A Harvard panel that traditionally writes the first draft of presidential campaign history devolved into a shouting match between Trump and Clinton aides on Thursday in a raw, emotional display echoing the divisive campaign.
Jennifer Palmieri, who was Hillary Clinton's communications director, zeroed in on Steve Bannon, the incoming chief strategist for President-elect Donald Trump who once ran the web site Breitbart.
“If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am proud to have lost,” said Palmieri, one of six Clinton aides who sat across tables from top Trump campaign staff at a forum moderated by three journalists, NBC News' Andrea Mitchell among them. "I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.”
Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump's campaign, was visibly angry and indignantly interrupted. “Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?”
“You did, Kellyanne. You did,” Palmieri said, as other Clinton aides chimed in in the affirmative. With only two microphones allowed to be open at any given time, the shouting match was so heated it became difficult to follow.
“Do you think you could have just had a decent message for white, working-class voters? How about, it’s Hillary Clinton, she doesn’t connect with people? How about, they have nothing in common with her? How about, she doesn’t have an economic message?” Conway said.
"There were dog whistles," said Clinton strategist Joel Benenson at one point.
Said Conway: “Guys, I can tell you are angry, but wow. Hashtag he’s your president ... will you ever accept the election results? Will you tell your protesters that he’s their president, too?”