Obama, Clinton vow smooth transition for Trump

2016-11-09 22:12
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a meeting with local farmers at Bedners Farm Fresh Market in Boynton Beach, Florida. (Evan Vucci, AP)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a meeting with local farmers at Bedners Farm Fresh Market in Boynton Beach, Florida. (Evan Vucci, AP)

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New York - Barack Obama and his vanquished would-be successor Hillary Clinton sought on Wednesday to heal the wounds opened by the most acrimonious US election in memory, as they assured President-elect Donald Trump that Americans were "rooting" for his success.

Despite the bitter rhetoric, insults and political jabs that tarnished the long campaign, the top Democrats made clear they now sought a smooth and orderly transition in the world's largest economy.

Clinton said she had congratulated the Republican overnight after the upset victory by the political novice and former reality TV star, and offered "to work with him on behalf of our country."

"I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans," she told supporters in her first public remarks since the upset result dashed her chances of becoming the country's first woman president.

"We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead."

While the real estate mogul pledged to unite the nation as a "president for all Americans," the entire global political order, which hinges on Washington's leadership, was cast into doubt by the election of a man who has questioned core US alliances.

President Obama took to the Rose Garden to assure the world that the White House would craft a successful transition for the billionaire Trump, "because we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country."

"We are Americans first. We're patriots first. We all want what's best for this country," Obama said, as White House staff were seen wiping away tears.

'Redemption, not recrimination'

Around the world, as Trump's victory settled in as cold reality, observers greeted the political earthquake with warnings that America had handed power to "an unstable bigot, sexual predator and compulsive liar," in the words of Britain's The Guardian.

But the leaders of America's closest hemispheric partners, Canada and Mexico, quickly made clear their willingness to work with the new president, offering a message of continuity and stability with their giant neighbor.

And US investors appeared to be shaking off the shock that initially sent global markets plunging.

The Republican Party leadership, too, embraced their newfound hero, with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who had distanced himself from Trump in the final month of the campaign, pledging to "hit the ground running" and work with Trump on conservative legislation.

But Ryan also called for healing, saying the bitterly contested race must now be followed by a period "of redemption, not a time of recrimination."

Like Ryan, Trump called for national reconciliation after Clinton conceded defeat in a result that virtually no poll had dreamed of predicting.

"Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division," Trump told a crowd of jubilant supporters early Wednesday in New York, pledging to work with Democrats in office.

During a bitter two-year campaign that tugged at America's democratic fabric, the 70-year-old tycoon pledged to deport illegal immigrants, ban Muslims from the country and tear up free trade deals.

Trump's campaign message was embraced by a large section of America's white majority, grown increasingly disgruntled by the scope of social and economic change under Obama, their first black president.

Western partners

There was no disguising the concern of Washington's partners that Trump's victory might destroy the Western alliance they still regard as a touchstone for stability and the rule of law.

Some of the most enthusiastic support for Trump came from far-right and nationalist politicians in Europe such as French opposition figure Marine Le Pen, Matteo Salvini of Italy's Northern League and British euroskeptic Nigel Farage.

Russia's autocratic leader Vladimir Putin said he wanted to rebuild "full-fledged relations" with the United States, as he warmly congratulated the president-elect.

EU leaders Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, seeking reassurances about transatlantic ties, invited Trump to an EU-US summit at his "earliest convenience."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the world body was counting on Trump's administration to help combat climate change and advance human rights worldwide.

And NATO head Jens Stoltenberg warned Trump, who spoke during the campaign of making US allies bear a bigger share of the Western security burden, that "US leadership is more important than ever."

The results prompted a global market sell-off, with stocks plunging across Asia and Europe, while the Mexican peso plunged 7.64% to a record low against the dollar.

But the British market briefly after Trump's conciliatory victory speech and the Dow Jones Industrial Index opened higher.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  hillary clinton  |  barack obama  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

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