Trump claims astounding victory as America’s 45th president

Trump claims astounding victory as America’s 45th president

Trump claims astounding victory as America’s 45th president

AP photo

Republican Donald Trump stunned the world by defeating heavily favored rival Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 9 presidential election by becoming the 45th U.S. president and ending eight years of Democratic rule and sending the country on a new, uncertain path.

His triumph over the Democrat Clinton, not declared until well after midnight, threatens to undo major achievements of U.S. President Barack Obama. Trump has pledged to act quickly to repeal Obama’s landmark healthcare law, revoke America’s nuclear agreement with Iran and rewrite important trade deals with other countries, particularly Mexico and Canada.

Obama, who campaigned hard against Trump, telephoned the Republican to congratulate him on his victory and invited him to the White House for a meeting on Nov. 10, the White House said in a statement. 

“Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the president identified at the beginning of the year and a meeting with the president-elect is the next step,” the White House said.

Trump appeared with his family before cheering supporters in a New York hotel ballroom, saying it was time to heal the divisions caused by the campaign and find common ground after a campaign that exposed deep differences among Americans.

As he claimed victory, Trump urged Americans to “come together as one united people” after a deeply divisive campaign. “I will be president for all Americans.”

Clinton called her Republican rival to concede but did not immediately speak publicly about the stunning results. Trump, who spent much of the campaign urging his supporters on as they chanted “lock her up,” said the nation owed Clinton “a major debt of gratitude” for her years of public service.

His comments were an abrupt departure from his campaign trail rhetoric in which he repeatedly slammed Clinton as “crooked.”

Prevailing in a cliffhanger race that opinion polls had clearly forecast as favoring a Clinton victory, Trump won avid support among a core base of white non-college educated workers with his promise to be the “greatest jobs president that God ever created.” 

The Republican blasted through Democrats’ longstanding firewall, carrying Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that hadn’t voted for a GOP presidential candidate since the 1980s. He needed to win nearly all of the competitive battleground states, and he did just that, claiming Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and others.

“Such a beautiful and important evening! The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again. We will all come together as never before,” Trump wrote on Twitter early on Nov. 9. 

In his victory speech, he said he had a great economic plan, would embark on a project to rebuild American infrastructure and would double U.S. economic growth.

Clinton spent months warning voters that Trump was unfit and unqualified to be president. But the former senator and secretary of state struggled to articulate a clear rationale for her own candidacy.

Trump will inherit an anxious nation, deeply divided by economic and educational opportunities, race and culture.

Exit polls underscored the fractures: Women nationwide supported Clinton by a double-digit margin, while men were significantly more likely to back Trump. More than half of white voters backed the Republican, while nearly 9 in 10 blacks and two-thirds of Hispanics voted for the Democrat.

Republicans maintain grip on power in US Congress

Republicans maintained their majorities in both chambers of the U.S. Congress in the momentous election, empowering the party to reshape Washington. 

The Republican sweep sets up the United States for two years of “unified” government, which would normally mean significant policy change, although Trump’s election was anything but normal and he will start his presidency with unusual handicaps. 

Television networks projected the party would retain majorities in both the 100-seat Senate and the House of Representatives, where all 435 seats were up for grabs.

In the House, Republicans were on track to take 239 seats to the Democrats’ 196, according to NBC’s House model. That would be an eight-seat gain for Democrats, but still well short of what would be necessary to snatch the 435-member chamber back from Republican control.

Both Republican leaders on Capitol Hill held Trump at arm’s length during the campaign. Trump offended and attacked some congressional Republicans on the stump, including House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan. 

Early on Nov. 9, shortly after Clinton conceded to Trump, Ryan said in a statement: “We are eager to work hand-in-hand with the new administration to advance an agenda to improve the lives of the American people.” 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also a Republican, said in a guarded and similarly timed statement: “The American people have chosen a new direction for our nation.” 

The new Congress will not convene until Jan. 3, but the “lame-duck” Congress will return next week and Republicans are set to begin the process of picking leaders for both chambers.