votes. Trump has won one district in the state and wins one electoral vote.

Trump also won the remaining congressional district in Nebraska, which gives him another electoral vote.

Clinton now has 218 electoral votes. Her Republican opponent has 266, just four shy of the threshold needed to be elected president.

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1:36 a.m.

Donald Trump has won Pennsylvania and its prize of 20 electoral votes.

Trump’s stunning victory in the key battleground state gives him 264 electoral votes.

It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, has 215.

Pennsylvania last voted for a Republican for president in 1988. Trump repeatedly campaigned there, believing his populist message would resonate with the state’s working-class voters.

Clinton long viewed the state as a key part of her “firewall” and rallied in Philadelphia with President Barack Obama on Monday night. The Democrats also held their nominating convention in the city.

___

1:30 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has congratulated Donald Trump on “his big night.”

A Ryan spokeswoman confirms that the Republican speaker called the Republican presidential nominee Tuesday evening. The spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, says they had “a very good conversation.”

She says, “The speaker congratulated Trump on his big night and also spoke with his good friend Gov. Mike Pence.”

___

12:42 a.m.

The mood is dark at Hillary Clinton’s election night party.

Stony-faced supporters were crying and anxiously staring at the big screens showing election results. Some began leaving as the race wore on into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Thousands had gathered at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City for Clinton’s election night party. The glass-ceilinged building was picked as a nod to what aides expected would be the historic election of the first female U.S. president.

Clinton, her family and close aides have spent hours ensconced in a suite at the Peninsula New York, a luxury hotel in midtown Manhattan.

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12:30 a.m.

Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is describing the mood inside Trump Tower as “buoyant.”

She tells The Associated Press that the team is hopeful as results continue to roll in.

A Trump victory would represent a stunning upset against his rival Hillary Clinton.

Thousands of his supporters are gathered in a midtown Manhattan hotel ballroom watching the results on Fox.

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12:25 a.m.

Former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens has won the Missouri governor’s race, beating Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster. The contest offered voters a vivid choice between experience and a fresh start.

Greitens, a first-time Republican candidate, has touted himself as an outsider and pledged to tackle corruption in the state Capitol. Koster took the opposite approach, emphasizing that his nearly 22 years in elected office make him qualified to run state government.

Without a voting record, Greitens was running on his time as a Navy SEAL officer and founder of a charity for veterans, The Mission Continues. Greitens’ lengthy resume also includes stints as a Rhodes scholar and White House fellow, champion boxer and martial artist, a best-selling author and motivational speaker.

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12:23 a.m.

Republicans have clinched continued House control for the new Congress. They’ll likely lose seats from their current historic high, but they won enough seats to extend their six-year streak of commanding the chamber.

With voting results still being counted early Wednesday, Republicans have won at least 218 House seats. That exceeds the number needed to control the chamber.

Democrats started the year hoping Donald Trump’s divisive presidential candidacy would cost Republicans bushels of House seats. His impact on down-ballot candidates proved spotty.

Republicans now control 247 seats in the House. With a smaller GOP majority, dissident hard-right conservatives could have added leverage to press House Speaker Paul Ryan and other party leaders on the budget and other issues.

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12:21 a.m.

Hillary Clinton has won Nevada and its six electoral votes.

Her victory there in the presidential election brings Clinton’s Electoral College total to 215. Republican Donald Trump has 244 votes.

It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

Clinton’s win in Nevada is the first time since the 1940s that the Democrats have carried the state in three consecutive elections.

The winner of the U.S. presidential election has failed to carry Nevada only once since 1908.

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12:05 a.m.

Democrat Jay Inslee has been re-elected governor of Washington, beating challenger Bill Bryant.

Inslee, a former congressman, touted his environmental record throughout the campaign. He said the state is requiring the biggest polluters to reduce emissions and is promoting alternative energy.

Bryant, a former Seattle Port commissioner, sharply criticized Inslee in the months leading up to the November election. He said Inslee had mismanaged state departments, especially the state’s mental health system. He also said Inslee had failed to come up with a plan to fund K-12 education, as mandated by the state Supreme Court.

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12:02 a.m.

Donald Trump has won the battleground state of Iowa.

He was awarded the state’s six Electoral College votes early Wednesday.

Trump now has 244 electoral votes. His Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton has 209.

Iowa had voted for a Republican only once since 1984 but polls remained tight throughout the campaign. Trump proved popular with the state’s sizable evangelical population while Clinton and her allies campaigned frequently in its college towns.

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11:53 p.m.

Donald Trump has won Utah.

The Republican nominee was awarded its six electoral college votes.

He now has 238 electoral votes. His Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton has 209.

Utah is normally one of the safest states on the map for Republicans. But the presence of independent Evan McMullin changed the calculation this year as polls consistently reflected a tight three-way race. Trump also had struggled with Mormons, who are normally reliably Republican voters.

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11:44 p.m.

Kate Brown has been re-elected governor of Oregon over Republican newcomer Bud Pierce.

Brown became governor in February 2015 after the resignation of John Kitzhaber over an influence-peddling scandal. Brown was then secretary of state and next in line to succeed him.

Tuesday’s gubernatorial vote was a special election to fill the remainder of Kitzhaber’s four-year term.

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11:43 p.m.

Donald Trump’s victory in Ohio demonstrates the Republican nominee’s ability to energize working-class voters outside of America’s largest cities.

Mahoning County stands out as a working-class county where organized labor still maintains political clout. Trump didn’t win the county that surrounds Youngstown. But he might as well have.

Hillary Clinton won by just 3 percentage points and less than 3,500 votes. Four years ago, President Barack Obama outpaced Mitt Romney by almost 25,000 votes on his way to a 28-point margin in the county. Clinton fell more than 20,000 votes shy of Obama’s total.

Youngstown is represented in Congress by a Democrat who offers some of the same populist appeal to labor as Trump. But those loyalties to Rep. Tim Ryan apparently didn’t transfer to Clinton.

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11:37 p.m.

Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott has won election as governor of Vermont.

He defeated Democrat Sue Minter.

The popular construction company executive and part-time race-car driver had served three two-year terms as Vermont’s part-time lieutenant governor. He was previously in the state Senate.

Scott takes over in January from Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who decided not to seek a fourth two-year term.

___

11:36 p.m.

The crowd at Donald Trump’s election watch party is jubilant as returns continue to roll in putting him closer to 270 Electoral College votes.

Supporters packed into a hotel ballroom in midtown Manhattan are breaking into chants of “USA!” and embracing each other in groups.

Others are breaking into song, bellowing “God Bless America” at the top of their lungs.

The screens in the ballroom are turned to Fox News. When the station shows images of Clinton’s election headquarters, the room breaks into boos and chants of one of Trump’s slogans: “Drain the swamp!”

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