INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Never underestimate the underdog, Donald Trump supporters reminded America Tuesday.
Trump, the billionaire businessman who entered the presidential race to shake up American politics and pledged to “make America great again,” became the surprise winner of a contentious U.S. presidential election with his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, according to the Associated Press.
While unpopular with many groups of American voters who expressed concerns about his temperament and ability to lead, Trump won over much of Middle America with his promise to build a stronger, more competitive U.S. economy.
Trump, who billed himself as a political outsider bent on toppling a “rigged” system, ran a divisive campaign that lacked the finances and resources of the well-oiled Hillary Clinton political machine. And while Trump’s many gaffes outraged his critics—some of them within the Republican establishment—they served to galvanize his base.
His pointed criticism of Clinton, including the private email server that Clinton used while serving as secretary of state, effectively undermined voters’ trust in the Democratic candidate and helped Trump win the White House.
"This is a historic night," Pence said during a victory speech early Wednesday morning in New York once it became apparent that Trump had emerged as the president-elect. "The American people have spoken, and the American people have elected their new champion.
"I come to this moment deeply humbled, grateful to God for his amazing grace, grateful to my family," Pence said, naming each member of his family and saying he wouldn't be there without them.
"I'm deeply grateful to the American people for placing their confidence in this team and giving us this opportunity to serve. And I'm mostly grateful to our president-elect, whose leadership and vision will make America great again."
Pence then introduced Trump, who came onstage to the theme music from the 1997 movie Air Force One.
Trump said Clinton called to congratulate him on his team's victory; Trump said he congratulated her on a hard-fought campaign and expressed his gratitude for her years of service to the U.S.
"To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across the nation, I say that it is time for us to come together as one united people," Trump said. "I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be a president for all Americans. And this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past--of which there were a few people--I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country."
Trump said his campaign was a movement made up of millions of people who wanted a better future for their country. He pledged to serve people of all backgrounds, religions and race.
"Working together we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American Dream. I've spent my entire life in business, looking at the untapped potential of projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country," he said.
"Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We're going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none."
Trump said he'd put millions to work and take care of the country's veterans, many of whom he said he'd gotten to know during his campaign. He promised national growth, renewal and a stronger economy. He also said he'll have "great, great relations" with other countries.
"America will no longer settle for anything less than the best," he said. "We must reclaim our country's destiny and dream big and bold and daring. We're going to dream of things for our country, and beautiful things, successful things, once again."