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US election: Brash Donald Trump learns art of diplomacy overnight

By Claire Williamson

It was the day I witnessed Donald Trump transform from political wannabe into the most powerful man on the planet.

The 2016 election battle between Trump and Hillary Clinton that saw the tycoon become the 45th President of the United States shocked the world during a lengthy campaign.

In his victory speech he appeared uncharacteristically gracious in victory by congratulating his opponent on her "hard-fought" effort.

It stood in stark contrast to anything we had heard before from the President-elect, who led a campaign that saw him make countless controversial statements about minority groups.

But the end result was a stunning win over Clinton - despite the fact he had consistently claimed the system was rigged against him.

Addressing his New York victory party, he said: "I've just received a call from Secretary Clinton.

"She congratulated us, it's about us, on our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign. I mean, she fought very hard.

"Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.

"I mean that very sincerely."

Just hours earlier he was spouting vitriol about his opponent at his final campaign rally to raucous applause.

Rallies were an integral weapon in Trump's arsenal during the election - which blared everything from The Backstreet Boys to The Rolling Stones as part of their soundtrack.

Thousands would turn up to see him at venues across the country - it was at these events where he made some of his most controversial remarks.

Trump held his last rally of the campaign in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which became a last minute key player in the White House race.

Thousands of supporters queued for hours to hear Trump talk on the eve of the election. They entered the event in their droves, all decked out in Trump memorabilia branded with his campaign slogan 'Make America Great Again'.

And despite arriving an hour late, his supporters reacted to every word he said with cheers and chants. He had been on the stage for just minutes when he launched an attack on the media, before calling his campaign "a great political phenomenon".

Trump said: "We are hours away from a once-in-a-lifetime change, we will have real change."

He added: "Today is our Independence Day. Today the American working-class, it's going to strike back."

After branding Clinton "crooked" he then launched his final attack. He said: "Real change also means restoring honesty to our government, so the first thing we should do is let's get rid of Hillary. That would be a very good first step."

This was met with chants of "lock her up" from the crowd.

"Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the office of the presidency of the United States. She is being protected by a totally rigged system that I've been talking about for a long time."

But after America went to the polls, Trump took a stunning victory over Clinton as he claimed the key battleground states of Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio.

And despite a campaign besieged with scandal, he pledged to be a President for "all Americans", and showcased a new conciliatory tone.

He said: "I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all Americans, and this is so important to me.

"For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people.

"I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country."

He added: "Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream. I've spent my entire life and business looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country."

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