CITY HALL — Chicago woke up "despondent" after the election of Republican Donald Trump as president, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday, as he sought to rally a somber City Council.
Emanuel — who criticized Trump as unfit to lead America during the campaign — said many Chicagoans went to sleep Tuesday night and woke up "despondent this morning and fearing for their future and fearing for the future of their children."
"This is not the result I wanted, and one I didn't think would happen," Emanuel said, praising Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as someone who will "never stop fighting for what she believes in."
However, Emanuel celebrated the election of City Clerk Susana Mendoza in the state comptroller's race as a bright spot. Mendoza, the daughter of an Mexican immigrant, is the first Hispanic woman to be elected to statewide office in her own right.
Mendoza's election is a demonstration of the values embodied by the motto of the United States of America: out of many, one, Emanuel said, also celebrating the victory of Tammy Duckworth in the race for the U.S. Senate; Raja Krishnamoorthi to represent the northwest suburbs of Chicago in Congress; and Cook County State's Attorney-elect Kim Foxx.
"I see diversity as the story of America," Emanuel said.
Chicago and Illinois — where Clinton defeated Trump handily — will continue to value diversity, and serve as "a shining bright beacon in moments of darkness," Emanuel said.
Emanuel issued a challenge to the president-elect as well as the U.S. Senate and U.S. House — which will be controlled by Republicans as of January — to "hear, respect and listen to voices who did not elect you."
In Chicago, "the American dream is alive and well," Emanuel said.
But Democrats and progressives must do more to "respect" those "who do not see diversity as a strength" and are anxious about changes in the economy, the racial makeup of the country and its culture, Emanuel said.
"This election is in many ways a statement to all elites, media elites, public elected officials business finance elites: 'you can no longer ignore us and disrespect us.'"
Emanuel said he was not worried about Trump taking on revenge on Chicago officials, who ordered early this month that a street sign honoring him outside Trump Tower be taken down as soon as possible and blasted him as a racist who should not be allowed to occupy the White House.
Trump has written in his books and said often that he is driven by revenge and that it is a basic tool he uses in business.
"I'm not sure that President-Elect Trump will listen to me, but I would remind him that he will be the president for all of America, including the nation's third largest city," Emanuel said, noting that he disagrees with Trump on a host of issues including public safety policy and gun restrictions.
However, Emanuel acknowledged that undocumented immigrants were fearful that a Trump victory means his administration will move to deport them.
"Do not lose hope, because America embraces you," Emanuel said, speaking directly to undocumented immigrants. "Your dreams are honored here."
Included in the mayor's proposed 2017 budget is $1 million to establish a municipal identification card for undocumented immigrants.
"I know your sense of fear," Emanuel said. "We are a welcoming city. We will stay a welcoming city."
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