Samantha Power threw a 2016 election-night party for the other 37 female United Nations ambassadors expecting to see Hillary Clinton elected the first female U.S. president, only for the bash to end in despair, she revealed in a new interview.
"I’ve had a lot of bad ideas in my life, but none as immortalized as this one," Power told Politico‘s Susan Glasser in a joint interview with former top Barack Obama aide Ben Rhodes.
HBO captured the party's evolution from glee to sadness as part of its new documentary from Greg Barker, "The Final Year." Rhodes and Power are two of the stars of the film's behind-the-scenes access to Obama's last year in office.
Power, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017, said she made the invitation to her fellow ambassadors fully expecting the "glass ceiling" to be shattered by Clinton. She was picked by most political experts to easily defeat Donald Trump.
"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.
Among the invitees were also feminist writer Gloria Steinem and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. So confident was Power, she said she was afraid Clinton's victory would be called too early in the night.
"As the host, I was kind of hoping it wouldn’t be quite the blowout that it was anticipated to be, because I wanted to make sure that people had a chance to interact with Gloria Steinem, and one of—" she said.
"So, your concern was that actually that the evening was going to be over early," Glasser said.
"Too soon," Power said. "I wanted to milk the soft power dividend of this moment, and instead, and HBO was there, I guess unfortunately or fortunately, to capture it all, but instead, you really see what so many people went through, which was all of that sense of promise and excitement, and frankly, a dose of complacency. And then, it slowly dawning on us that not only was this going to be much closer than anybody anticipated, but that it was not going to end well."
Power said she's haunted by the film catching her then-four-year-old daughter lying like a statue in her mother's arms as the election is called for Trump.
"I think that scene moves viewers the most because it triggers, I think, a kind of post-traumatic stress about their own election night experience, which mirrored mine," Power said.