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World in shock, US on new path after Trump victory

Clinton concedes – Obama invites mogul – Amir sends congratulations

NEW YORK: Republican president-elect Donald Trump gives a victory speech on election night at the New York Hilton Midtown early yesterday. – AFP
NEW YORK: Republican president-elect Donald Trump gives a victory speech on election night at the New York Hilton Midtown early yesterday. – AFP

NEW YORK: Donald Trump’s extraordinary US election victory sent shockwaves across the world yesterday, as opponents braced for a “dangerous” leader in the White House while fellow populists hailed a ballot-box revolution by ordinary people. Trump stunned the world by defeating heavily favored rival Hillary Clinton, ending eight years of Democratic control of the White House and sending America on a new, uncertain path.

A wealthy real estate developer and former reality TV host, Trump rode a wave of anger toward Washington insiders to win Tuesday’s White House race against Clinton, the Democratic candidate whose gold-plated establishment resume included stints as a first lady, US senator and secretary of state. Trump’s victory marked a crushing end to Clinton’s second quest to become the first woman president. She also failed in a White House bid in 2008.

“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead,” Clinton, 69, said in a concession speech in New York yesterday morning, joined by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and daughter Chelsea. Speaking in front of a row of American flags, she told supporters her loss was painful “and it will be for a long time,” and that she had offered to work with Trump on behalf of the nation.

President Barack Obama, who campaigned hard against Trump, invited him to the White House for a meeting today. “We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country,” Obama said at the White House, saying he and his staff would work with Trump to ensure a successful transition. “We are not Democrats first, we are not Republicans first, we are Americans first.”

HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a congratulatory cable yesterday to Trump on winning the US presidential elections. The Amir expressed hopes that Kuwait and the US will continue their strong historic relations, working together for a brighter future for the world. HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables.

Trailing in public opinion polls for months, Trump pulled off a major surprise and collected enough of the 270 state-by-state electoral votes needed to win, taking battleground states where presidential elections are traditionally decided, US television networks projected. His four-year term begins on Jan 20 and he will enjoy Republican majorities in both chambers of the US Congress.  Television networks projected the party would retain control of the 100-seat Senate and the House of Representatives, where all 435 seats were up for grabs.

“He just earned a mandate and we now just have a unified Republican government,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters in Wisconsin, crediting Trump’s Election Day momentum with helping Republican victories that maintained the party’s control of Congress. Worried that a Trump victory could cause economic and global uncertainty, investors fled risky global assets. The US dollar, Mexican peso and world stocks fell on Wednesday but fears of the kind of shock that wiped trillions of dollars off world markets after Britain’s “Brexit” vote in June failed to materialize immediately. But US stocks were little changed yesterday, rebounding from stunning overnight losses fueled by the election result. Sectors such as banking and steel that appeared poised to benefit from a Trump presidency led the charge.

Trump appeared with his family early yesterday before cheering supporters in a New York hotel ballroom, saying it was time to heal the divisions caused by the campaign and find common ground after a campaign that exposed deep differences among Americans. “It is time for us to come together as one united people,” Trump said. “I will be president for all Americans.” He said he had received a call from Clinton to congratulate him on the win 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”. But Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, yesterday did not rule out the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s past conduct, a threat Trump made in an election debate last month. Despite losing the state-by-state electoral battle that determines the US presidency, Clinton narrowly led Trump in the nationwide popular vote, according to US media tallies.

Republican National Committee senior strategist Sean Spicer told MSNBC that Trump and his senior aides were meeting at Trump Tower in New York yesterday to “start the proper transition” to a Trump presidency. Prevailing in a race that opinion polls had clearly forecast as favoring Clinton, Trump won avid support among white non-college educated workers with his promise to be the “greatest jobs president that God ever created.” “Such a beautiful and important evening! The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again. We will all come together as never before,” Trump wrote on Twitter early yesterday.

In his victory speech, he said he had a great economic plan, would embark on a project to rebuild American infrastructure and would double US economic growth. Trump, who at 70 will be the oldest first-term US president, came out on top after a bitter and divisive campaign that focused largely on the character of the candidates and whether they could be trusted in the Oval Office. The presidency will be Trump’s first elected office, and it remains to be seen how he will work with Congress. During the campaign Trump was the target of sharp disapproval, not just from Democrats but from many in his own party.

Trump campaigned on a pledge to take the country on a more isolationist, protectionist “America First” path. Trump survived a series of blows on the campaign, 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 badly underperformed expectations with women, winning their vote by only about 2 percentage points. And while she won Hispanics, black and young 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 US Senator 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 victory, many shocked or in tears. Protests against Trump also broke out overnight in downtown Oakland, California, where demonstrators set ablaze a likeness of him, smashed store front windows and set garbage and tires on fire. Throughout his campaign, Trump described a dark America that had been knocked to its knees by China, Mexico, Russia and Islamic State. The American dream was dead, he said, smothered by malevolent business interests and corrupt politicians, and he alone could revive it.

He has vowed to win economic concessions from China and to build a wall on the US border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants. His triumph was 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 signature healthcare law and to reverse his plan to curb greenhouse emissions mainly from coal-fired power plants. Even though the FBI found no grounds for criminal charges after a probe into her use of a private email server rather than a government system while she was secretary of state, the issue allowed critics to raise doubts about her integrity. Hacked emails also showed a cozy relationship between her State Department and donors to her family’s Clinton Foundation charity. – Agencies

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