Real estate mogul Donald Trump, who ran on an anti-establishment platform, will become the 45th president of the United States after an explosive campaign marked by sexual assault allegations and racial tensions.
In a late call at about 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday that upended predictions of a Democratic victory, Trump defeated the former Secretary of State, New York senator and First Lady Hillary Clinton with 276 electoral votes after winning Wisconsin, according to the Associated Press.
Trump took the stage at about 2:50 a.m. in Trump Headquarters at Hilton Midtown, New York, amid supporters chanting “USA! USA! USA!” He pledged to “be president for all Americans.”
“This is so important to me,” Trump said. “For those who have chosen not to support me in the past … I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help, so we can work together and unify our great country.”
Clinton conceded the election to Trump in a phone call on Tuesday night, according to multiple reports.
“She congratulated us — it’s about us — on our victory,” Trump said. “And I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard fought campaign. … 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.”
As anticipated, Trump held on to traditionally Republican states such as West Virginia, Texas, Idaho and Montana, while Clinton retained control of states such as Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Delaware and her home state of New York. The surprise of the evening came when Trump picked up states such as North Carolina, Florida and the crucial swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, pushing him to victory.
Clinton had secured this state with 61 percent of the vote, compared to Trump’s 35 percent, according to the latest AP result reports. But in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1, Trump maintained strong support in western and southern Maryland and among voters on the Eastern Shore.
While Clinton called her loss “painful” during her concession speech in New York on Wednesday morning, she added that she fully supported a peaceful transition of power and hoped Trump would be “a successful president for all Americans.”
“We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead,” she said.
Trump’s win closes a roller coaster election season and a race that was within three percentage points until the end, according to Real Clear Politics polling average released on Election Day.
Within his first 100 days in the Oval Office, Trump’s immediate efforts will be focused on repealing the Affordable Care Act, renegotiating trade agreements and reforming immigration policies, according to his campaign.
The real-estate tycoon and television personality’s platform of “Make America Great Again” resonated with midwesterners, small business owners and blue-collar white voters. His candidacy was underscored by a focus on taxes, foreign policy and immigration.
Trump ran a hard-hitting campaign, focusing on his opponent’s scandals — most notably, Clinton’s use of a private email server. FBI Director James Comey decided to reopen the case last month after new emails surfaced from Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The now-closed investigation posed a threat to Clinton’s campaign just days before the election. Trump also attacked Clinton for “corrupt” and “pay-to-play” politics, referencing her favoritism to Clinton Foundation donors.
Trump’s own scandals threatened to derail his campaign late in the election season. At least 18 women accused Trump of sexual assault, including former beauty pageant and Apprentice contestants, according to NPR. Clinton used the accusations, along with Trump’s disparaging comments about minorities, as the basis of her advertising campaign, which sought to paint Trump as “unfit” for the presidency.
Clinton’s campaign outspent Trump by more than $200 million and received more than $235 million more contributions than the Republican nominee throughout the election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission data.
Staff writer Rebecca Rainey contributed to this report.