President Barack Obama called on Americans to come together after a contentious presidential election, urging both Democrats and Republicans on Wednesday to take the high road and support Donald Trump in order to heal a deeply divided nation.
"Everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we are actually all on one team," Obama said in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday. "This is an intramural scrimmage. We're not Democrats first; we're not Republicans first. We're Americans first. We're patriots first."
The peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next is a hallmark of American democracy, he said, and he has instructed his White House staff to lend president-elect Trump the same respect and assistance that former President George W. Bush gave to him. Obama also thanked Hillary Clinton for her historic campaign, saying that her candidacy sent a "message to our daughters all across the country that they can achieve" some of the highest levels of office in the nation.
The president also expressed hope that the new administration would carry a spirit of inclusion, "respect for our institutions and our way of life," and "rule of law" over the next four years.
President Barack Obama called Donald Trump on early Wednesday morning to congratulate him on his stunning presidential victory and extend an invitation to meet at the White House on Thursday to discuss a "smooth transition of power," the White House announced in a statement.
"Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the president identified at the beginning of the year and meeting with the president-elect is the next step."
In his victory speech, Trump promised to be a "president for all Americans" and unite the country after one of the most divisive and bruising campaigns in the nation's history. Trump's win came as a shocking upset, defying national polls that consistently showed Hillary Clinton to be leading her Republican opponent by comfortable margins.
Obama is expected to address the country later on Wednesday to discuss the election results. The White House's statement below: