Washington | In a stunning result, billionaire businessman Donald Trump on Wednesday beat seasoned politician Hillary Clinton in the knife-edge polls, defying the odds to become the 45th US President after starting off as a rank political outsider.
It was a heart-break for Democratic nominee Clinton, who was hoping to become the first woman president of the US, as Trump edged past her in a see-saw battle which he clinched by winning 288 electoral college votes to Clinton’s 215.
To win the presidential election, a candidate needs 270 of the 538 electoral college votes.
The 70-year-old business tycoon’s strong showing in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Texas and North Carolina helped him pull-off a win which proved most pollsters wrong.
Trump, addressing his supporters at his campaign headquarters, said, “It is time for us to come together as one united people. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president of all Americans.”
Trump said he received a call from Clinton, who congratulated him on the victory.
“And I congratulated her on her hard campaign. We owe her a major debt of gratitude to the country,” he said.
“Ours was not a campaign, but a movement. It is a movement comprising from all races, background and believes. Working together, we would begin the urgent task of rebuilding the country. The country has a tremendous potential,” he said.
“We are going to fix inner cities, we are going to build our infrastructure. We would put millions of people to work as we rebuild it,” he told his supporters amid loud cheers.
CNN projected that Trump had won 29 states while Clinton emerged victorious in 18.
According to the channel, Trump won Pennsylvania, Florida, Alaska, Utah, Iowa, Arizona, Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina, Montana, Idaho and Missouri.
Clinton emerged victorious in California, Nevada, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, District of Columbia, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Oregon, Washington and Rhode Island.
Trump supporters filled the Hilton hotel ballroom in New York as the Republican presidential nominee’s improbable underdog campaign picked up steam across the country.
Once considered a long shot for the presidency, the billionaire from New York tapped into the disillusionment of the average white working class American against the establishment, molding it into vicious anti-immigrant rhetoric which proved to be an electoral gold mine.
Trump, a political outsider, was rebuked by many top Republicans for his remarks on women and immigrants and several party leaders had refused to back him despite his comprehensive win in the primaries.