I voted for Hillary Clinton. I was on the losing side Wednesday morning.
And yet, I want to give my congratulations to our President-elect, Donald Trump. He did something in American life that everybody said could not be done. The wisest and the best of our commentators, the most thoughtful and patriotic of our thinkers, and the most brilliant minds in our universities were all wrong about Donald Trump. He ascended the ranks to become our President-elect. And thus continues the great, providential saga in American life: “anything can happen in America.”
Even after supporting his opponent, I recognize this time as a critical moment for us all to give our new President-elect an offer of support and cooperation. Some say he is not up to the job, but everybody was saying that the morning after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death when first hearing of President Harry Truman. God does surprising work in politics and the affairs of men. The greatness of our country came forward in President Obama’s statement, “We are all now rooting for his success,” and in Hillary Clinton’s concession speech in which she said, “We owe him an open mind.” When I heard those remarks and how well the transition is being handled I truly thanked God for what a great country we have. The behavior of our leaders after the election has raised us all up.
Donald Trump will now face the exhilaration of walking into the Oval Office, the first office he has held. When I first walked onto the floor of the United States Senate, I felt a desire to really do something for my country. When I reflected on who had been there before me, as Donald Trump will no doubt do, I felt a nearly spiritual call to serve.
When faced with the burden of the welfare of another — be it a father looking into the eyes of his newborn child, a professor walking into a filled classroom on the first class of the year, or even a Senator walking into the chambers for the first time — I feel God bestows upon us a sudden surge of awe and duty. I believe that when Donald Trump walks into the Oval Office as President, he will feel that immense surge of energy for public service. I served eighteen years in the United States Senate and four years in the House. To this day, if I go back as a visitor, I feel a yearning to do good on that near-sacred ground. I feel that the President of the United States, upon entering the Oval Office, will feel it exponentially so. As a supporter of Hillary, I am not abandoning any of my convictions, but we now have a new President-elect — Trump — and it is time to trust that upon placing his hand on the Scriptures on the cold, wintery steps of the Capitol, God will give him the same sense of duty that the best among us feel when it is time to do service for another.
So, congratulations President-elect Trump. And congratulations to the voters of America for making a decision contrary to what all us rather pompous experts and pundits and so-called knowledgeable people (including myself) predicted. Congratulations on striking out on a new course. Our nation was founded on the notion that the path to prosperity leads us past the frontier, into the unknown--we shall see what this new start has to offer.
Thank God for such wonderful behavior on the part of all of our leaders at this time of transition.
Senator Larry Pressler was a U.S. senator for eighteen years and congressman for four years. He is a Rhodes Scholar, Harvard Law graduate and a Vietnam Veteran.