Election night 2016 was full of surprises. I remember the election party I attended with about 20 old friends in Houston. We all expected a Hillary Clinton win, as that was what the polls and pundits had suggested. When returns started coming in, it soon became clear that a political tsunami was in the works. A few hours later, the race was called for Donald Trump. Then Hillary Clinton made a phone call nobody knew about – until now.
A new book has just been released: Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. It chronicles the details of Mrs. Clinton’s most difficult night. First, she called Donald Trump to congratulate him on his victory. But she did not do this willingly. President Obama had called to urge her to concede, following a string of close losses in battleground states. When she did not respond immediately, Obama called John Podesta, her campaign chairman, to ask him to push Hillary to concede. Obama was clearly irritated that Mrs. Clinton had ignored several previous messages from his White House Staff to throw in the towel. She would not publicly concede until the next morning.
But it was the “other” phone call that is most interesting. After calling Mr. Trump, Clinton made her most difficult call. She called President Obama. When the president got on the phone, she spoke four most painful words – “Mr. President, I’m sorry.”
With those four words, Hillary Clinton said it all. Her staff has confirmed the call and its content. Her very brief call to Mr. Obama boiled down to this simple message. “Mr. President, the legacy of your presidency was on the line tonight, and I failed. I lost a most winnable election, and this will alter the course of history, foreign policy, domestic policy, and the Supreme Court. For that, Mr. President, I am deeply sorry.”
Say what you want about Mrs. Clinton. Whether you supported her or not, those four words – “Mr. President, I’m sorry” – say a lot about human dreams, aspirations, and disappointments.
We all have been where Mrs. Clinton sat that night – in need of making amends, offering an apology, and facing our own personal failures. The good news is, the sun still comes up the next day, God still has a plan for our lives, and we can be stronger because of our failures.
Losing is not the problem. Failure to learn from losing is.