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NEW YORK — Dedicated Hillary Clinton supporters accepted final defeat Wednesday morning even as they struggled to accept that their candidate lost badly to GOP nominee Donald Trump.

No fewer than seven campaign volunteers and supporters declined the day after the election to speak with the Washington Examiner as they trickled out of the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel in New York City where they had gathered to witness the public surrender of their failed candidate.

Each supporter turned down requests for comment with the same basic response: I really don’t want to talk about it.

Those who did speak with the Examiner seemed resigned to the outcome of Nov. 8, though they also signaled they were open to the possibility of a rigged election.

“If it’s a rigged election, then good for [Trump]!” one Florida supporter said ruefully.

Another Clinton campaign volunteer, this one hailing from California, told the Examiner, “All this polling showed Clinton way ahead. So how do you explain that? The discrepancy here, particularly in a state like Pennsylvania?”

In the final days of the 2016 election, Clinton lead Trump in the Keystone State by 2 points, according to a RealClearPolitics polling average.

Trump went on to win Pennsylvania by 1.2 points.

The Californian Clinton supporter had a couple of suggestions for why the election outcome differed so greatly from what polling data showed.

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“I’m thinking back to the Russian hacking that Pennsylvania was vulnerable to because they have voting machines with no paper trail,” he told the Examiner. “And when you take a state like Pennsylvania, maybe there are not enough states across the country to explain, but in Pennsylvania, for example, you know — has there been some manipulation or is this really the way people voted? I find it perplexing.”

“It’s that unbelievable to me,” he added.

Clinton’s concession speech Wednesday morning, which was delivered before a gathering of aides, media and volunteers, included an apology to her campaign staff.

“This is painful, and it will be for a long time. I’m sorry that we did not win this election for the values we hold and the vision we have for this country,” she said. “I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it too.”

Clinton also said she would respect the outcome of the election, and encouraged voters everywhere to do the same and give Trump a chance.

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“I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans,” she said. “Trump is going to be our next president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

Her speech came a few hours after she dispatched her campaign chairman, John Podesta, to her election night rally at the Javits Center in New York City to tell supporters to go to home, and to let them know that she would fight on until the last vote was counted.

“They’re still counting votes. Every vote should count,” Podesta said to cheers at around 2:00 am Eastern Time. “Several states are too close to call. So we’re not going to have anything more to say tonight.”

He then encouraged the Democratic nominee’s supporters to get some rest, and ended his brief remarks with a simple, “Good night!”

Minutes after Podesta left the Javitz Center, and as supporters continued to stream out into the brisk New York morning, Clinton privately conceded the election to Trump in phone call.

For the Clinton supporters who spent hours and days supporting her bid for the White House, and for those who wept Tuesday as they watched victory slip from them in real-time, news of their nominee’s surrender came either from CNN, NBC News or the GOP president himself.

Later that same morning, after she formally conceded the election to Trump in a tearful address delivered in the Wyndham New Yorker’s grand ballroom, Clinton met with members of her audience, shaking hands and smiling all the while.

Meanwhile, in the hotel’s main lobby, dozens of teary-eyed supporters waited for their beaten champion to emerge from the ballroom upstairs, hoping for one last chance to wish her well in person.

They waited, some wiping away tears, and conversed among themselves. The heavily armed security detail posted outside the hotel’s main entrance slowly thinned out until it was eventually just a few uniformed police officers.

A hotel employee then announced to the small, impromptu gathering of downcast Clinton supporters that the former secretary of state had already left the building through a back exit.

The small crowd in the Wyndham New Yorker lobby glumly dispersed, and it was business as usual once again in the Manhattan hotel.

Clinton went her way, and her supporters went theirs.

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