Good afternoon everybody. Yesterday, before votes were tallied, I shot a video some of you may have seen in which I said to the American people, regardless of which side you were on on the election, regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, the sun would come up in the morning.
I had a chance to talk to President-elect Trump last night, about 3:30 in the morning I think it was, to congratulate him on winning the election, and I had a chance to invite him to come to the White House tomorrow to talk about making sure that there is a successful transition between our presidencies.
One thing you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency and the vice presidency is bigger than any of us. So I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush’s team set eight years ago and work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the president-elect.
I also had a chance last night to speak with Secretary Clinton, and I just had a chance to hear her remarks. I could not be prouder of her. She has lived an extraordinary life of public service. She was a great first lady, she was an outstanding senator for the state of New York, and she could not have been a better secretary of state.
Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election. But the day after, we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We’re not Democrats first, we’re not Republicans first, we’re patriots first. We all want what’s best for this country.
I also told my team today to keep their heads up. Because the remarkable work that they have done day-in, day-out, often without a lot of fanfare, often without a lot of attention — work in agencies, work in obscure areas of policy that make government run better and make it more responsive and make it more efficient, make it more service-friendly so it’s actually helping more people, that remarkable work has left the next president with a stronger, better country than the one that existed eight years ago.
So this was a long and hard-fought campaign. A lot of our fellow Americans are exultant today. A lot of Americans are less so. But that’s the nature of campaigns. That’s the nature of democracy. It is hard. And sometimes contentious. And noisy. It’s not always inspiring.
That’s the way politics works sometimes. We try really hard to persuade people that we’re right. And then people vote. And then if we lose, we learn from our mistakes, we do some reflection, we lick our wounds, we brush ourselves off, we get back in the arena. We go at it. We try even harder the next time.
I’ve said before: I think of this job as being a relay runner. You take the baton, you run your best race, and hopefully by the time you hand it off you’re a little further ahead, you’ve made a little progress. I can say that we’ve done that. And I want to make sure the handoff is well-executed because ultimately, we’re all on the same team.
Thank you very much, everybody.