Acknowledging biting disappointment and a painful loss, Hillary Clinton urged supporters Wednesday to accept the outcome of the presidential election and continue working together toward a better America.
"Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead," Clinton said at an emotional concession speech at the New Yorker hotel in midtown Manhattan.
Echoing the slogan that propelled her campaign over the last year and a half, Clinton said when she spoke to president-elect Donald Trump early Wednesday, she offered to work with him on behalf of all Americans. And, shortly before noon, she asked her supporters to do the same.
"I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans," Clinton said. "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 about one election. It was about building a better America. We have seen that our country is more divided than we thought but I still believe in America and I always will."
Dressed in a purple and black suit that matched the colors her husband Bill Clinton wore as he stood on the stage beside her at the New Yorker hotel in midtown, Clinton acknowledged the disappointment her supporters feel.
"This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I'm sorry we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country," Clinton said.
The Democratic nominee for president entered the room to boisterous applause, where she was introduced by running mate Tim Kaine. She hugged supporters as senior aides were seen quietly sobbing; some had to leave the room.
In remarks that bore no ill will nor negativity to the president-elect or the often caustic campaign, Clinton spoke of the vibrant diversity and creativity that defined her electoral base and espoused the values of constitutional democracy that protect the rule of law and afford equal rights and opportunity to all.
The former secretary of state expressed "pride and gratitude" for those who supported her campaign, and said she was proud to be a champion for young women across the country.
"Never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it," Clinton 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 dreams."
Clinton acknowledged that America has not "shattered that highest and hardest ceiling" with her failed bid for the White House. But, she said, "someday, somebody will."
NBC News data showed Clinton was actually leading the Republican candidate in the nationwide popular vote by almost 200,000 votes, though he was ahead comfortably in the electoral college that ultimately decides the presidency.
It would mark the second time in five elections that a Democrat won the popular vote but lost the electoral college, after the George W. Bush - Al Gore race in 2000.
Exit polls showed that Clinton did best with women, blacks and Hispanics, while Trump dominated among men and white voters.
"I'm proud of Hillary Clinton because she has been and is a great history-maker in everything she's done," Kaine said in introducing her.
"We know that the work remains. We know that the dreams of empowering children and families remain," he added.