"I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans. This is not the outcome that we wanted or we worked so hard for and I'm sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country. But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign," a somber Clinton told supporters in New York City in between their cheers.
Clinton, digesting a shocking upset after a marathon final campaign push, admitted that "this is painful, and it will be for a long time." After falling short in a contest that could have made her the first woman U.S. president, Clinton told supporters she felt "pride and gratitude" in what they accomplished.
The remarks were her first since she conceded the contest to Trump in a private phone call early Wednesday. Clinton did not appear at her campaign's election night rally at the Javits Center in Manhattan.
Trump's surprise victory was fueled by apparent wins in the swings states of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Trump has a projected 279 electoral votes with three states left to be called by NBC. NBC said Clinton appeared to have the popular vote by 189,000.
As she publicly conceded Wednesday, Clinton was flanked by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, daughter, Chelsea, and running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. She called on supporters to embrace a peaceful transfer of power while focusing on her campaign priorities.
"We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead," Clinton said.
Trump said he received a call from Clinton shortly before he gave a victory speech early Wednesday in Manhattan.
"She congratulated us, it's about us, on our victory. And I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard fought campaign," Trump said.
Clinton, whose campaign failed to stir the same kind of enthusiasm that her Democratic predecessor President Barack Obama inspired, called on supporters to keep participating. She asked them to fight for women's rights, economic fairness and environmental protection, among other issues she made a priority on the campaign trail.