Vice president-elect Mike Pence, right, watches as President-elect Donald Trump speaks during an election night rally. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump claimed his place Wednesday as America's 45th president, an astonishing victory for the celebrity businessman and political novice who capitalised on voters' economic anxieties, took advantage of racial tensions and overcame a string of sexual assault allegations on his way to the White House.
Trump's triumph over Hillary Clinton, not declared until well after midnight, will end eight years of Democratic dominance of the White House. He'll govern with Congress fully under Republican control and lead a country deeply divided by his rancorous campaign against Clinton. He faces fractures within his own party, too, given the numerous Republicans who either tepidly supported his nomination or never backed him at all.
As he claimed victory, Trump urged Americans to "come together as one united people."
Clinton, who hoped to become the nation's first female president, called her Republican rival to concede but did not plan to speak publicly until Wednesday morning.
President Barack Obama invited Trump to meet with him at the White House on Thursday to discuss transition, and the White House said the president planned to address the election results in a statement Wednesday. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama called Trump to congratulate him and also called Clinton to convey his admiration for the "strong campaign she waged throughout the country."
The White House said Obama's televised statement Wednesday would focus on "what steps we can take as a country to come together after this hard-fought election season."
Trump, who spent much of the campaign urging his supporters on as they chanted "lock her up," said the nation owed Clinton "a major debt of gratitude" for her years of public service. Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Obama and Trump had "a very nice talk" when the president called to congratulate him in the early hours Wednesday.
The Republican blasted through Democrats' longstanding firewall, carrying Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that hadn't voted for a GOP presidential candidate since the 1980s. He needed to win nearly all of the competitive battleground states, and he did just that, including Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and others.
Global stock markets and U.S. stock futures plunged, but later recovered somewhat, reflecting investor concern over what a Trump presidency might mean.
A New York real estate developer who lives in a sparkling Manhattan high-rise, Trump forged a striking connection with white, working class Americans who feel left behind in a changing economy and diversifying country. He cast immigration, both from Latin America and the Middle East, as the root of the problems plaguing many Americans and tapped into fears of terrorism emanating at home and abroad.
GOP Senate candidates fended off Democratic challengers in key states, including North Carolina, Indiana and Wisconsin. Republicans also maintained their grip on the House.
Senate control means Trump will have great leeway in appointing Supreme Court justices, which could mean a shift to the right that would last for decades.
Trump has pledged to usher in sweeping changes to U.S. foreign policy, including building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and suspending immigration from countries with terrorism ties. He's also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and spoken of building a better relationship with Moscow, worrying some in his own party who fear he'll go easy on Putin's provocations.
Putin sent him a telegram of congratulations early Wednesday.