Hillary Clinton Acknowledges Historic Nomination as 'Milestone' for Women

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during her primary night event at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York, June 7, 2016.PlayTimothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
WATCH Hillary Clinton: Being the First Female Presidential Nominee 'Sends Signal Around the World'

Hillary Clinton embraced her status as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on Tuesday night, relishing the historic moment.

"Thanks to you, we've reached a milestone," Clinton said during a victory speech in Brooklyn, New York, adding that it was the "first time in our nation's history that a woman will be a major party's nominee of the United States."

It's an achievement the former secretary of state has called "emotional." When The Associated Press declared that she had reached the magic number of needed delegates on Monday night, she told a crowd of supporters in California, "We are in the brink of a historic, historic, unprecedented moment."

         
              
                     
                                        PHOTO: Hillary Rodham is shown in her 1965 senior class portrait from East High School in Park Ridge, Ill.                                                                        
            
                SLIDESHOW: Hillary Clinton through the years             
        
    
    

Clinton took a few swipes at the Republican presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, calling him "temperamentally unfit" to be president.

"When he says, 'Let's make America great again,' that is code for 'Let's take America backwards,'" she said.

And in an emotional tribute to her late mother, Clinton talked very personally about how it felt to be the presumptive nominee.

"On the very day my mother was born, in Chicago, Congress was passing the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. That amendment finally gave women the right to vote," Clinton said as the crowd danced and cheered, adding, "I wish she could see her daughter become the Democratic Party's nominee."

Clinton first acknowledged her status as the Democratic presumptive nominee in a fundraising email sent before her victory speech.

"After all our hard work and tough fights — and an unwavering commitment to love, kindness, our country and each other — we broke one of the highest, hardest glass ceilings in America," the email reads.

"For the first time ever, a woman will be a major party's nominee to become president of the United States," it states.

Her campaign has long seen Tuesday — when six states are holding nominating contests — as a turning point in the race, allowing her to set her sights on unifying the Democratic Party to defeat Trump. Tuesday also marks the day exactly eight years ago when Clinton dropped out of the primary race against then-Sen. Barack Obama.

"Although we weren't able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time," she said during her concession remarks then, "thanks to you, it has about 18 million cracks in it."

How Clinton handles uniting the party and bringing her rival in the primaries, Sen. Bernie Sanders, into her camp remains to be seen.

Tuesday night, the Democratic presumptive nominee perhaps took the first step, congratulating Sanders for running an "extraordinary" campaign and calling for party solidarity.

"Whether you supported me or Sen. Sanders or one of the Republicans, we all need to keep working to a better, fairer, stronger America," Clinton told a crowd of nearly 4,000 supporters. "We believe that cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better than division, empowerment is better than resentment and bridges are better than walls."

The drawn out and at times volatile Democratic primary contest lasted longer than the Republican race — something few predicted. In the end, Clinton visited 42 states during the primaries and held 419 public events, according to a campaign official.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who endorsed Clinton on ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday and called her achievement "exciting," saying it's historic "because she is the best, not because she's a woman."