During a heated exchange with Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri, President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway denied Palmieri’s accusations that Trump appealed to racists and countered that Team Clinton proved themselves to be sore losers with a bad candidate and no real message.
The comments came during the now traditional campaign postmortem panel discussion at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government that brings together campaign operatives from both sides of the presidential race for a candid post-election analysis.
As The Washington Post reported, between crying jags, Palmieri accused Trump of giving white supremacists a platform during the campaign:
“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.”
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, fumed: “Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?”
“You did, Kellyanne. You did,” interjected Palmieri, who choked up at various points of the session.
Conway refused to let the smear stand without a firm rebuke. “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?” Conway responded at one point.
“There’s a difference for voters between what offends you and what affects you,” she added.
Conway’s point, as the Post noted, was “that Trump was speaking more directly to people’s anxieties and needs.”
Refusing to back down, Conway also characterized Team Clinton as little more than sore losers.
“Guys, I can tell you are angry, but wow! Hashtag he’s your president. How’s that?” Conway asked. “Will you ever accept the election results? Will you tell your protesters that he’s their president, too?”
That was perhaps a dig aimed in part at Team Clinton’s embrace of Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s multi-state recount efforts, which most observers admit are pointless at best.
Trump’s deputy campaign manager David Bossie chimed in as well after Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook blamed part of Clinton’s failure on “headwinds” from the perception that she was an establishment candidate in a year of the outsider.
“You call it ‘head winds,’ I call it self-inflicted wounds,” said Bossie.