Donald Trump is the next U.S. president, sweeping to victory in at least 27 states with 276 electoral votes, and jolting a Jewish community made increasingly anxious as his rough-edged nativist rhetoric emboldened the far right and brought into the light a strain of anti-Semitic invective not heard in decades.
Trump called on all Americans to “heal the wounds of our nation,” and to “come together as one united people,” during his victory speech shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday at the New York Hilton Midtown, blocks from his iconic Trump Tower, and surrounded by family, including his Jewish daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, who helped guide Trump’s unlikely path to victory.
In his victory speech, the real estate developer turned reality star turned insurgent politician asserted that he would be a “president for all Americans,” and that “We will deal fairly with everyone – all people and all countries.”
He said he had received a call from Clinton to congratulate him on the win and praised her for her service and for a hard-fought campaign.
His comments were an abrupt departure from his campaign trail rhetoric in which he repeatedly slammed Clinton as “crooked” amid supporters’ chants of “lock her up.”
Exit polls suggested Jews voted strongly for Clinton, by about a 70%-to-30% margin.
The mainstream pro-Israel community will likely take solace from Trump’s pivot away from his cool stance on many of its issues during the primaries to a more full-throated support of defense assistance to Israel and investing in the defense alliance. As the Republican nominee, Trump aligned with right-wing Israel advocacy in supporting a retreat from U.S. insistence on a two-state outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and pledging to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Other Jewish groups will be rattled by the election as the world’s most powerful leader a man who appealed to an anti-immigrant strain among voters. Critics noted that in speeches and in a campaign commercial, Trump embraced the notion of a secretive power cabal that to many observers echoed classic anti-Semitic stereotypes of Jews.
Trump’s insular posture on foreign policy was also likely to stoke concerns, despite his pro-Israel pronouncements, particularly his apparent closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is allied with the Assad regime in Syria, an implacable enemy of Israel.
Clinton’s campaign director John Podesta after 2 a.m. on Wednesday morning called on Clinton supporters at her election night party to “Go home, get some sleep. We will have more to say tomorrow,” indicating that Clinton would not speak that evening.
CNN reported at 2:40 a.m. that Clinton called Trump to concede.