Donald Trump elected 45th President of the United States in surprise victory over Hillary Clinton
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/09/2016
Donald Trump has been elected America's 45th president in a stunning upset.
The 70-year-old billionaire businessman and former The Apprentice star defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with a current electoral college lead of 276 votes to Clinton's 218. While the voting in several U.S. states remains too close to formally call as of Wednesday morning, only 270 of the 538 electoral votes are needed to secure a majority.
Trump had a very narrow path to victory in a presidential race that was deemed too close to call until the very early morning hours on Wednesday.
Despite losing the popular vote, Trump continued to gain momentum Tuesday night as he capitalized on nearly every opportunity across the electoral map. Battleground states -- Florida, Ohio and North Carolina -- fell into his victory column one by one. Ohio has picked the winner in recent decades and pulling the majority in Florida had been considered crucial for Trump to even stand a chance.
Trump ultimately penetrated the "blue wall" with a win in Pennsylvania and eventually sealed the deal with the electoral votes in Wisconsin, a state which Clinton's campaign had anticipated to be an easy prize.
Trump is the first President of the United States to have never held elected office or served in the U.S. military. His victory followed two campaigns that were plagued with scandal and controversy.
Trump's vice president will be Indiana Governor Michael Pence, 57, who was a longtime member of the House.
Trump revealed last night that Secretary Clinton had called him to concede and congratulated him. He complimented his opponent by saying politics is "a tough business" and she and her family executed "a very, very hard-fought campaign."
"We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country. I mean that very sincerely," Trump said.
With Trump now in the Oval Office, his many tasks will include filling the current vacancy on the Supreme Court. Such decisions could have tremendous impact on laws and the direction the U.S. is going to take.
"Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division, have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people," Trump said in his acceptance speech.
"It is time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country."
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Trump noted his "movement" is comprised of Americans "from all races, religions, backgrounds, and beliefs, who want and expect our government to serve the people -- and serve the people it will."
The 2016 election was a historic event, but Trump insisted that in order to be "really historic," he must "do a great job" as a leader.
"I promise you that I will not let you down. We will do a great job. We will do a great job. I look very much forward to being your president... We're going to get to work immediately for the American people, and we're going to be doing a job that hopefully you will be so proud of your President," Trump added in the speech.