By Mukurima Muriuki
Hillary Clinton, at first, did not want to concede defeat to Donald Trump. At least not on the the night of Tuesday, November 8th. That was until she received a very important phone call….
In her new book “What Happened,” Hillary takes the reader through the emotions of a loss to Trump and a patriotic call from #44.
The previous day, chief pollster Joel Benenson had sent an encouraging report to the Clinton team which showed her leading Trump by 5 points in a direct head to head and by 4 points when third paries were factored in. In Benenson’s words:
“You are going to bring this home.”
In the afternoon of November 8th, Clinton and a few aides settled in at the Peninsula Hotel. In their world, “things were looking good.” It is for this reason that at a suite on the top floor of the Peninsula, together with Bill and 2 speech writers, Hillary decided to go over the latest victory speech draft. She wanted a speech that would reach out to Trump voters and sound a note of reconciliation while also giving her supporters the triumphant victory celebration they deserved.
Then, the polls began to close on the East Coast. Results were coming in. Fast. Then trouble, gloom and doom started to be noticed.
The first sign that it would be a long night was North Carolina. The black and Latino turnout was not as high as the team had expected. The same was happening in Florida. This would be replicated in other key states.
Then tension started filling the Peninsula.
In Hillary’s words:
“Chelsea and Marc were a calming presence, but they too were on edge. How could you not be? The waiting was excruciating I decided to do the least likely thing in the world and take a nap……When I got up, the mood in the hotel had darkened considerably. John Podesta and Robby Mook looked shaken. Someone sent out for Whiskey……”
“Not long after the midnight, the Associated Press reported that I had won Nevada…..I had a good chance to prevail in New Hampshire, but it wouldn’t be enough without Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. The experts were telling us that it might be so close that we would need a recount or at least another day to sort everything out.”
This was around 1.00 in the morning. At that point and given what the experts were saying, Hillary sent Podesta to ask the supporters waiting at the Javits Center to go home. Hillary was not going to concede that night.
Then a phone call came in. It was from president Barack Obama. The message from the retiring president was simple:
“drawing out this process would be bad for the country.”
Obama wanted Clinton to concede quickly and gracefully. She agreed
At 1.35 in the morning, Clinton made that phone call to Trump:
“Donald, its Hillary………………..”
After calling Trump, Hillary made another call; to Obama. With a tightened throat, she said:
“I am sorry for letting you down……..”
In Hillary’s words:
“Obama told me there was life after losing and that he and Michelle would be there for me. I hung up and sat quietly for a few moments. I was numb. It was all shocking. ”
After reading this book and all that Clinton has laid bare, I cannot help but ask myself: “do we have retired presidents in Kenya? Do they have a name? Can they please stand up? Can they pick up that damn phone and make that vital call?”