In our first look at Donald Trump as president-elect, the man best known for telling people “you’re fired” on reality TV delivered an uncharacteristically restrained victory address to his supporters early Wednesday morning in New York City.
“I pledge to every citizen of our land: I will be president for all Americans,” Trump said after taking the stage at the New York Hilton shortly before 3 AM. “This is so important to me.”
After mentioning the concession call he received from Hillary Clinton—whose campaign, earlier, had not officially conceded the race, Trump said, “We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to this country,” which earned applause from the sea of Make America Great Again hats. (As recently as a few weeks ago, Trump reiterated his threat to pursue Clinton with a special prosecutor.)
The billionaire real estate mogul went on to offer his inspirational, if somewhat clichéd, version of what his presidency will hold, saying “no dream is too big” and “no challenge is too great.”
Trump also offered his gratitude to the campaign allies who are likely be to central to the transition: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
After a wild night, even the candidate seemed not to grasp the immediate repercussions of the results, telling American voters that, “Hopefully, at the end of two years, or three years, or four years, or even eight years, you’ll say that this was something you were really quite proud to do.”