Traditionally, a losing candidate’s concession call at the end of a hard-fought campaign is a private moment, shared only between the two opponents and perhaps a couple of their top aides.
Dan Scavino Jr. — the White House director of social media — has different ideas. On Tuesday, Scavino posted a screenshot of the election night call record in which Hillary Clinton conceded to Donald Trump (a call that was made from Huma Abedin’s phone to Kellyanne Conway’s phone).
Scavino didn’t stop there, though — as Hunter Walker of Yahoo News flags, he also claimed he has the call “on video” and that he would “share that in the near future”:
The public leak of a concession call from the winning candidate’s team would be highly unusual, to say the least — though it fits with the Trump team’s continued obsession with the results of the election months later, from the president on down. (After Clinton said FBI Director Jim Comey’s late letter to Congress might have tipped the election’s outcome in a speech last week, Trump felt the need to rebut her with some late-night tweets.)
If any video is posted, it probably won’t be all that interesting. According to Shattered, the new book on the Clinton campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, this is how the concession call went down:
Hillary took Huma’s phone and faked a smile with her voice. “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.” Trump credited her for being a smart opponent who ran a tough campaign. The denouement lasted all of about a minute.
The news spread fast because Mook was on a conference call with other top officials. Hillary’s voice carried over his open line. “She’s literally in the background,” one campaign aide said. “You could hear her talking to Trump, conceding.”
If that’s all there was to it, that seems straightforward enough, and the only real purpose of releasing the video would be to rub it in the faces of Clinton’s fans.
Still, with Trump’s approval ratings mired in the low 40s, it might be smarter for the White House to focus on trying to actually win over some Clinton voters (who did, after all, make up a plurality of the electorate).