Hillary Clinton may have lost the presidential election to Donald Trump this year, creating one of the most stunning political upsets in recent history, but her entire campaign as the first-ever female nominated by a major party for the U.S. presidency was history-making in and of itself. Turns out, Clinton’s gracious concession speech was equally as historic for a surprising reason.
According to Fortune, Clinton was the first presidential candidate to ever apologize in a concession speech. The day following Trump’s win, his opponent famously began her speech by saying “I’m sorry,” something no candidate before her has ever done.
In her speech, Clinton began by saying, “Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans. This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for and I’m sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.”
“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, but I want you to remember this. Our campaign was never about one person or even one election, it was about the country we love and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted.”
Fortune analyzed the transcripts of concession speeches from U.S. presidential elections dating back to 1952, when Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson, who lost to Dwight D. Eisenhower, delivered the first-ever televised concession speech.
Clinton was the first woman to give a concession speech after a presidential election, and also the first to say “I’m sorry.” Of course, it’s not as if Clinton had to apologize for doing something wrong — if anything, she’s the one owed an apology by her many critics and political foes, but her speech proved to be a bright light of hope and graciousness in the aftermath of what was an undeniably turbulent and — often times spiteful — election process.