Clin­ton, Obama urge unity be­hind Trump

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGEN­CIES

Gone was the ball­room with a soar­ing glass ceil­ing, the con­fetti and the celebrity guest stars. In­stead, Hil­lary Clin­ton looked out to a group of grief­stricken aides and tear­ful sup­port­ers, as she ac­knowl­edged her stun­ning loss of the pres­i­dency to Don­ald Trump.

“This is painful,” Clin­ton said, her voice crack­ing with emo­tion, “and it will be for a long time.” But she told her faith­ful to ac­cept Trump and the elec­tion re­sults, urg­ing them to give him “an open mind and a chance to lead.”

Flanked by her hus­band, daugh­ter Chelsea and run­ning mate Sen­a­tor Tim Kaine, Clin­ton said she had of­fered to work with Trump on be­half of a coun­try that she ac­knowl­edged was “more deeply di­vided than we thought.”

Be­fore Clin­ton took the stage at a New York City ho­tel, top aides filed in, eyes red and shoul­ders slumped, as they tried to process the celebrity busi­ness­man’s shock­ing win af­ter a cam­paign that ap­peared poised un­til Elec­tion Day to make Clin­ton the first woman elected pres­i­dent of the United States.

Clin­ton, who twice sought the pres­i­dency, told women: “I know we have still not shat­tered that high­est and hard­est glass ceil­ing. But some­day, some­one will and hope­fully sooner than we might think right now.” Her re­marks brought to mind her 2008 con­ces­sion speech af­ter the Demo­cratic pri­maries in which she spoke of putting “18 mil­lion cracks” in the glass ceil­ing.

“To all the lit­tle girls who are watch­ing this, never doubt that you are valu­able and pow­er­ful and de­serv­ing of ev­ery chance and op­por­tu­nity in the world to pur­sue and achieve your own dreams,” she said as her hus­band, for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, stood wist­fully by her side.

A short time later, in an awk­ward po­lit­i­cal rit­ual in the Rose Gar­den of the White House, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama urged the na­tion to join him in root­ing for Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald

We all want what’s best for this coun­try.” US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama

Trump’s suc­cess, even as he and his shell-shocked aides pre­pared to watch a suc­ces­sor undo much of their work.

Conceding Hil­lary Clin­ton’s stag­ger­ing loss, Obama vowed to do all he could to fa­cil­i­tate a smooth tran­si­tion and to en­sure Trump would be well-po­si­tioned to run the coun­try when he takes of­fice Jan. 20. In a brief con­ver­sa­tion, he’d con­grat­u­lated Trump by phone and in­vited him to sit down to­gether Thurs­day at the White House.

“We all want what’s best for this coun­try,” Obama said.

Obama de­liv­ered his sunny call for unity from the Rose Gar­den, much as his pre­de­ces­sor Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush had af­ter Obama’s vic­tory in 2008. It was a sym­bolic mo­ment meant to sig­nal the calm trans­fer of power from one pres­i­dent to the next.

But it was also a bit of coun­sel­ing for dev­as­tated Democrats. Obama spoke to more than a hun­dred of his White House staffers, who stood silently, dazed, some cry­ing, be­fore break­ing out into a pro­longed round of ap­plause that con­tin­ued long af­ter Obama re­turned to the Oval Of­fice.

Obama made no di­rect ref­er­ence to Trump’s vows to erase much of what Obama has ac­com­plished. He down­played the no­tion that Trump’s pres­i­dency would mean an about­face for the na­tion. He said the US has a ten­dency to “zig and zag” rather than move in a straight line, and he added, “That’s OK.”

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