NEW YORK — Donald Trump, an outsider businessman who has never served in public office before, has defeated Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House, shocking the political and media establishment who all but predicted he would lose.
Left for dead multiple times during the campaign, the Republican won crucial battleground states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa, defying the predictions of many polls. Clinton, meanwhile, could not replicate the energy among Democratic voters that President Barack Obama generated in 2008 and 2012.
As of Wednesday morning, Trump topped Clinton, winning 279 electoral votes to her 228 electoral votes, with the likelihood of winning more as several states still counted ballots. A candidate needs to reach the threshold of 270 electoral votes to become president.
The mood at Trump’s election night party was jubilant in the early hours of Wednesday morning, as votes were still being tallied and people wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats roamed the crowd.
“You know, it’s just one of the most thrilling things I’ve seen,” Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions told The Daily Caller at the New York Hilton hotel.
“These are votes from real American people,” Sessions said. “They stood up to intense negative media against Donald Trump, they stood up against biased media, stood up against negative ads.”
Clinton did not address her supporters who gathered at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Instead, her campaign chairman, John Podesta, told the crowd: “They’re still counting votes, and every vote should count.”
But no longer after Podesta’s comments, Trump spoke to a rowdy crowd at his election night party, saying had Clinton called to concede.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” Trump said. “Have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”
Clinton is expected to formally concede during a speech Wednesday morning in the ballroom of the New Yorker Hotel.
The White House said President Obama phoned Trump early Wednesday to “congratulate him on his victory early this morning. The President also called Secretary Clinton and expressed admiration for the strong campaign she waged throughout the country.”
Obama press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama invited Trump to the White House on Thursday “to update him on the transition planning his team has been working on for nearly a year.”
“Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the president identified at the beginning of the year and a meeting with the president-elect is the next step,” he said, adding that Obama will make a public statement Wednesday about the election.