Ben Rhodes: I Was ‘Shellshocked’ After Trump Won

• June 4, 2018 9:59 am


Former top Barack Obama aide Ben Rhodes said Monday that he woke up "shellshocked" after Donald Trump's election victory over Hillary Clinton.

Rhodes, whose White House memoir The World As It Is comes out Tuesday, was filmed by HBO's "The Final Year" documentary crew struggling to find words to convey his shock the night of Trump's win. Throughout the film, Rhodes confidently predicted Clinton couldn't lose.

"I woke up the morning after election night kind of shellshocked, and that's when it hit me," Rhodes said on "CBS This Morning."

"Is that what he won on? A change election and a corrupt establishment?" CBS host Norah O'Donnell asked.

"Well, that was his message. The racism and misogyny was also a part of the message," he said.

Rhodes then recounted sitting in the apartment of Obama speechwriter Coby Keenan and taking a call from the president as Trump's victory unfolded. The president was wondering what to say the next day.

"We're all just absorbing this news and this new reality, and I do realize in that moment that I don't think that we had inhabited the likelihood of Trump winning. We hadn't put ourselves in that place, and you had that shellshock," he said. "Then the next morning, you start to analyze it."

Rhodes also discussed the excerpted section of his book where Obama pondered aloud following Trump's victory, "What if we were wrong?" Rhodes said Obama had read a column following Clinton's defeat over whether Democrats had pushed the country too hard in the direction of globalization.

"Any number of causal factors led to President Trump, and what I answer in the book is that question, which is I don't think we were wrong," he said.