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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Election Night from inside the White House

The alcohol began flowing before 7:30 p.m. The chicken fingers and waffle fries (but not from Chick fil-A, peasants) had just arrived. For two years, they had called Hillary the PIW -- president in waiting. Soon it would be official.

Or so a man who was there, White House communications underling Pat Cunnane, wrote in New Yorker:
The returns started rolling in shortly after the first of the chicken fingers had vanished. Donald Trump was up in the Electoral College, 19–3. I turned to the group and joked, “Oh no, we’re losing!” Of course, we were fine. But it was a little disturbing to see the actual check mark of victory next to his face.
The beer and bourbon flowed. Some of the early returns from the bigger states started appearing on the screen. Too close to call. Trump up. No problem: the Democratic-leaning counties hadn’t reported yet. Ohio. Florida. North Carolina. We did what any sports fan does when he needs to regain the mojo. We switched positions. Around 9 p.m., a group of us went into the Rose Garden and did breathing exercises.
Breathing exercises?
At 10:21 p.m., somebody got a notification that Ohio was called for Trump. The remaining viewers in Josh’s office were pacing nervously. One of the longtime White House press aides, Peter Velz, left to comfort a despondent staffer. Behind closed doors, away from the news, they began reading aloud a history of the White House.
These are the people who were the front line if the balloon went up. And they needed safe spaces over an election?
At 11:07 p.m., North Carolina was called. I left to find David Simas, the political director at the White House, who was analyzing the results as a number of other staffers huddled around his conference table, staring at a torrent of tweets. Hoping for reassurances, I found only disbelief and grim predictions. I tried to imagine what the President might say if the night wore on like this, but I couldn't hear his voice.
The bubble was turning into a bunker.
At 11:23 p.m., Chris Christie, then responsible for leading the potential Trump transition, called the woman seated next to me. There was a deep silence following the call. A small blue fish swam in circles on a nearby desk. 
Christie must have said, "Now what are the measurements of those windows in the Oval Office again?"
At 11:30 p.m., Simas said that Hillary had a 33 percent chance of winning but that “everything has to go right on a night where nothing has gone right.”
President In Waiting? She will have to wait another four years, mate. Maybe eight.
We woke up to a gloomy, rainy day. It was fitting, but also a bit much—like we were living a movie with a lazy script. In the basement of the West Wing, gallows humor was a way to cope with the shock. I heard a White House aide facetiously plead with a counterterrorism staffer, “Please tell me it was the Russians.”
Which explains last week's talking point about the election.

Later, Cunnane broke down crying in front of President Obama.

We now know the name of Pajama Boy.

President Kennedy had the best and the brightest.

President Obama had the vain and the wussiest.


Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.

It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel, "Trump the Establishment."

For an autographed copy, email me at

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  1. Vainesr and wussiest yes. Why would anyone, even pajama boy, publish such embarrassing trash?

    I do disagree about the best and brightest. I have always hated that phrase, especially when applied to politics. And yes, President Trump has surrounded himself with an amazing team.

    I always think that the best and brightest stay in the private sector creating what the political
    Class feeds off of. Trump has the unique ability to have convinced many superstars to join him to MAGA. But still, Don S and many of the contributors here could also be among the best and brightest.

    1. Yeah, I don't get it either- even if I were pansy enough to cry in such a situation-I am not- it would never occur to me to write about it for publication.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Well, YEAH - the New Yorker, of course.

    I read the New Yorker - cartoons - at the library, and to see the twaddle these self described "Best & Brightest" write and read in that rag...........

    It passeth all understanding.

    SO "sophisticated" they are. Sickening it is.

  3. The fact this was even published reveals the teary feminoid nature of the deep left and that it is now considered a virtue to weep, wail,and rend your garments while taking poison before your king as he watches his armies being swept from the field by some red haired Goth, rather than take up arms and repledge your loyalty, even at the stake.
    I hope Trump's picks will prove best and brightest but in reality that is a retrospective judgement. They certainly have better plans than many of their predecessors, but, possibly with the exception of Obama himself, who I personally believe did not care that much for her, they love their country no less and did the best they could.

    1. There is a stark difference between the Obama cultists and Trump's supporters. Obama's supporters pledged their fealty to him, Trump's supporters to the nation. Obama's supporters placed leader before country, Trump's supporters put country before leader. Now you tell me which one of the two bears the closest resemblance to conditions in Nazi Germany and other totalitarian states throughout history.

  4. That last line says it.

    Moochelle looked hateful, but I'd swear Barry and Hillary were both sedated (although Barry might have rolled his own).

  5. The change is going to be very rough for them. To be this stupid and this weak is not a good omen for going forward in a much more meritorious country. Who would want this ass, or the others for that matter, around? No wonder they cannot find decent post administration jobs.

  6. Sounds almost like the classic scene from the movie Unterfall.

  7. "We now know the name of Pajama Boy": Pat is an androgynous name. He could be a she...or a xe.

    Where are the huge funeral pyres on which Hillary and her supporters can now throw themselves in their grief?

    1. Suttee for the Followers of the Pantsuit!

    2. The writer, Cunnae, is male..... by birth at least.

  8. The election did its job. It threw a wrench into the best-laid plans of mice and ...

    ... that's all. Just mice.

  9. He was obviously asleep during the Battle of Maldon class.

    "Hige sceal þē heardra, heorte þē cēnre,
    mōd sceal þē māre, þē ūre mægen lytlað."

    "Thought shall be harder, heart the keener,
    Mood the more, as our might lessens."

  10. I know a few people who actually cried over the election. I know one guy who was fired for being a Trump supporter. These Democrats need to take a deep breath and get over themselves.

  11. Hearing The lamentations of the women has still not gotten old.

  12. It's silly how people use "The Best And The Brightest" as if it's a compliment; in the original book by David Halberstam, the point was that JFK's administration was populated by such people but they weren't nearly as sharp as everyone, including themselves, said they were. As Sam Rayburn told VP LBJ, "they may be as smart as you say they are, but I'd feel a whole lot better if just one of them had run for Sheriff once."

  13. Obamacare was (and is) a disaster. MONEY. Just like Bush 41 raising taxes. Working people paid more insurance but got nothing for it (or even retained the same). That's what caused the migration to Trump. Also HRC's email scandal and health issues.