US Elections 2016: Spotlight on winner and loser

Trump calls for unity in victory speech

Donald Trump arrives for his election night rally at the New York Hilton Midtown in Manhattan, New York.
Donald Trump arrives for his election night rally at the New York Hilton Midtown in Manhattan, New York.PHOTO: REUTERS

He urges nation to 'bind wounds of division', and speaks of desire to serve Americans of all races

As an ugly, often divisive election closed with a sweeping victory for Mr Donald Trump, the president-elect took the first steps towards trying to repair the damage done by the campaign.

Taking to the stage at the New York Hilton Midtown in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, he delivered a restrained, gracious speech that appeared designed to reassure viewers that the bombastic Trump on the campaign trail would not be the same one entering the White House.

Calling for unity, he said: "Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people."

He even reached out to those who had not supported him, asking for their "guidance and help".

Instead of singling out races or religions, as he had often done during the campaign, he spoke about a desire to serve Americans of all races, reaching out to minorities who have thus far viewed his campaign with distrust.

 

"As I've said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and great movement, made up of millions of hard-working men and women who love their country and want a better, brighter future for themselves and for their family," he said. "It is a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds, and beliefs, who want and expect our government to serve the people, and serve the people it will."

But there was also a clear nod to his core group of working-class voters who had felt disenfranchised by the government.

He said: "Every single American will have the opportunity to realise his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer."

SEEKING COMMON GROUND

I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America's interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone - all people and all other nations. We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.

MR DONALD TRUMP

Mr Trump, flanked by his family and his running-mate Mike Pence - whom he almost forgot to thank during his speech - also praised an opponent he had often referred to as "crooked Hillary".

He said: "Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country."

There was even a line to help address concerns that a Trump presidency would not fundamentally alter US' relationships with its allies.

He said:" We will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us... We will have great relationships."

He thanked people who had helped him along on his journey, including his family, staff, surrogates and even Secret Service agents.

The allies he thanked included former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as well as Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus, whom Mr Trump called "a star" and "the hardest-working guy".

Circling back to his main campaign promise to "Make America Great Again", Mr Trump - without saying those exact words - told the crowd that he would do just that.

"We must reclaim our country's destiny and dream big and bold and daring. We have to do that. We're going to dream of things for our country and beautiful things and successful things once again," he said.

"Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach. America will no longer settle for anything less than the best," he said, as the crowd wearing "Make America Great Again" caps cheered in approval.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2016, with the headline 'Trump calls for unity in victory speech'. Print Edition | Subscribe