Defeated presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told House Democrats on Monday she was sorry she could not deliver the election but encouraged new members to press on in a fight for unity.
Clinton, joined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, told members on a conference call that she was grateful to have won the popular vote and thanked members in advance for the fights that lay ahead. President-elect Donald Trump, the Republican nominee and billionaire businessman who had never before held elective office, won a decisive victory in the Electoral College.
But the former secretary of State, who lost the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama, also acknowledged the disappointment.
“No one is sorrier than me,” Clinton told the members. “Heartbreaks don’t heal overnight and this one won’t.”
Clinton said members should not be “discouraged or divided” by the outcome of her political battle with Trump.
“The people we all fought for in this election need champions more than ever,” Clinton said. “Countless Americans will be relying on Democrats in Congress to be their voice.
Clinton also thanked Pelosi for her work on the campaign.
Pelosi, who spent election night in Washington while Clinton’s campaign party was in New York, praised the former New York senator as “one of the greatest leaders in our country’s history — president or not.”
“Our hearts are broken but our determination is deepened,” Pelosi said.
Democrats are facing a possible reinvention of their party after losing the White House, failing to retake the Senate and making only modest gains in the House .
They also lost key battleground states in the presidential race, which some have attributed to the party not being able to connect with disenchanted voters who largely flocked to Trump’s campaign.
The call with Clinton came shortly after Rep. Keith Ellison, a progressive Minnesota Democrat who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders’ primary bid, announced that he would seek the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.