The mood was dark in City Hall as Mayor Jim Kenney held a news conference with members of City Council to address Donald Trump’s election as president.
“Even with the unknown that’s coming, we will be stronger and a better city if we love each other,” he said. “Don’t let yesterday or today or the next couple days drag you down. Let’s lift ourselves up, dust ourselves off and move forward.”
Kenney congratulated Trump on the win, as well as Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey, who won a tight race against Democrat Kate McGinty.
But he was clearly also seeking to address the deep shock and sorrow felt by many Philadelphians who voted Tuesday for Hillary Clinton while her victory was still considered a possibility.
“I know it’s very upsetting. I can see on your faces … the concern, upset sadness and sorrow,” Kenney said to the audience, mostly made up of various City Hall staffers. “Take your time to mourn, take your time to heal, and let’s get back to work.”
City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said she felt that this election has now sparked a “grieving process.”
“We’ve lived before through especially hard times, if you’ve been around a while and we all survived that,” she said. “We still have Barack and Michelle Obama to remember, and as we think of good things and good times, we come together to support one another.”
While Trump’s campaign was heavily criticized as being racially divisive, Blackwell said she hopes his acceptance speech points toward a different president Trump than the candidate on the campaign trial.
“He said he wants to represent the whole country, and let’s hope he’s committed to that,” she said. “He was positive, he was nice, he was inclusive. It was only a few sentences in his acceptance speech, but being our president, let’s hope he puts all the negative stuff [away].”