On Thursday night, a customarily cordial post-election forum, consisting of members of the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns, devolved into what basically amounted to a shouting match, as Hillary Clinton's aides accused those on Donald Trump's side of running a campaign based on white supremacy.
The forum, which took place at Harvard University Kennedy's School of Government, is part of a two-day symposium that has followed every presidential election since 1972. The school's Institute of Politics hosts a meeting in which staffers from both sides sit across from each other and discuss the campaign and election that has just taken place. The gathering is typically civil, but not this year.
Trump's team praised their chief executive, Steve Bannon (who was not there), the former editor of racist, anti-Semitic website Breitbart, who will now be the nation's Chief Strategist. Jennifer Palmieri, the communications director of the Clinton team, said,
If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am proud to have lost. I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager (one of three), responded by asking, “Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform? You're going to look me in the face and tell me that?”
As Palmieri protested, “You did, Kellyanne. You did,” Conway continued,
Do you think you could have just had a decent message for white, working-class voters? 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?
Joel Benenson, Clinton strategist and pollster, added, “There were dog whistles sent out to people. . . . Look at your rallies. He delivered it.”
Guys, I can tell you are 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?
(Yes, Conway does and did use "hashtag" while speaking.)
Joel Benenson also stated,
You won the electoral college, that’s the currency. But let’s also be honest. Don’t act as if you have some popular mandate for your message … the fact of the matter is that more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump.