President Obama calls Trump, congratulates him on astonishing victory

CLICK FOR THE LATEST ELECTION RESULTS

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on the 2016 presidential election. (All times EST):

9:40 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Conceding his party’s staggering electoral defeat, President Barack Obama on Wednesday invited President-elect Donald Trump to meet with him to discuss the handover of power from his administration to Trump’s.

The White House said Obama called the Republican in the early hours of the morning to congratulate him on his victory in the presidential campaign, which marked a forceful rebuke by voters to Obama’s eight years in office. The two leaders planned to meet Thursday at the White House, where Obama was to update Trump about ongoing planning for the transition.

Obama was to offer his first reaction to the election later Wednesday in a televised statement that the White House said would focus on “what steps we can take as a country to come together after this hard-fought election season.”

“Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the president identified at the beginning of the year and a meeting with the president-elect is the next step,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

For Obama, the act of holding the meeting is a humbling blow to his legacy and to his hopes for leaving a lasting imprint on the nation’s policies. Trump has vowed to rip up much of what Obama accomplished, including his signature health care law, the Iran nuclear deal and a painstakingly negotiated trade deal with Asia.

Obama also called Hillary Clinton after it became clear she’d lost the race. The White House said Obama had “expressed admiration for the strong campaign she waged throughout the country.”

It was unclear how substantive Obama’s call was with Trump, or how long it lasted, although the White House noted that Obama placed the call from his residence in the White House, rather than from the West Wing.

Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, described it as a “warm conversation” and a “gracious exchange.” She said Trump had missed the president’s original call as Trump was speaking to supporters in New York, then called him back after leaving the stage.

Like Clinton and other Democrats, Obama didn’t appear to see Trump’s victory coming. As he campaigned vigorously for Clinton in the race’s final days, Obama said he was confident that if Americans showed up to vote, they’d choose against electing the billionaire former reality TV star with no formal government experience.

He had also warned supporters in apocalyptic terms that “the fate of the republic” rested on Clinton defeating Trump on Election Day.


8:40 a.m.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway says Hillary Clinton had more money and more people on the ground — but, Team Trump “outworked them, and frankly, we outsmarted and outclassed them in some cases.”

Conway appeared on Fox News on Wednesday to analyze Donald Trump’s stunning defeat of Clinton. Conway said the Republican billionaire “did a great job sealing the deal.”

She said: “Take it to the bank — candidates matter. There’s no substitute for a great candidate.”

On CNN, Conway urged Trump’s critics to “lay down their verbal firearms.”

She said: “Give him a chance as your president-elect like we all did with President Obama and we all did with President Bill Clinton.”


7:15 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has invited President-elect Donald Trump to meet with him at the White House on Thursday.

The president plans to address Trump’s victory in a statement from the White House on Wednesday.

The White House says Obama called Trump from his residence in the White House early Wednesday to congratulate him. White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the Thursday meeting is to discuss the presidential transition.

Obama also called Hillary Clinton. The White House says Obama conveyed admiration for the “strong campaign she waged throughout the country.”


6:45 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Becoming president-elect hasn’t stopped Donald Trump from tweeting.

Trump pledged in a tweet Wednesday morning: “The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again. We will all come together as never before.”

Trump has been an avid user of Twitter, often using it during the account to attack opponents and critics in harsh terms.

His account did look different Wednesday: His Twitter profile now identifies him as “president-elect of the United States.”


6:15 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is congratulating Donald Trump on his victory in becoming the president-elect.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway says Obama called Trump early Wednesday while he was speaking to his supporters in New York, and so Trump called him back after he left the stage.

She said the two had what she described as a “very nice talk.” She said they would meet possibly on Thursday.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest had told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One last week that the president was leaving his schedule open on Wednesday and Thursday for a possible meeting with the president-elect.

On Tuesday night, Trump said that he had received a call from his opponent, Hillary Clinton. In his remarks to supporters, he praised her for a hard-fought campaign and said Americans owe her a major debt of gratitude for her long service to the country.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump was elected America’s 45th president Tuesday, an astonishing victory for a celebrity businessman and political novice who capitalized on voters’ economic anxieties, took advantage of racial tensions and overcame a string of sexual assault allegations on his way to the White House.

His triumph over Hillary Clinton will end eight years of Democratic dominance of the White House and threatens to undo major achievements of President Barack Obama. He’s pledged to act quickly to repeal Obama’s landmark health care law, revoke the nuclear agreement with Iran and rewrite important trade deals with other countries, particularly Mexico and Canada.

CLICK FOR THE LATEST ELECTION RESULTS

The Republican blasted through Democrats’ longstanding firewall, carrying Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that hadn’t voted for a GOP presidential candidate since the 1980s. He needed to win nearly all of the competitive battleground states, and he did just that, claiming Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and others.

Global stock markets and U.S. stock futures plunged deeply, reflecting investor alarm over what a Trump presidency might mean for the economy and trade.

A New York real estate developer who lives in a sparking Manhattan high-rise, Trump forged a striking connection with white, working class Americans who feel left behind in a changing economy and diversifying country. He cast immigration, both from Latin America and the Middle East, as the root of the problems plaguing many Americans and taped into fears of terrorism emanating at home and abroad.

Trump will take office with Congress expected to be fully under Republican control. GOP Senate candidates fended off Democratic challengers in key states and appeared poised to maintain the majority. Republicans also maintained their grip on the House.

Senate control means Trump will have great leeway in appointing Supreme Court justices, which could mean a major change to the right that would last for decades.

Trump upended years of political convention on his way to the White House, leveling harshly personal insults on his rivals, deeming Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers, and vowing to temporarily suspend Muslim immigration to the U.S. He never released his tax returns, breaking with decades of campaign tradition, and eschewed the kind of robust data and field efforts that helped Obama win two terms in the White House, relying instead on his large, free-wheeling rallies to energize supporters. His campaign was frequently in chaos, and he cycled through three campaign managers this year.

His final campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, touted the team’s accomplishments as the final results rolled in, writing on Twitter that “rally crowds matter” and “we expanded the map.”

The mood at Clinton’s party grew bleak as the night wore out, with some supporters leaving, others crying and hugging each other. Top campaign aides stopped returning calls and texts, as Clinton and her family hunkered down in a luxury hotel watching the returns.

At 2 a.m., Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told the crowd to head home for the night. “We’re still counting votes and every vote should count,” he said.

Trump will inherit an anxious nation, deeply divided by economic and educational opportunities, race and culture.

Exit polls underscored the fractures: Women nationwide supported Clinton by a double-digit margin, while men were significantly more likely to back Trump. More than half of white voters backed the Republican, while nearly 9 in 10 blacks and two-thirds of Hispanics voted for the Democrat.

Doug Ratliff, a 67-year-old businessman from Richlands, Virginia, said Trump’s election would be one of the happiest days of his life.

“This county has had no hope,” said Ratliff, who owns strip malls in the area badly beaten by the collapse of the coal industry. “You have no idea what it would mean for the people if Trump won. They’ll have hope again. Things will change. I know he’s not going to be perfect. But he’s got a heart. And he gives people hope.”

Trump has pledged to usher in a series of sweeping changes to U.S. domestic and foreign policy: repealing Obama’s signature health care law, though he has been vague on what he could replace it with; building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border; and suspending immigration from country’s with terrorism ties. He’s also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and spoken of building a better relationship with Moscow, worrying some in his own party who fear he’ll go easy on Putin’s provocations.

The Republican Party’s tortured relationship with its nominee was evident right up to the end. Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura Bush declined to back Trump, instead selecting “none of the above” when they voted for president, according to spokesman Freddy Ford.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a reluctant Trump supporter, called the businessman earlier in the evening to congratulate him, according to a Ryan spokeswoman.

Democrats, as well as some Republicans, expected Trump’s unconventional candidacy would damage down-ballot races and even flip some reliably red states in the presidential race. But Trump held on to Republican territory, including in Georgia and Utah, where Clinton’s campaign confidently invested resources.

Clinton asked voters to keep the White House in her party’s hands for a third straight term. She cast herself as heir to President Barack Obama’s legacy and pledged to make good on his unfinished agenda, including passing immigration legislation, tightening restrictions on guns and tweaking his signature health care law.

But she struggled throughout the race with persistent questions about her honesty and trustworthiness. Those troubles flared anew late in the race, when FBI Director James Comey announced a review of new emails from her tenure at the State Department. On Sunday, just two days before Election Day, Comey said there was nothing in the material to warrant criminal charges against Clinton.

___

Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey, Bradley Klapper, Vivian Salama, Hope Yen, Jill Colvin and Lisa Lerer and AP Polling Director Emily Swanson contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s