The improbable surrendered Wednesday to the inevitable: The wheels are already in motion for President-elect Donald Trump’s January ascension to the Oval Office.
The coming transition, launched mere hours after Trump’s stunning electoral upset, appears destined to proceed more smoothly than the bone-crunching campaign that ended with a resounding victory for the real estate developer.
The process — described by Trump director of presidential appointments Bill Hagerty as “a $2 trillion takeover” — is proceeding in ways significant and incremental.
Trump’s morning-after-the-election included chats with world leaders, an intelligence briefing and a White House invitation from President Obama.
Democrats Obama and Hillary Clinton each extended an olive branch to Trump after an election in which the Republican attacked and insulted both. Clinton was repeatedly slurred as “Crooked Hillary.”
Donald Trump and his team have started the transition into the White House.
Though his administration remains 72 days off, Trump; his running mate, Mike Pence, and other insiders are already receiving the President’s Daily Brief of classified information.
Trump must also assemble a cabinet and fill the Supreme Court slot left unoccupied since the Feb. 13 death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Team Trump assembled out of the media spotlight to begin vetting potential administration candidates for hundreds of job openings.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, head of the Trump transition team, met Wednesday with Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus, Pence and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Among those reportedly under consideration for posts in the Trump administration were some of his high-profile supporters during the campaign — including ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Christie himself.
President Obama delivers remarks on Trump’s victory on Wednesday. Obama invited The Donald to the White House for a sitdown Thursday.
Trump’s first day after his game-changing upset of the former senator and secretary of state also featured phone calls from George H.W. Bush and son George W. — and attempts at fence-mending by prominent Democrats, including House party leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
World leaders Vladimir Putin of Russia, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico reached out to Trump by phone.
Though Trump vowed to build a wall along the Mexican border and ranted about Mexican rapists during the campaign, Peña Nieto described their chat as a “cordial, friendly and respectful conversation.”
Trump kept a low profile Wednesday, adding nothing to his brief victory speech in the early-morning hours.
Hillary Clinton, accompanied by her husband former President Bill Clinton, pauses as she concedes the presidential election at the New Yorker Hotel on Wednesday.
Obama invited Trump to a Thursday sitdown at the White House to ensure a smooth transition as the incoming, politically inexperienced commander-in-chief prepares for his inauguration.
“We are all now rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country,” Obama said of a man who spent years loudly insisting the President was born outside the United States.
“The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy,” continued Obama. “And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world.”
Obama recounted the assistance provided to his team eight years ago by departing President George W. Bush.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reached out to Trump on Wednesday.
The outgoing administration “could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running,” Obama said in a White House address.
The U.S. military braced itself for the arrival of Trump after eight years of Obama, with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter insisting the changeover will be done without a hitch.
“I am committed to overseeing the orderly transition to the next commander-in-chief,” read a Carter memo to Defense Department employees. “I know I can count on you to execute all your duties with the excellence our citizens know they can expect.”
Clinton, fighting back tears as she conceded what’s likely the last race of her political career, urged her supporters to treat Trump better than he treated her.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke with Trump.
“We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead,” Clinton said during a speech before dispirited supporters at the New Yorker Hotel in Midtown. “Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power. And we just don’t respect that, we cherish it.”
Her husband, Bill, appeared on the verge of crying as he stood by her side after Hillary failed for the second time to make history as America’s first female President.
Once fierce combatants, Trump and Clinton spoke early Wednesday and appeared to bury the hatchet.
“They had a very gracious exchange,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told ABC News. “Secretary Clinton commended Donald Trump on a hard-fought race, and congratulated him for his victory, and he told Secretary Clinton she’s very smart, very tough, and waged a tremendous campaign.”
84 photos view gallery Election Night 2016: Joy and despair as Donald Trump is elected president
The strangest attempt at finding common ground came from Warren, who received the Trumpian nickname “Pocahontas” after her claims of Native American heritage.
Warren in return ripped the Manhattanite as a “pathetic coward,” among other Twitter rip jobs. But she sounded a bit more mellow note Wednesday.
“President-elect Trump promised to rebuild our economy for working people, and I offer to put aside our differences and work with him on that task,” wrote Warren.
Pelosi spoke by phone with Trump to discuss the possibility of “finding common ground where possible,” said a spokesman.
Trump will enter the White House with the GOP controlling both the Senate and the House.
Like Pelosi and Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — who squared off against Clinton before losing the Democratic nomination — offered conditional support for Trump.
“To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him,” Sanders said. “To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”