Watch: Ben Rhodes Breaks Down After Hillary’s Election Defeat in HBO Obama Doc

Saudis Afghanistan - Deputy National Security Adviser For Strategic Communications Ben Rho
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

There is a scene from HBO’s recently released Obama administration documentary, The Final Year, chronicling Hillary Clinton’s crushing loss on Election Day in 2016, which shows a forlorn former Obama advisor Ben Rhodes left utterly speechless and distraught by Donald Trump’s victory.

The clip, bouncing around on social media, shows a crestfallen Rhodes sitting alone, outside and in the dark. All Rhodes can get out is “I can’t… I can’t” over and over again as he stares vacantly into the distance while contemplating Clinton’s loss. Finally, after mumbling and stumbling for over a minute, Rhodes concludes, “I can’t put it into words, I don’t know what the words are.”

Ben Rhodes was the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications for the Obama White House and was also an adviser on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran.

The image of an incoherent, despondent Rhodes is just one scene in HBO’s documentary following the final year of Obama’s presidency and his foreign policy legacy.

According to HBO, the film directed by directed by Greg Barker, “offers an insider’s look at key figures, including Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Ambassador Samantha Power, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes and National Security Advisor Susan Rice, as they sought to promote diplomacy and redefine how the U.S. confronts questions of war and peace, all while preparing to hand over the machinery of American power to a new administration.”

Another moment of pain sees Power and a room full of Clinton supporters shutter as news anchors announce Trump winning the state of Florida.

Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power reacting to the news that Donald Trump won electoral votes from Florida on Election Day in 2016.

The flick was not well received. The New York Times called it “tepid and self-congratulatory,” The paper did say that it picks up a bit in the last 30 minutes as the film seeks reaction from Obama’s inner circle after Trump won the White House.

Since Hillary’s loss, Rhodes co-founded an anti-Trump political action committee with Jake Sullivan called the National Security Action PAC.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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