Hillary Clinton conceded the White House race to President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday morning, saying she hoped "he will be a successful president for all Americans."
"This is not the outcome we wanted or worked so hard for. I'm sorry we didn't win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country," the Democratic nominee told supporters crowded into a small, nondescript ballroom at the New Yorker Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.
It was a much different venue than the first major party female presidential nominee had planned. She had hoped to deliver a victory speech instead Tuesday evening from the Javits Convention Center — on a stage shaped like the United States of America underneath a glass ceiling in a massive convention hall.
Clinton seemed to be choking back tears at times, as did her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who spoke just before her. Flanked by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and daughter Chelsea and her husband Marc Mezvinsky, the disappointment and shock were palpable on their faces and in the still-stunned supporters in the room.
"I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it, too," Clinton said. "And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort."
"This is painful, and it will be for a long time," she admitted. "But I want you to remember this — our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love and building an America that is hopeful, inclusive and bighearted."
Clinton urged her supporters to "accept the result and look to the future," saying she "still believe[s] in America and I always will."
"We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transition of power. We don't just respect that; we cherish it," Clinton said of the GOP president-elect, who had refused to say many times during a very contentious campaign whether he would accept the results of the election should he lose.
And Clinton acknowledged that even with the historic nature of her candidacy, she had fallen short of becoming the first female U.S. president, failing in a historic upset that neither polls nor pundits saw coming. For now, that task falls to a new generation of female leaders.
"Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling," Clinton said. "But someday, someone will and hopefully sooner than we think right now."