US election 2016: Donald Trump thanks Hillary Clinton, crowd yells 'lock her up'
It was a Donald Trump that many Americans had never seen. Shortly after 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, just after he was anointed president-elect, Trump strode on stage to an adoring crowd, soaking in his surprising, pollster-defying victory.
Instead of lashing out, as he did countless times on the campaign trail, Trump praised his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, lauded the nation's ethnic diversity, and promised to represent all people.
"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," Trump said. "I mean that very sincerely. Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division ... I say it is time for us to come together as one united people."
Just minutes earlier, the crowd had been reprising a signature chant of the campaign targeting the Democratic nominee, "Lock her up!"
And Trump had, in recent weeks, even said he would appoint a special prosecutor and seek to put her in jail for her use of a private email server while secretary of state.
But in the hours after Clinton's concession, a different Trump showed up - at least for this moment.
He was conciliatory, soft-spoken, gracious. There was no mention of building a wall on the US-Mexico border, or of banning Muslims, or of mass deportations of illegal immigrants.
Instead, it was Trump who was victorious, capping one of the most improbable presidential runs in US history.
Standing before a row of American flags, appearing in front of hundreds of people wearing Make America Great Again Hats, Trump smiled and waved, clapping along with the crowd. He was accompanied by his wife, Melania, a former model who was born in Slovenia and became a US citizen in 2006.
Trump thanked many of his high-profile supporters, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He brought Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus onto the stage, declared him a "star," and handed over the microphone for a few seconds.
Supporters hugged each other, waved Trump signs over their heads and erupted in cheers after the race was officially called. Trump was introduced by his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who told the crowd that "This is a historic night. The American people have spoken and the American people have elected their new champion."
Trump, after promising the heal the nation and rebuild the economy, teased the audience that he would seek to serve "maybe even eight years," a suggestion that he would run for reelection. He made grandiose promises, saying "every single American" will be able to prosper.
"We must," he said, "reclaim our country's destiny."
It was a triumphal moment for the man who was raised in Queens, and whose father, the developer Fred Trump, had warned him about the difficulty of making it in Manhattan. Yet the son made his mark, built Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, and plotted his presidential bid there.
The crowd had waited for hours for Trump's arrival.
At 1.30am (7.30pm NZ Time), a Fox News reporter said on the broadcast playing on a big screen that House Speaker Paul Ryan reached out to Trump. The crowd did not react. At 2am, the crowd booed as they watched on television screens as Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said there would be no concession speech until all the votes were counted.
Carol Minor, 70, of Hemet, Calif., sat contentedly against a wall in the back of the ballroom. "I really felt in my heart that he was going to win," she said.
Sajid Tarar, a Muslim man who spoke on behalf of Trump at the GOP convention. said he has been a nervous wreck lately, and had not slept for three days.
"There was no doubt in my mind this was an election against the system," said Tarar, dressed in a suit and a bow tie.
MARKETS REBOUND AFTER SPEECH
Trump's conciliatory comments helped global stock markets erase a large chunk of their earlier losses Wednesday.
Though uncertainty remains over Trump's trade, immigration and geopolitical policies, investors appeared somewhat soothed by his victory speech.
In Europe, Germany's DAX was down 0.7 percent at 10,408 while the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.1 percent lower at 6,838. US stocks are expected to open lower, too, though by far less than earlier predicted. Dow futures are 1.7 percent lower at 17,974 while the broader S&P 500 futures were down 1.8 percent at 2,097.
"That the reaction seen thus far appears to have been much more tempered is probably due to the emollient and conciliatory nature of Trump's acceptance speech, and the fact that there was always that nagging doubt that the pollsters may well be wrong," said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets.
As Trump gained the lead in the electoral vote count, investors became increasingly uneasy and share prices tumbled in Asia, which were open during the election results. Dow futures were down 4 percent at one point.
However, by the time Trump was confirmed the winner and made his speech, financial markets had steadied.
"There's scope to applaud the fact that the opening bell will come with the certainty of who the next president will be, but given the lack of detail on an economic policy agenda, investors will unsurprisingly still be feeling wary," said Remo Fritschi, Institutional Sales Manager at ADS Securities London.
The dollar also recouped some ground, while assets that many investors search out at times of uncertainty, such as gold and the Swiss franc, came off earlier highs. An ounce of gold was up 2.4 percent at $1,305 while the dollar was only 0.4 percent lower at 0.9734 Swiss franc.
One currency that remains heavily sold is the Mexican peso. It was down 8.5 percent as the prospect of a wall along the United States' southern border - a key campaigning point for Trump - has come one step closer to reality.
Trump has insisted that Mexico will pay for the wall. Also potentially impacting the peso is Trump's threat to rip up trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement, a key plank in Mexico's economic strategy and growth.
"If Trump is able to follow through with these suggestions, Mexican activity will suffer greatly," said Jane Foley, senior foreign exchange strategist at Rabobank International.
Under the US constitution, Trump doesn't formally take the reins of power until January but he will begin the transition to his presidency almost immediately. In the coming weeks, investors will be looking to see if he further tempers some of the rhetoric that polarized American opinion and often spooked investors in financial markets.
Trump's victory could make the US Federal Reserve less likely to raise its key interest rate at its next meeting in mid-December - especially if financial markets remain under pressure. Some analysts are ruling it out entirely.
"Less chance of a Fed rate hike also helps keep investors smiling at the prospect of cheap money and accommodative global monetary policy stance for a while longer," said Mike van Dulken, an analyst at Accendo Markets.
Another point of interest will center on the US's trade relations with China and its impact across Asia. Trump's victory has raised concerns that the US and China might embark on a trade war of sorts and that protectionism around the world will grow.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index closed 5.4 percent lower, recouping some losses, at 16,251.54. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed 2.2 percent lower to 22,415.19 while the main index in Shanghai fell 0.6 percent to 3,128.77.
"Investors will right now be in the process of attempting to differentiate between Trump's actual policy positions and some of the more outlandish statements made on the campaign trail," said Michael Levy, an emerging markets investment director at Barings.
South Korea's trade ministry held an emergency meeting to review prospects of US trade policies after the presidential elections. Top officials from Japan's central bank and finance ministry met Wednesday to discuss how to cope with the gyrations in financial markets.
Japan's Deputy Finance Minister Masatsugu Asakawa said speculative movements were at work in the currency markets. "We will take necessary steps if speculative actions continue," Asakawa said.
- Washington Post and AP