Hillary Clinton's concession speech was her most graceful hour yet

By Charlotte Willis

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton conceded her defeat to Republican Donald Trump after the hard-fought presidential election. Photo / AP
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton conceded her defeat to Republican Donald Trump after the hard-fought presidential election. Photo / AP

It was the speech everyone had hoped she would deliver.

Gracious in defeat until the very end, Hillary Clinton has been praised by many for her poise and humility during her concession speech after a devastating election loss to Donald Trump overnight.

Loyal supporters and staff members waited for two hours outside the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan this morning for the defeated Democratic presidential nominee to address the nation.

Former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. applaud as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in New York. Photo / AP
Former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. applaud as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in New York. Photo / AP

Hundreds of reporters, supporters and crushed campaign staff and advisers gathered outside the hotel in the rain from 9am local time, with many still proudly dressed in their Clinton apparel. Everyone was prepared to wait as long as it took for a chance to show their support after last night's incomprehensible loss.

There were heartbreaking scenes from within the hotel as campaign staff arrived, bleary-eyed and downcast. Many hugged each other and wept, some were crying as they entered the lobby clutching coffee cups. It was clear no one had slept.

"It's inconceivable that this could happen," Stefanie, 55, told news.com.au while waiting to hear Ms Clinton speak. "I've been here for 30 years after arriving from Germany, I've never wanted to leave America before now. I'm absolutely stupefied by what's gone on here, I'm struggling to take it all in," she added.

Other supporters huddled in the lobby were still too stunned to speak, shaking their heads in silence as they filed into the hotel ballroom.

After 18 months of tireless campaigning, travelling around the country as volunteers to encourage voters, jobs put on hold, families put second, this is what it all came down to: one final show of "stronger together" from a bruised and battered Clinton camp.

Ms Clinton finally stepped up to the podium at around 11.30am, after vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine gave an emotional tribute to a "loyal" woman who "is going to be battling to her very last breath".

What we saw next was Ms Clinton at her very best. Composed and dignified, devoid of any bitterness, even as she admitted how painful her defeat was in her first public address.

"Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans," she began.

Former President Bill Clinton hugs a woman after his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke at the New Yorker Hotel in New York. Photo / AP
Former President Bill Clinton hugs a woman after his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke at the New Yorker Hotel in New York. Photo / AP

"This is not the outcome that we wanted and we worked so hard for, and I am sorry that we did not win this election for the values we hold and the vision that we share for our country.

"But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together. This vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energised campaign. You represent the best of America and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honours of my life."

With her husband Bill Clinton by her side, she then held back tears as she spoke about how painful the outcome has been.

"I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it to, 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 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 about building an America that is hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted."

Campaign staff throughout the hotel ballroom were weeping during Ms Clinton's final remarks. Sobs and sniffles could be heard during the quieter moments of her speech, while most of her top aides seated in the front row were crying openly. Some had to leave the room.

And yet, she didn't falter.

"I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day, someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now," she said.

"And 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."

At this, Bill Clinton wiped away tears.

Former President Bill Clinton wipes his eye as his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets staff and supporters. Photo / AP
Former President Bill Clinton wipes his eye as his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets staff and supporters. Photo / AP

"Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead," she finished, before moving towards the crowd to hug and console her people.

Ms Clinton's swan song has been lauded as one of her most "deeply personal" and "powerful" of the entire campaign. Even Jason Miller, a Trump campaign spokesman, had nothing but praise for her remarks.







An hour after Ms Clinton's deeply personal concession speech, President Obama addressed the nation from the White House's Rose Garden.

After weeks of campaigning on behalf of the Democratic candidate, Obama said he is ready to welcome the president-elect to the White House on Thursday to ensure a "successful transition between our presidencies.

"The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy and we're going to show that to the world," he said.

"We're patriots first ... we all want what's best for this country."

- news.com.au

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