NEW YORK CITY — Donald J. Trump had conciliatory words for those who supported him — and those who didn't — as he was elected as the 45th president of the United States Tuesday in a shocking upset.
"Now it's time for Americans to bind the wounds of division," Trump, 70, said during his victory speech just before 3 a.m. at the New York Hilton Midtown, blocks from Trump Tower.
Now Trump, whose election is seen more as a sign of this country's deep division over its rapidly shifting demographics, must try to figure out how to govern a deeply wounded nation.
"To all Republicans and Democrats and Independents across the nation I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It's time. I pledge to every citizen of our lands that I will be the president for the American people," Trump said, using conciliatory language that he did not use during the campaign.
"For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, for 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 added.
Trump said that: "Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her's fullest potential.
The businessman and bombastic showman — who ascended from reality television star to the highest office in the land to the surprise of even those in his own party — won shocking victories across the Rust Belt, taking areas which experts had assumed were safely in Hillary Clinton's territory.
The president-elect's surprising victory exposed huge rifts in the American electorate over the direction of the nation and hostile feelings about immigration, race relations, class and gender equity.
President-elect Trump questioned the integrity of the American electoral process, saying the election was "rigged" and refusing to say unequivocally that he would accept the results if he lost. His supporters warned of chaos and gridlock if Clinton won, bringing concerns about the orderly transition of power that has long been an American hallmark.
Trump's win was seen as a direct repudiation of Barack Obama's years in office by disaffected voters who believe the election was "rigged," as well as those who despised Hillary Clinton, 69, the first woman to win a major party nomination for president, and a former U.S. senator from New York, secretary of state and First Lady.
The election marks a shift in American politics. Both major party candidates had low approval ratings. Public rhetoric once seen as taboo coming from a modern presidential candidate became the norm from Trump during this election and was widely embraced by his mostly white supporters.
Clinton faced an active FBI investigation into her use of private email servers during her time as secretary of state with pronouncements from the agency in the campaign's last days. The Republican Party is expected to control the House and Senate as well.
Even as it appeared that Trump would win enough electoral college votes to claim the presidency, Clinton did not publicly concede as the clock ticked past 2 a.m. Eastern time.
Instead, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta dismissed the crowd remaining at the Javits Center who were waiting to hear Clinton speak.
"Everybody should head home, you should get some sleep," said Podesta, "we'll have more to say tomorrow."
Podesta added that "several states are too close to call" and praised Clinton.
"We are so proud of her. She's done an amazing job and she is not done yet," said Podesta.
Even though Clinton did not officially concede, Trump supporters were ecstatic.
"I always expected Trump to win. I thought the way people were supporting him, you could tell he was gonna win. I like his strategy, and the way he's planning for the country," said Lovepreet Ghotra, of Ozone Park.
"I've been a supporter since the campaign started. I think he's gonna do a better job keeping us safe than Hillary. I wasn't feeling optimistic this morning, but now I'm feeling pretty good." said Larry Orsini, a Trump supporter from Long Island outside of News Corp.
Some Clinton supporters were in shock.
"I'm not feeling too good," said Chuck Feiner, 63, who attended Clinton's block party outside the Javits Center.
Others said they expected tonight's results.
"I'm not surprised because he played to demographics, to white nationalism, and favored certain demographics. He was completely honest about that," said Michael Basillas, an NYC Black Lives Matter activist. "The problem with Hillary was people wanted someone radical, not a corrupt career politician. I think Bernie would have done better."
Christina Greer, a professor of political science at Fordham University, said Trump's election may very well be the start of difficult times for the United States at home and on the global stage.
News of Trump's better than expected performance throughout election night sent financial markets around the world plunging.
"The problem now is that so much of his vitriolic rhetoric has to be backed up with policy," Greer said. "If you say are tired of immigrants, let's kick them out, then some people who voted for you are going to be expecting that policy."