Former Obama advisor Ben Rhodes was so stunned by President Donald Trump’s victory he could barely speak, a recent interview with Politico Magazine revealed.
“I am usually not without thoughts and words. But you know, I think—I kept trying—beginning to say something,” Rhodes told former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, noting “that basically [he couldn’t] speak.”
Both Rhodes and Samantha Power were key members of former President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team for most of his eight years in office.
Power, for her part, recounted an election night party she threw which several female diplomats from around the world attended. “I thought what an amazing night for them. I mean, that’s what America represents to the world, when a glass ceiling is shattered in our country, it creates a whole new sense of possibility for people everywhere,” she said of the impetus to throw her party.
The evening however took a dark turn when it became increasingly apparent Trump would win. “It slowly dawned on us that not only was this going to be much closer than anybody anticipated, but that it was not going to end well,” she recalled, adding wistfully “when the election is called, my daughter, who at that time is four, is just lying in my lap, kind of like this pale, Irish statue, and there’s something about the way she’s lying, I don’t know.”
Rhodes and Power spoke ahead of the release of an HBO film which documents the final year of Obama’s presidency which will be released on Jan 19. Power’s victory party can be seen in the film’s trailer.