New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman offers a behind-the-scenes account of Donald Trump’s campaign team on election night, including the concession phone call the president-elect received from Hillary Clinton.
From New York magazine:
Shortly after 3 p.m. on November 8, Donald Trump walked into the war room on the 14th floor of Trump Tower and received rousing cheers from his staff. While virtually the entire media Establishment was predicting Hillary Clinton was on track to win the election, Trump’s team remained “nervous but optimistic,” in the words of one adviser, that their man would pull off a historic victory. According to the adviser, Florida governor Rick Scott had assured Team Trump that the campaign would “squeak it out” in the Sunshine State. “This election is about winning one state,” Rudy Giuliani told me. “If you win Florida, the rest will fall into place.”
And it did. Shortly before 11 p.m., the Associated Press called Florida for Trump and the trajectory of the race fundamentally tilted in Trump’s direction. “Humility to Euphoria,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway texted me shortly after the state fell to Trump. “Our plan was to protect our core four: Iowa, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio,” she later said. “When we protected the core four and saw the numbers in Wisconsin, we thought we could win.”
Despite Trumpworld’s confidence in the numbers, the candidate himself was anxious. Trump watched the returns from his Trump Tower penthouse. “He was humble to the very end,” Conway recalled. “He kept saying, ‘We didn’t get it done yet.’ Even when the New York Times had us projected at a 50 percent chance of winning, and then 70 percent, and then 90 percent, he said, ‘It’s not done yet.’”
Trump’s advisers arrived at the Hilton and waited for Fox News to call the election. Around 2:30 a.m., Conway’s cell phone rang. It was Huma Abedin calling on behalf of her boss, Hillary Clinton. She was ready to concede. “Hi, Kellyanne, it’s Huma. Is Mr. Trump available?” Abedin said, according to Conway. Conway passed the phone. Conway recalled Trump’s end of the conversation: “He said, ‘You’re a smart, tough lady and you ran a great campaign. Thank you for calling. I respect you.” Conway said they spoke for about a minute.
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