Donald Trump has promised to revive the American dream after pulling off an astonishing victory in the race for the White House.
In the aftermath of a bitter campaign, the controversial tycoon sought to unite the country behind his leadership, saying he would “bind the wounds” of the deeply divided nation.
In an upbeat and conciliatory message in stark contrast to the vicious battle for the presidency, Mr Trump said: “No dream is too big, no challenge is too great. Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach.
“America will no longer settle for anything less than the best.”
The billionaire businessman will become the 45th president of the United States after voters gambled on his pledge to “Make America Great Again”.
Speaking at a victory party in New York after rival Hillary Clinton conceded defeat, Mr Trump urged Americans to put the election behind them.
“It is time for us to come together as one united people,” he said.
“I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans.”
Taking to the stage with his family, including wife Melania, Mr Trump promised a plan to double economic growth and invest in world-class infrastructure.
“Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream.”
It would be a “beautiful thing”, he said.
The election of the outspoken businessman and TV personality, who has never held public office, shows the anger and frustration of many Americans who felt left behind by the economy and ignored by the political establishment.
Mr Trump said: “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”
The Republican candidate sealed victory when he took key battleground states Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The Clinton camp initially refused to throw in the towel, b ut Mr Trump told supporters shortly before 8am UK time: “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.”
During the battle for the Oval Office, Mr Trump had repeatedly described his rival as “crooked Hillary” and called her a “nasty woman”.
But he struck a conciliatory tone in his first appearance as president-elect, thanking the former first lady and secretary of state for her “service” to the country.
Mr Trump sought to give reassurance to international leaders about his intentions: “I want to tell the world community that, while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone – all people and all other nations.
“We will seek common ground not hostility, partnership not conflict.”
But the markets were panicked by the Trump victory, with London’s FTSE 100 Index dropping as much as 2% on opening.
Shares also tumbled in Asia and the dollar and Mexican peso fell.
Mr Trump teased supporters with the prospect of potentially serving the maximum, two full terms as president.
He said that ” at the end of two years, or three years, or four years – or maybe even eight years – you will say that so many of you worked so hard, but you will say that was something that you were really very proud to do”.