NEW YORK — The political establishment, the nation as a whole, and the world at large began coming to terms Wednesday with a new reality: President-elect Donald J. Trump.
Amid shocked reactions across the globe, President Obama and Trump — who attacked each other vociferously during the long campaign — spoke by phone as the president invited his successor-in-waiting to the White House on Thursday for transition planning.
In a statement at the White House, Obama asked his staff to work for a smooth transition, just as President George W. Bush and his team did for them eight years ago. He called the peaceful transfer of power “one of the hallmarks of our democracy.”
In accepting victory early Wednesday, the New York businessman struck a conciliatory tone after a brutal campaign against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division — have to get together,” Trump told screaming supporters gathered at the New York Hilton. “To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”
In a concession speech, defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said her party needs to accept the election of Trump, adding that “we owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.”
Trump himself has no events on Wednesday’s schedule, as he and he aides begin putting together a White House staff and Cabinet.
In claiming the presidency during the wee hours of Wednesday, the incoming Republican president did not mention his most criticized proposals, including calls to rework trade deals and his pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump also issued his first tweet as president-elect: “Such a beautiful and important evening! The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again. We will all come together as never before.”
There has never been a president like Trump, someone who has never held political office or a military leadership position. In a campaign that began in June 2015, Trump argued that “the establishment” and the government have betrayed Americans with bad trade deals, leaky immigration policies, and moves toward a globalized economy that leaves people behind.
Thursday’s meeting at the White House will match the nation’s first African-American president with a challenger who made his political name in part by becoming the de facto leader of the “birther movement,” the false idea that Obama was not born in the United States. Some analysts said racist and sexist animus drove part of Trump’s insurgent campaign.
U.S. political analysts said Trump’s status as a non-politician “outsider” threatening to shake up the establishment resonated with voters, as did his attacks on trade and immigration policies. The election winner did better than expected with female voters and cranked out a large number of white working-class votes, especially in rural areas.
Trump will enter office with a Republican Senate and House. GOP congressional leaders praised Trump’s election and said they would launch an agenda that ranges from repeal of the Obama health care law to a reduction of government regulations on business.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters that Trump “earned a mandate” and “we’re going to hit the ground running.”
Political analysts attributed Trump’s victory to a number of factors.
Republican consultant Bruce Haynes, founding partner of Washington-based Purple Strategies, called it a reaction to an “economic and cultural globalism” that has triggered a “populist revolt” against trade and immigration policies. He said Trump became “the right candidate with a the right message at the right time.”
Texas-based political consultant Matt Mackowiak, a critic of Trump during the campaign, said no one knows what lies on the other side of an extraordinary election. The new president “will need a first rate Cabinet and senior staff. ’cause his learning curve will be steep,” he said.
Mark McKinnon, a former aide to President George W. Bush, said he is hopeful that President Trump can exceed expectations.
“The good news is that people who thought they were disenfranchised now have a voice,” McKinnon said. “Now maybe we can start healing.”
Clinton will probably win the actual popular vote, but Trump won enough states to prevail in the Electoral College. He held states that Republican nominee Mitt Romney carried four years ago, took key swing states Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, and upset Clinton in Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Various world leaders expressed skepticism about Trump, who during the campaign all but accused other countries of stealing U.S. jobs.
Some officials invoked anti-trade, anti-immigration populist movements across the world, such as the British decision this year to leave the European Union.
Gerard Araud, the French ambassador to the United States, tweeted: “After Brexit and this election, everything is now possible. A world is collapsing before our eyes. Dizziness.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent congratulations to the president-elect.
Russia Today reported that Putin “has expressed confidence that the dialogue between Moscow and Washington, in keeping with each other’s views, meets the interests of both Russia and the US.”
Other leaders, including Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and British Prime Minster Theresa May, also issued statements of congratulations to Trump.
In addressing “the world community” during his acceptance speech, Trump said that “while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone … all people and all other nations. We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.”
Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt also referred to Brexit, tweeting that it looks like this will be the year of the double disaster of the West.”