Tensions between campaign aides of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump reached a boiling point at a postelection panel Thursday, The Washington Post has reported.
Managers who represented the dueling campaigns met at a session sponsored by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
During the meeting, Clinton’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, accused Trump’s most recent campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, of running a campaign that gave voice to the alt-right, a white-nationalist movement.
“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.”
Conway took umbrage at that, calling Clinton’s campaign honchos “bitter” that they lost and challenging them to accept Trump as their president.
“Hey guys, we won,” Conway said. “He was the better candidate. That’s why we won.”
“I said to Mr. Trump, ‘You’re running against one of the most joyless presidential candidates in history,'” Conway said, referring to Clinton. “‘Why don’t we find a way to be the happy warrior?'”
Things escalated when Clinton’s chief strategist, Joel Benenson, said Trump relied on dog whistles to stir up racial tension at his rallies. “Look at your rallies. He delivered it,” Benenson said.
Conway replied: “Guys, I can tell you’re angry, but wow. 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?”
For Clinton’s part, during her concession speech last month she urged supporters to give Trump a chance.
- Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Railing against media coverage
During a dinner event earlier this week, representatives of some of Trump’s Republican primary challengers took aim at media coverage of the election, according to Politico. CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker, took fire for giving Trump copious airtime during the primary and general election.
Zucker was having none of it.
“I have to respectfully push back on the campaign managers … because frankly, respectfully, I think that’s bull—-, Zucker said. “We asked [Trump] to do interviews and he agreed to do them. We continuously asked the other candidates to come on and do interviews.”
Some in the crowd disagreed, including an aide to GOP primary challenger Carly Fiorina who said, “I don’t remember getting invited to call in.”
Todd Harris, a senior adviser to Marco Rubio, said on-air interviews were not the problem: “You showed empty podiums,” Harris told Zucker, referring to the sometimes uninterrupted coverage of the ubiquitous Trump campaign rally.
Zucker also took criticism for hiring former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after Lewandowski was fired from the campaign in August – and while he was apparently still receiving severance pay from the campaign. Zucker stood behind the decision, calling it a “good investment.”
“If we could do that over again,” he said, “I would have asked that would have been paid [his severance] in full on the day we hired him.”