Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Photo: Getty Images
Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States on Tuesday, defeating Hillary Clinton to cap a historic rise to highest office in the land.
Trump won with 289 electoral votes compared to 218 for Clinton, according to CNN projections. His election was the surprising culmination of a campaign that was unpredictable and unprecedented from its start.
The billionaire real estate magnate and former reality star needed an almost perfect run through the swing states -- and he got it, winning Ohio, North Carolina and Florida.
Trump rode an anti-establishment wave to defeat 16 opponents in the Republican primary. He built his campaign on a promise to "Make America Great Again," painting a bleak picture of the US economy and the country's standing in the world, dismissing even the leaders of his own party who challenged or criticized him.
He regularly courted controversy, eschewing political correctness with off-the-cuff candor at rallies and on Twitter. And he became a source of division and turmoil within the Republican Party, as GOP leaders navigated the challenge of supporting their party's nominee while condemning some of his most controversial rhetoric and behavior.
Speaking at a victory party in New York in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Trump put aside his penchant for bashing the media and belittling his political rivals, instead repeatedly emphasizing that his next focus will be on unifying the country, which has been battered and deeply divided by the intensely vitriolic 2016 presidential campaign.
"I say it is time for us to come together as one united people," Trump said. "I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans and this is so important to me," said Trump.
Trump said that Clinton called him to concede the race and to congratulate him on his victory.
"She congratulated us, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign...We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country," he said.
And Trump also sought to reassure people around the world about what his presidency will mean for the world.
"While we will always put America's interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone -- with everyone. We will seek common ground, not hostility," Trump said.
Trump will be the first president to enter the White House with no political, diplomatic or military executive experience. His victory will send shockwaves around the world, given his sparse foreign policy knowledge, haziness over nuclear doctrine, vow to curtail Muslim immigration and disdain for US alliances that have been the bedrock of the post-World War II foreign policy.
His promises to renegotiate or dump trade deals such as NAFTA and to brand China a currency manipulator risk triggering immediate economic shocks around the globe.
Trump's win also deals a painful rebuke to President Barack Obama, whom he pursued for years with his birtherism campaign built on the false premise that Obama was born outside the US. Now Trump will have the power to eviscerate Obama's political legacy -- including the Affordable Care Act, the latter's proudest domestic achievement.