I was struck Wednesday as I was marking up a transcript of Tumulty's interview with Trump by just how much time he spent not playing up his own successful slogan, but rather talking about how Hillary Clinton's slogans were so bad. Here was a guy given a chance to gloat — something of which he certainly avails himself of from time to time — and he seemed to want to talk more about what a loser his opponent was.
Two examples. First:
TUMULTY: But what was it about those four words — “Make America Great Again” -- that you thought —TRUMP: I never saw a slogan before. People pay millions. Like I know that the Clinton campaign paid a lot of money to a Madison Avenue firm to do, what was it, “Stronger Together.” Which is called “Let's Fall Asleep Stronger Together” with an arrow. I'm trying to say: What does the arrow mean? Where is it pointing? Nobody even — nobody knew. It was actually pointing backward, I thought. But “Stronger Together” was not a good slogan. You know, time has proven that one to be right. In fact, they actually changed it because the original slogan I put in my speeches, remember? I was — what was that original slogan she had? Remember, it was about her. It's all about, “I'm With Her.” It’s “I'm With Her.” So I used to say, that's right, it's all about her. And the people would go crazy, and [Clinton's campaign] changed the slogan, which nobody ever gave me credit for. But these are minor details.
TUMULTY: By the way, I notice that you paid $325 for it.TRUMP: I paid — yeah, it's called a registration.TUMULTY: I assume that's like one of the better investments you've ever made.TRUMP: They paid a fortune for “I'm With Her.” And after about two rallies that I had she had to change it because I'm saying she's all about herself.TUMULTY: But that must be one of your better investments ever -- $325.TRUMP: “I'm With Her.” That's right. Remember the line? I have crowds like 25,000 people. I said, “She says, ‘I'm With Her,’ and my expression is, ‘I'm With You.’ ”
Haberman's story is from a recording of a closed-door dinner Wednesday night honoring Vice President-elect Mike Pence. And in it, Trump takes some shots at his GOP opponents and those who opposed him from the outside.
Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) was “smart guy, he was a little late to the plate, but that’s okay.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, meanwhile, “can be nasty, that Scott Walker.” NeverTrumpers are “really right now on a respirator; they’re pretty much gone.” And billionaire GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, who initially opposed Trump, didn't put up the money he promised to aid Trump quickly enough, according to Trump. Trump also notably cited “the haters” who disliked him personally but said his campaign was “unprecedented.”
This isn't terribly surprising from Trump, of course. Just last week, he tore into Clinton again, saying she lost because she campaigned in the wrong states — a frequent criticism Trump lodges.
What are Hillary Clinton's people complaining about with respect to the F.B.I. Based on the information they had she should never.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2017
have been allowed to run - guilty as hell. They were VERY nice to her. She lost because she campaigned in the wrong states - no enthusiasm!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2017
Those tweets seem to have been spurred by continuing questions about just how much Russia aided Trump's campaign; it's Trump offering an alternative reason for why he won and Clinton lost. But it's telling that his counterargument continues to focus on what Clinton did wrong and not what he did right — just as it was in the Tumulty interview.
These other comments, by contrast, were basically unprompted, and they suggest a man who can't let go of old battles and is continually keeping score in his own mind. It's almost as if he's serving notice to anybody who dares to oppose him in the future that he not only will defeat them but also will spend eternity reminding them about how he beat them and just how faulty they are as human beings.
Which can be a valuable political skill. The Clintons, after all, are known for keeping score and were reported to have a “hit list” of those who had run afoul of them. And Trump himself is feared by some opponents to be keeping a similar blacklist, as The Post reported earlier this week.
But with the Clintons, the long-suspected blacklist has been kept pretty secret. For Trump, it seems he'll keep reminding us who has run afoul of him long after he vanquished them.