US election: Hillary Clinton concedes, says Donald Trump deserves an 'open mind'

Hillary Clinton delivers her concession speech (Getty)
Hillary Clinton delivers her concession speech (Getty)

Hillary Clinton has delivered her concession speech, a day after being defeated in the US presidential contest on Wednesday (NZ time) despite winning the popular vote.

"Thank you so much," she told cheering supporters. "You're a rowdy bunch. I love you all."

She said she called Mr Trump to congratulate him, offered to work with him and said she hoped he would be a great President.

"I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together... You represent the best of America, and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honours of my life.

"I know how disappointed you feel."

US election: Hillary Clinton concedes, says Donald Trump deserves an 'open mind'

Bill and Hillary Clinton (Reuters)

She said it would take a long time to heal the pain, and the election showed the US was more deeply divided than she thought - but it was time to accept the result.

"Donald Trump is going to be our President. We owe him an open mind."

She finished her speech urging supporters to stay involved in the political process - not just voting for a President every four years.

"We've spent a year-and-a-half bringing together millions of people... Now our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part, to build that better, stronger, fairer America... Make sure your voices are heard, going forward."

On Wednesday (NZ time) she called President-elect Donald Trump to concede the election. Running mate Tim Kaine told supporters he was "so proud" of Ms Clinton.

"She has made history in a nation that is good at so many things, but has made it uniquely difficult for a woman to be elected to federal office."

US election: Hillary Clinton concedes, says Donald Trump deserves an 'open mind'

Running mate Tim Kaine (Reuters)

Ms Clinton briefly touched on the subject in her speech.

"I know we still have not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will - and hopefully sooner that we might think right now. And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable... and deserving of every chance... to pursue your own dreams."

Ms Clinton won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College. She didn't mention it, but Mr Kaine called it an "amazing achievement", and took a shot at Mr Trump's earlier comments he would only accept the outcome of the election if he won.

"Nobody had to wonder about Hillary Clinton about whether she would accept the outcome… nobody had to ask that question."

Outgoing President Barack Obama has also called Mr Trump to invite him to the White House, where Mr Trump will officially reside from January 20 next year.

"Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the President identified at the beginning of the year and a meeting with the President-elect is the next step," the White House press secretary said.

Mr Obama, who also called Ms Clinton, will make a statement on Thursday (NZ time) to discuss the election results.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump's campaign manager isn't ruling out the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton's past practices while serving as President Barack Obama's Secretary of State, a threat he made in an election debate.

Mr Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence are "looking to unify the country, but we haven't discussed that in recent days, and I think that it's all in due time," campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on MSNBC on Wednesday.

Conway made similar comments in appearances on ABC and CNN the day after the Republican real estate developer and former reality TV host Mr Trump stunned the world by defeating Democrat Ms Clinton in the US presidential election. His four-year term starts on January 20.

Last month, Mr Trump vowed to put Ms Clinton in jail, attacking her for operating a private email server during her tenure as chief diplomat under Obama from 2009 to 2013, saying she had endangered national security.

Asked on CNN about the possibility of a special prosecutor, Ms Conway said: "We didn't discuss that last night, and he did not discuss that with Hillary Clinton on the phone," when Ms Clinton called Mr Trump to concede the race.

"It is time for us to come together as one united people," Mr Trump told supporters after his victory became clear.

"Ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and a great movement. It's a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs."

Mr Trump said he had spent his entire life in business "looking at the untapped potential in people and projects across the entire world".

"That is what I want to do for our country."

The FBI, which had been investigating Ms Clinton's email practices, cleared her just two days ahead of the election and stood by its earlier finding that criminal charges were not warranted.

During his second debate with Ms Clinton on October 9, Mr Trump said: "If I win, I am going to instruct my Attorney General to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation. Because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it. And we're gonna have a special prosecutor."

Ms Clinton, who has apologised over her email use, defended herself at the debate: "You know it's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in this country."

Mr Trump shot back: "Because you'd be in jail."

Prime Minister John Key was quick to congratulate Mr Trump on his victory and said he'll be looking to build close ties with the new administration.

"The American people have spoken and I congratulate Mr Trump on his victory after a long campaign," Mr Key said in a statement on Wednesday night.

"I will be writing to Mr Trump to offer my personal congratulations shortly."

Reuters / Newshub.