Hillary Clinton phoned Barack Obama on election night after conceding defeat and told him: ‘I’m sorry’.
The Democratic Presidential candidate stepped into an anteroom for the conversation to apologize for losing to Donald Trump in a conversation which has never previously been reported.
As she took the call Clinton knew she had ‘let her country down’ and that Obama’s legacy lay ‘shattered at Donald Trump’s feet’, a new book reveals.
Minutes earlier Clinton had called Trump and suppressed ‘the anger that touched every nerve in her body’ as she conceded.
She said: ‘Congratulations, Donald. ‘I’ll be supportive of the country’s success and that means your success as president.’
The drama of Clinton’s election in the Peninsula Hotel in Manhattan is detailed in Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Election Campaign.
Political journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes tell the hour by hour drama of how Clinton’s confidence at her victory was replaced by anxiety and resignation as Trump won the biggest upset in modern political history on November 9 last year.
The book says that as the results rolled in for states like Pennsylvania, the clear tipping point for the race for the White House, Obama called Clinton and said: ‘You need to concede’
According to the book, Obama was ‘determined to make sure that his friend understood that the election was over’ and that she had to accept the loss with dignity to counter Trump’s attempts to undermine the electoral system.
Obama said that he ‘didn’t see any point in prolonging the inevitable’ and didn’t want to turn the election into a ‘recount mess’ – then having delivered his message he hung up.
The call worked and Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin called Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
The two candidates were brought to the line and Clinton conceded.
The authors write that Trump credited her for being a smart opponent who ran a tough campaign. The conversation lasted about a minute.
Next came a second, previously undisclosed call from Obama which ‘crystallized everything for Hillary’.
The book says: ‘Hillary winces. She wasn’t ready for this conversation. When she’d spoken with Obama just a little bit earlier the outcome of the election wasn’t final yet.
‘Now, though, with the President placing a consolation call, the reality and dimensions of her defeat hit her all at once.
‘She had let him down. She had let herself down. She had let her party down. And she had let her country down.
‘Obama’s legacy and her dreams of the Presidency lay shattered at Donald Trump’s feet. This was on her. Reluctantly she rose from her seat and took the phone.
‘Mr President’, she said softly. ‘I’m sorry’.
As she drafted her acceptance speech Clinton defied her aides who asked her to criticize Trump and said that she wanted a ‘gracious exit’.
Had Clinton won, her victory speech would have been a testament to her beloved mother Dorothy Rodham, the book reveals.
Beneath the glass ceiling of the Javits Center in Manhattan she would have imagined going up to her mother when she was eight years old and telling her: ‘As hard as it might be to imagine, your daughter will one day grow up and become President of the United States.
Shattered also offers a blunt assessment of why Clinton lost and says that some of her team thought that ‘Clinton Inc’, referring to the baggage and machinery of the Clinton family, was an ‘albatross’ around the campaign.
Source: Daily Mail UK | Daniel Bates