The top officials from both of the presidential campaigns took part in a discussion at Harvard about the campaign and the Trump team, led by Kellyanne Conway, went ballistic when a Clinton adviser accused them of courting the white supremacist vote.
“I would rather lose than win the way you guys did!” Jennifer Palmieri, the communications director for Hillary for America, shot at the Trump team seated a few feet away.
“How exactly did we win, Jenn? How exactly?” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway fired back, noting that “I have a smile on my face at all times.”
Palmieri proceeded to bash the Trump campaign and its chief executive (and Breitbart News honcho) Stephen K. Bannon as a vehicle and emboldening power for America’s “white supremacists and white nationalists.”
“Are you gonna look me in the face and say I ran a campaign that was a platform for white supremacists?” Conway angrily responded.
Palmieri told her, plainly, yes.
“Are you kidding me?” Conway asked incredulously.
This is Conway’s standard response when accused of doing anything wrong, faux outrage. How dare you! But she never actually addresses the substance of the allegation at all. There really is no doubt that Trump courted, both overtly and covertly, the votes of racists and white supremacists. His sons went on white supremacist radio shows, credentials for the Republican National Convention was given to the hosts of those shows and they won the loud and proud praise of white supremacists. And they earned that praise by advocating exactly the kind of bigoted, nativist views that the white supremacists do.
The KKK and people like Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor did not support Trump by accident, they support Trump because of his racist and xenophobic rhetoric on immigration, his anti-Muslim rhetoric, his proposed ban on all Muslim immigration and tourism, his advocacy of a registry of Muslims. Those are policies that fit perfectly with what the white supremacists want and they viewed it as a good start toward “taking back” the country for white Europeans. There’s no mystery about this, they said it themselves over and over again.
Conway subsequently told the rival team, “You guys are bitter. We are being very gracious. You’re bitter.”
“You’re not being nice,” Conway told Clinton campaign chief strategist Joel Benenson, after his own censure of the alt-right…
“Hashtag-he’s-your-president, how about that?” Conway told the frustrated and defeated Clinton crew. “We won.”
Again, not even the slightest attempt to address the issue at all, just triumphalism. Yes, you won, at least partly by appealing to racist, nativist bigots. That is the undeniable reality and your faux outrage does nothing at all to dispute that.