Obama’s Post-Election Speech: “We Are Americans First”

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images.
In a speech in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said, "The presidency and vice presidency is bigger than any of us." Following Donald Trump's upset victory in Tuesday's presidential election, Obama struck a tone of reconciliation, and said that despite Hillary Clinton's painful loss the previous night, "the sun came up" as usual in the morning. "Now, everybody is sad when their side loses in a election," he continued. "But the day after, we have to remember that we're actually all on one team. We are not Democrats first, we are not Republicans first, we are Americans first…We all want what's best for this country." In her official concession speech earlier, Hillary Clinton had a similar message for her supporters. While lamenting that the nation proved to be "more deeply divided than we thought," she urged the crowd in the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan's midtown neighborhood: "We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead."
Despite big differences with Trump, both Clinton and Obama emphasized the importance of the peaceful transfer of power to Donald Trump. The president reminded viewers that he had also had significant differences from his predecessor, George W. Bush. But, he said, "President Bush's team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition," and he planned to do the same. He praised Clinton and her candidacy, the first time a woman was the presidential nominee of a major political party. "I'm proud of her, a lot of Americans look up to her," said Obama. "Her candidacy and nomination was historic and sends a message to our daughters all across the country that they can achieve at the highest level of politics." Both Obama and Clinton addressed young people directly, urging them not to become discouraged or cynical. As Clinton said, though the campaign has ended, there is still plenty of work to do, and, "Our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to keep building that better, stronger, fairer America." Watch the full speech below.

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