'This is painful and will be for a very long time': Hillary Clinton urges supporters to give Trump a chance to serve

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Hillary Clinton has given her first speech since her shock defeat.

Clinton herself didn't emerge all morning to face her supporters, instead sending her campaign manager John Podesta to the Javits Centre to tell people to not give up hope.

Clinton
Clinton was composed as she gave her speech (Matt Rourke/AP)

The speech was much later than expected - perhaps because the Clinton team hadn't figured defeat into their plans - and people were gearing up for a gracious speech, after what has been a trying time for her supporters.

Taking to the stage at the Javits Centre, Clinton was greeted with rapturous applause, despite the wait. After more than a minute of cheers Clinton thanked her supporters before a heartfelt but composed speech.

"We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead," said Clinton, who made a private phone call to Trump last night conceding defeat.

"Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transition of power. We don't just respect that, we cherish it."

Despite seeking a smooth transition to Trump's presidency, Clinton said the constitution also encouraged principles such as equal rights and freedom of expression, and she asked her supporters to work for such values "not just every four years, but all the time".

John Podesta
Podesta had his work cut out to keep the crowd happy as they faced a long wait (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Clinton said the American dream was "big enough for everyone", saying in seeming response to discriminatory comments from Trump's campaign it is "for people of all races, religions, for men and women, for immigrants for LGBT people, and people with disabilities".

The Javits Centre was chosen for Clinton's election night party because of its symbolic glass ceiling, one which will now remain metaphorically intact as the US decided not to elect its first female president.

Clinton acknowledged the milestone that almost was, but told her supporters, even the ones that can't vote yet, not to lose heart.

"I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will - and hopefully sooner than we might think right now," said Clinton.

"And to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams."

She had a message for young people too, from whom polls indicate the former Secretary of State received a huge amount of votes.

"I've had successes and setbacks and sometimes painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your professional, public, and political careers - you will have successes and setbacks too," she said.

"This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it."

Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton
Clinton was joined by her husband and former president Bill at the podium (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Making her remarks from the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan, Clinton was joined by her running mate Tim Kaine, whom she thanked and wished luck in his continued role in the senate.

She also praised her family's efforts in supporting her campaign, telling them "my love for you means more than I can ever express" and thanked Barack Obama and his wife Michelle for their "graceful and determined leadership".

To her supporters she said: "I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it too and so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort."

"This is painful and it will be for a long time."

Tearful supporters
(Lindsey Wasson/AP)

Clinton's speech has received heartfelt support.

Indeed.