Politics

The Moment Hillary Knew She Lost: 'I'm Sorry'

| by Kit Bryer

A new tell-all book is giving readers an inside look at how Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election, detailing the moments she conceded to President Donald Trump and apologized to former President Barack Obama for letting him down on the night she lost.

In their new book, "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign," political reporters Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes offer readers a frame-by-frame closeup of the Clinton campaign from birth to unexpected failure. Released on April 18, the political biography has seen mixed reception from the public. It has also generated a lot of buzz. 

Michiko Kakutani, a critic for The New York Times, wrote that the book was "nothing less than devastating."

"The portrait of the Clinton campaign that emerges from these pages is that of a Titanic-like disaster," Kakutani said. "An epic fail made up of a series of perverse and often avoidable missteps by an out-of-touch candidate and her strife-ridden staff that turned 'a winnable race' into 'another iceberg-seeking campaign ship.'"

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In an extended excerpt from "Shattered" published by the New York Post, details of election night reveal a stoic Clinton experiencing the disappointment of a lifetime. It begins with electricity and excitement in the air and ends in dashed hopes, lost dreams and angry concessions.

"At the start of the night, the Javits Center was electric: it had the buzz of a debut performance on Broadway," the excerpt reads

"The venue, which would fill with Hillary aides, donors, friends and well-wishers over the course of the day, was chosen in large part because of its distinctive feature: a glass ceiling. If everything went as planned, it would be the glass ceiling of the presidency that lay shattered under Hillary by the end of the night."

But as vote counts rolled in the Clinton campaign team began to come to terms with the reality that Clinton had lost; that no glass ceilings would be shattered that night.

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"Hillary sat stone-faced, trying to process the unexpected and abrupt reversal of her fortunes," the story continues. "'OK,' she said over and over as she nodded. It was all she could muster."

Clinton kept her cool, but husband, former President Bill Clinton was less composed, expressing concern about the Brexit-inspired "screw-it votes."

"Hillary was still surprisingly calm, unable or unwilling to delve into the details of how her dream was turning into a nightmare. Bill was less reticent. He’d had a sinking feeling that the British vote to leave the European Union had been a harbinger for a kind of screw-it vote in the United States."

"'It's like Brexit,' he lamented. 'I guess it’s real.'"

No amount of stoicism or rationalizing would change the results of the vote count. Eventually, as the night wound to a close, Clinton had one last thing she had to do, according to the new book.

"'Congratulations, Donald,' she said, suppressing the anger that touched every nerve in her body. 'I'll be supportive of the country's success, and that means your success as president.'"

The excerpt ends with Clinton telling Obama, "I'm sorry" as she wonders how she will tell women and girls who looked up to her what to do now and how to feel about Trump.

The book doesn't hold back on the gritty details of the infamously poorly run Clinton campaign, but Clinton campaign aides are coming forward to say this book doesn't represent the Clinton they know. 

Several Clinton aides took to Twitter to refute the book's claims of chaos within the campaign team. One of those aides, Christina Reynolds, published a response to the book on Medium, titled "Shattered or Contorted?"

"I wanted to speak out ... after spending most of the campaign watching some people question the enthusiasm and our supporters," Reynolds wrote. 

Reynold added, "It's hard to read a depiction of the campaign that paints a dedicated, cohesive team as mercenaries with questionable motives who lacked a loyalty to a candidate described as 'imperial' and removed from the campaign. That’s just not the campaign, the staff or the candidate I was in the trenches with for 18 months."

Sources: The New York Times, New York Post, Medium / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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