At the President's Victory Party

Feature: What I saw at the Donald Trump party in New York City

2016 Election Trump
A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a sign during his election night rally / AP
November 9, 2016

NEW YORK—What do you want me to say? That by 8:30 p.m. all the NYPD officers outside the lobby of the Hilton Midtown were carrying machine guns? That a bottle of Coors Light cost $10 and we weren’t allowed to use the ATM in the hotel and had to walk across the street and wait for a customer to use her card to open the door to TD Bank? That a pair of whiny-looking kids showed up more than half an hour late to pick up their credentials saying "We’re with Breitbart" as if it were Pravda and got in? That by midnight virtually every cop and security guard and Trump staffer in the building was behaving like a psychotic, some of them insisting that press credentials people had been carrying for six hours were fake? That the fat slob in the ponytail who sat down at my reserved table in the media filing center without asking me got cookie crumbs and pieces of potato chip and uneaten bits of fruit all over the place and left without cleaning up? That the kind and very funny Scottish-Canadian woman I smoked and chatted with outside in the hope that one of the networks would finally call the race and Trump would speak found the results appalling and bizarre? That Milo and his cronies just ran by pointing at journalists and shouting "Does anybody want to guess how big the wall’s gonna be? You? You?" That it’s past 2:00 but I still don’t really know whether Trump won?

Otherwise it has been a very subdued eight-plus hours here in Manhattan. Whatever people in media thought, my impression is that most of the Trump supporters here always expected him to win, as I have. Oh, sure, there was a glum and apprehensive period between 7:00 and 8:30 p.m. or so, with many guests still yet to arrive, and the conventional wisdom about Clinton’s inevitablity continued to be aired on cable. But there were no tears and since then there have been high-fives and cheers as Fox News has called states.

By midnight the filing center had mostly emptied out. I suspect that many journalists had left altogether by then. It is hard to say what really useful sort of reporting might have been done here tonight. We basically watched cable TV with one another and talked with supporters who were not very interested in us or what we do. The sense seems to be that our profession blew it. Boo-hoo.

"When the f— you think they’re gonna call this thing?" a NYPD officer asked me at 1:30.

"Hell if I know."

"You ever think he was gonna do this?"

I explained to him that I have thought Trump was going to be our next president since last December.

"Ya get a lotta shit for that?"

"Oh yeah."

"Yeah, it’d be like a guy doin’ what I do bein’ for Hillary."

"You think either of us is going to get any sleep?"

"Who the f— knows? But I know if I’m tired Hillary probably is."

Every time I went outside tonight someone asked to borrow my credential, so I guess I can understand the lunacy of the woman who claimed to work for Trump Tower who was in charge of letting people back in upstairs and her three-man goon squad. Trump’s people have always been officious scumbags, but now they are being officious scumbags on behalf of the next president of the United States.

It was a relief around 2:00 a.m. when I saw John Podesta take the stage across town. If Clinton had no plans of conceding tonight, it would seem that Trump had no plans of announcing victory. People in the main ballroom here are screaming "Call it, call it!" At the very least I’d like to grab some coffee.