Top aides to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE and Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE sparred over their respective presidential campaigns during a traditional post-election meeting.
The exchange took place at a postmortem session sponsored by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, according to The Washington Post, an election-year tradition that brings top advisers face to face.
During the event, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri blasted Stephen Bannon, the Trump campaign’s chief executive and incoming White House chief strategist.
“If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am proud to have lost,” Palmieri said. “I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.”
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway shot back: “Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?” “You did, Kellyanne. You did,” Palmieri replied. “Do you think you could have just had a decent message for white, working-class voters?” Conway continued. “How about, it’s Hillary Clinton, she doesn’t connect with people? How about, they have nothing in common with her? How about, she doesn’t have an economic message?” Clinton’s chief strategist Joel Benenson said there were “dog whistles sent out to people.” “Look at your rallies. He delivered it,” he said.
“Guys, I can tell you are angry, but wow,” Conway responded. “Hashtag he’s your president. How’s that? Will you ever accept the election results? Will you tell your protesters that he’s their president, too?”
The gathering was part of a two-day forum at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and has happened following every presidential election since 1972. The exchange comes after a brutal presidential campaign where both candidates attacked each other’s character and ability to take the Oval Office.
Clinton called her Republican rival temperamentally unfit to serve in the White House. Trump blasted Clinton as “crooked” and called for her imprisonment. Top aides for both candidates also criticized the media’s coverage of the campaign, according to the Post.
“This is the problem with the media. You guys took everything Donald Trump said so literally,” said Corey Lewandowski, a former Trump campaign manager who served as a CNN commentator after leaving the campaign, the network reported.
“The American people didn’t. They understood it. They understood sometimes when you have a conversation with people, whether it’s around the dinner table or at a bar, you’re going to say things and sometimes you don’t have all the facts to back it up.” During a dinner the night earlier, operatives from the campaigns of other Republican candidates criticized CNN chief executive Jeff Zucker for the way the network covered Trump and for its free publicity of his unorthodox campaign. Palmieri said the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private email server will be “the most grossly overrated, over covered and most destructive story in all of presidential politics.”
“If I made one mistake, it was legitimizing the way the press covered this storyline,” Palmieri said.
“The media by and large was not covering what Hillary Clinton was choosing to say,” said Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager.
“They were treating her like the likely winner and they were constantly trying to unearth secrets and expose.”
Benenson said during the exchange that the Trump campaign won, but told them not to act as if they have a “popular mandate for your message.”
“The fact of the matter is that more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump,” he said, referencing Clinton winning the popular vote.
Conway shot back: “Hey, guys, we won. You don’t have to respond. He was the better candidate. That’s why he won.”
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