Hillary Clinton bid an emotional farewell to the State Department on Friday as she stepped down from her post as America’s top diplomat to become a private citizen for the first time in decades.
The US Secretary of State addressed a cheering crowd of staff in Washington, telling them that while the world remains “very complex and even dangerous” she was “more optimistic today than I was when I stood here four years ago”.
“I’m proud of the work we have done to elevate diplomacy and development, to serve the nation we all love, to understand the challenges, the threats and the opportunities that the United States faces,” she said.
Mrs Clinton poked gentle fun at the punishing schedule she has kept for the last four years, thanking the travelling companions who joined her in flying nearly a million miles on visits to 112 countries and joking that she would be calling the department’s emergency operations centre “just to talk”.
Earlier, she submitted her formal letter of resignation to President Barack Obama and within hours John Kerry, the Massachusetts senator and former presidential candidate, was due to be sworn in as her successor.
Her resignation marks the end of a working relationship between Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton that few expected in the wake of their bitter 2008 election rivalry.
Mrs Clinton will wake up on Monday morning with no public office for the first time in 30 years. Since 1983 she has served continuously as First Lady of Arkansas and then the United States, followed by Senator for New York and then Secretary of State.
She leaves office with approval ratings of nearly 70 per cent and supporters are clamoring for her to make a second bid for the presidency in 2016.
Mrs Clinton has repeatedly said she will not make any decision for some time but that has not stopped admirers from forming a political action group to make preparations on her behalf, Telegraph reports.