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Hillary Clinton: “This is painful, and it will be for a long time…”

Elizabeth Scalia - published on 11/09/16 - updated on 06/08/17

Emotional but steady, Clinton makes formal concession speech

Nearly 15 hours after conceding the election to Donald Trump by phone, Secretary Hillary Clinton appeared in a ballroom of a New York hotel to deliver her formal speech to an encouraging, if glum, gathering of supporters.

Showing herself in good form, wearing a black and purple ensemble, Clinton began, “I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to help him,” where she might. Apologizing to the crowd for her loss, she said, “I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together.”

Admitting to her personal disappointment, Clinton teared up as she said, “This is painful, and it will be for a long time,” but she also urged her supporters to remain both open and engaged. “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and a chance to lead…[however] our constitutional democracy demands our participation…Our responsibility as citizens demands that we do our part.”

Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power. We don’t just respect that. We cherish it. It also enshrines the rule of law; the principle we are all equal in rights and dignity; freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values, too, and we must defend them. Let me add: Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear.

Clinton extended her thanks to her team and family, to the people on the ground who helped get out the vote, and to President Obama and Michelle Obama. In a specific message to the youth, she said, “Many of you are at the beginnings of your careers, and you will have setbacks too, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is; it is worth it.”

After urging women and “little girls” to believe in their power and abilities, Clinton closed by saying, “I count my blessings every single day that I am an American.” She called for an appreciation for the nation, and the unity that may come from that: “Our best days are still ahead of us.”

Clinton, a Methodist, also referenced scripture in her remarks:

You know, scripture tells us let us not go weary in doing good for in good season we shall reap. My friends, let us have faith in each other, let us not grow weary and lose heart for there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.

Following her brief remarks, she strode into the crowd, greeting and embracing friends and campaign workers.

Pundit David Gergen, in remarks immediately after, that her speech was “The most connective I have perhaps heard her make in years.”

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