There’s plenty of spin, of course, coming from Clinton aides, but on social media they have seemed downright giddy at developments out of Cleveland, including Wednesday night’s speech from GOP runner-up Sen. Ted Cruz that drew hearty boos.
“It’s largely been anger and hate,” Christina Reynolds, Clinton’s deputy communications director, said in an interview. “It’s hard to argue that they’ve offered any substantive reason to vote for Donald Trump. … We expected there to be more reaching out to voters who are undecided. He’s failed to meet very low expectations.”
She acknowledged that Trump could make some headway Thursday night toward salvaging the convention but said he’s got a very high bar to clear.
“He’s got one last night to show people what he stands for, other than being against Hillary Clinton, and to get rid of the ugliness that has surrounded his campaign,” she said.
On Tuesday, Clinton herself called the first night of the convention “surreal,” and her analysis didn’t even refer to the controversy over the borrowed passage in Melania Trump’s speech.
During an address to labor leaders in Las Vegas, the former secretary of state compared the GOP gathering to a well-known scene in the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz.”
There was “lots of sound and fury, even a fog machine,” Clinton said, referencing a dramatic entrance by Trump. But “when you pulled back the curtain, it was just Donald Trump with nothing to offer the American people.”
On social media, there’s been plenty of snark from some senior aides since then.
In the aftermath of the Cruz speech — in which the senator from Texas declined to endorse the Republican presidential nominee — national press secretary Brian Fallon referred to the GOP as “a hot mess.”
On one hand, defying Trump puts you on right side of history— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) July 21, 2016
On other hand, Cruz is only doing it for Cruz
Only takeaway: GOP is a hot mess
“On one hand, defying Trump puts you on the right side of history,” Fallon wrote. “On the other hand, Cruz is only doing it for Cruz.”
Deputy national press secretary Jesse Ferguson, meanwhile, used the occasion to remind his Twitter followers of others who haven’t endorsed Trump, including “any GOP former president” and “the 2012 GOP nominee for president.”
On Thursday, Fallon took to Twitter again, writing that the “bar couldn’t be lower for Trump tonight.”
“But this week has already proven he is incapable of sustaining an appeal beyond his core supporters,” Fallon added.
With a lineup Wednesday that included Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and other ambitious GOP pols, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri suggested the speakers were making the evening more about themselves than Trump.
Reynolds, meanwhile, said on Twitter that the theme of the convention seemed to be “lock her up,” a reference to chants from the floor about what to do with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
“Which really answers the needs of working families,” Reynolds added sarcastically.
Clinton aides said they have no plans to alter their convention in response to the Republican gathering but promise to offer more civility and unity.
There could be some trouble on the latter front, with a group of delegates pledged to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont threatening to protest on the convention floor if they’re not happy with Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate.
It’s nearly certain Trump and his aides would have plenty to say about that — and that they’ll be at the ready to offer their critique of everything else that transpires in Philadelphia.