Republican Donald Trump stunned the world by defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election, sending the United States on an uncertain path.
The billionaire real estate developer and former reality TV host, Trump rode a wave of anger toward Washington insiders to win the White House race against Clinton, the Democratic candidate whose resume included serving as a first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
Worried a Trump victory would cause economic and global uncertainty, investors were in full flight from risky assets.
The unofficial returns show Trump has collected enough of the 270 state-by-state electoral votes needed to win the four-year term that would start on Jan. 20, 2017.
Republicans also kept control of Congress, with projections showing the GOP would retain majorities in the 100-seat U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, where all 435 seats were up for grabs.
Trump appeared with his family before cheering supporters in a New York hotel ballroom, making the un-Trumpish assertion that it is time to heal the divisions caused by the campaign and find common ground.
“It is time for us to come together as one united people,” Trump said. “I will be president for all Americans.”
He said he received a call from Clinton and praised her for her service and for a hard-fought campaign.
His comments were an abrupt departure from his campaign trail rhetoric in which he repeatedly slammed Clinton as “crooked” amid supporters’ chants of “lock her up.”
At Clinton’s election event at the Javits conference center a mile away from Trump’s event, an electric atmosphere among supporters expecting a Clinton win slowly grew grim as the night went on.
Clinton opted not to appear at her event.
Campaign chairman John Podesta told supporters, “We’re not going to have anything more to say tonight.”
Clinton was expected to speak on Wednesday morning, an aide said.
Prevailing in a cliffhanger race that opinion polls clearly forecast as favoring a Clinton victory, Trump won avid support among a core base of white non-college educated workers with his promise to be the “greatest jobs president that God ever created.”
In his victory speech, he claimed he had a great economic plan, would embark on a project to rebuild American infrastructure and would double U.S. economic growth.
His win raises a host of questions for the United States at home and abroad. He campaigned on a pledge to take the country on a more isolationist, protectionist “America First” path.
Countries around the world reacted with stunned disbelief as the early returns showed Trump defeating Clinton in the electoral college.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, described the result as a “huge shock” and questioned whether it meant the end of “Pax Americana”, the state of relative peace overseen by Washington that has governed international relations since World War Two.
Neighbor Mexico was pitched into deep uncertainty by the victory for Trump who has often accused it of stealing U.S. jobs and sending criminals across the border.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the two countries would remain “strong and close partners on trade, security and defense.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on Washington to stay committed to last year’s international nuclear deal with Iran, which Trump has threatened to rip up.
Trump’s national security ideas have simultaneously included promises to build up the U.S. military while at the same time avoiding foreign military entanglements.
He also wants to rewrite international trade deals to reduce trade deficits and has taken positions that raise the possibility of damaging relations with America’s most trusted allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Trump has promised to warm relations with Russia that have chilled under President Barack Obama over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intervention in the Syrian civil war and his seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea region.
Putin sent Trump a congratulatory note, saying he hoped that they can get the U.S.-Russian relationship out of crisis.
Trump entered the race 17 months ago and survived a series of seemingly crippling blows, many of them self-inflicted, including the emergence in October of a 2005 video in which he boasted about making unwanted sexual advances on women.
He apologized but within days, several women emerged to say he had groped them, allegations he denied.
He was judged the loser of all three presidential debates with Clinton.
A Reuters/Ipsos national Election Day poll offered some clues to the outcome.
It found Clinton underperformed expectations with women, winning their vote by only about 7 percent, similar to Obama when he won re-election in 2012.
And while she won Hispanics, black and millennial voters, Clinton did not win those groups by greater margins than Obama did in 2012.
Younger blacks did not support Clinton like they did Obama, as she won eight of 10 black voters between the ages of 35 and 54. Obama won almost 100 percent of those voters in 2012.
During the campaign, Trump said he would “make America great again” through the force of his personality, negotiating skill and business acumen.
He proposed refusing entry to the United States of people from war-torn Middle Eastern countries, a modified version of an earlier proposed ban on Muslims.
His volatile nature, frequent insults and unorthodox proposals led to campaign feuds with a long list of people, including Muslims, the disabled, Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, the family of a slain Muslim-American soldier, a Miss Universe winner and a federal judge of Mexican heritage.
A largely anti-Trump crowd of about 400 to 500 people gathered outside the White House after his apparent victory, many visibly in shock or tears.
Some carried signs that read “stand up to racism” and “love trumps hate.”
Meanwhile, as financial markets absorbed the prospect of Trump’s win, the Mexican peso plunged to its lowest-ever levels. The peso had become a touchstone for sentiment on the election as Trump threatened to rip up a free trade agreement with Mexico.
His triumph was seen by some as a rebuke to Obama, a Democrat who spent weeks flying around the country to campaign against him, repeatedly casting doubt on his suitability for the White House. Obama will hand over the office to Trump after serving the maximum eight years allowed by law.
Trump promises to push Congress to repeal Obama’s health care plan and to reverse his Clean Power Plan. He plans to create jobs by relying on U.S. fossil fuels such as oil and gas and he poses a serious threat to the Paris climate change agreement.
Trump’s victory marked a frustrating end to the presidential aspirations of Clinton, 69, who so many expected to become the first woman U.S. president.
In a posting on Twitter during Tuesday evening, she acknowledged a battle that was unexpectedly tight given her edge in opinion polls going into Election Day.
“This team has so much to be proud of. Whatever happens tonight, thank you for everything,” she tweeted.
This story will be updated.