Obama says he's heartened by Trump's call for unity


WASHINGTON (AP) — Conceding his Hillary Clinton's staggering defeat, President Barack Obama today said he was heartened by Donald Trump's call for unity after his stunning victory and "we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country."

Obama spoke to reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House in a post-election ritual meant to signal the peaceful transition of power from one president to the next. He vowed to do all he could to ensure a smooth transition and tried to buck up Democrats still reeling with disappointment and shock.

"We all want what's best for this country," Obama said, noting he was encouraged by Trump's election-night remarks urging reconciliation after an especially bitter and long contest.

He spoke just moments after Hillary Clinton formally conceded to Trump with a similar, though more emotional, appeal to give Trump a chance to succeed as president. The remarks were striking after a campaign in which the Democrats declared Trump was unfit to serve and told voters the future of democracy was riding on their choice.

An extraordinarily large number of Obama aides and advisers – more than a hundred in all – gathered to hear his statement, including stenographers, low-level aides and White House Counsel Neil Eggleston.

The White House said Obama and Trump are due to meet Thursday to discuss the handover of power and ongoing planning for the transition. Obama called the Republican in the early hours of the morning Wednesday to congratulate him on his stunning victory, which marked a forceful rebuke by voters to Obama's eight years in office.

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