"I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion," Hillary Clinton told young women on Wednesday, hours after losing the presidential race to Donald Trump.
"I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling. But someday, someone will, and hopefully sooner than we might think right now," she added.
Clinton used her concession speech to extend a powerful call to action to the people, particularly women, who believed she would become the nation's first female president. Many of the supporters gathered in Manhattan for her concession speech, wiped tears from their eyes, and embraced one another after a long night of vote-counting in an election that was far closer than pollsters or experts had predicted.
Trump was declared the president-elect of the United States just after 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Clinton's campaign party had ended shortly before without a speech from the candidate herself. Instead, her campaign chair, John Podesta, asked media and supporters gathered at the Javits Center to go home, assuring them that every vote would be counted.
In the end, Clinton called Trump to concede the race shortly after.
Nationwide, polls generally showed the longtime politician winning by a significant margin, although the race tightened in the final weeks after the controversy over Clinton's use of a private email server was reignited by FBI Director James Comey. The FBI announced on Sunday that there would be no criminal charges filed against the Democratic nominee, but many felt the damage had been done.
After losing key states early on in the evening, certainty about a Clinton win began to fade. While the candidates were neck and neck at certain points in the evening, Trump ultimately took more electoral votes overall, pulling ahead after midnight.
Clinton was introduced on Wednesday by her running mate, Tim Kaine, who commended her for all she had achieved for women and children over the course of her decades-long career and 19-month campaign. Kaine concluded up his remarks by quoting William Faulkner: "They killed us, but they ain't whooped us yet."
The audience stood as Clinton walked onto the stage, accompanied by her husband, daughter, and son-in-law. The crowd cheered the nominee, settling down after she jokingly commented that a "rowdy" group had assembled.
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Clinton began by acknowledging Trump's win.
"I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans," she said. "This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I’m sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share or the vision we hold for our country. But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together."
She sought to inspire and lift up those who were devastated after her loss, but did not shy from her own disappointment. "This is painful, and it will be for a long time," she said.
But, even in the midst of her defeat, the hope for a less divided America rang clear.
"We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought," she said. "But I still believe in America, and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept this result and move to the future."
She encouraged her supporters to give President-elect Trump an "open-minded" chance to lead, while also reminding people that participation in our democracy is a requirement all the time, not just during an election year.
Clinton also echoed her own campaign promise that the American dream is "big enough for everyone," specifically mentioning minority voters, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community, groups Trump had spoken disparagingly of on the campaign trail.
But it was her message for women, especially young women, that seemed to resonate most with the emotional crowd. "To the young people in particular…I have spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I've had successes and I've had setbacks — sometimes really painful ones."
"You will have successes and setbacks, too. This loss hurts. But please, never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it," she added.
"And to all of 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," Clinton said.
And with that, the former secretary of state, New York senator, first lady, and civil rights advocate wrapped up her second campaign for the presidency at noon.
"I am incredibly honored and grateful to have had this chance to represent all of you in this consequential election," she said. "May God bless you and may God bless the United States of America."
Andrea Gonzalez Ramirez contributed reporting from New York.