Photo: AP

As is tradition following an election year, the top aides from each candidate’s camp met at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics for a two-day forum to discuss the campaign. This year, after a contentious, bitter and ultimately shocking election that resulted in Donald Trump’s unfortunate and distressing win, what is usually a civil discussion turned tense and ugly.

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The Washington Post reports that the Clinton camp, led by communications director Jennifer Palmieiri, was “grim-faced” as they sat across from Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. The discussion quickly turned to the shortcomings of each campaign, with Palmieri attacking Conway and the absent Stephen Bannon for running a campaign based in large part on racism.

From the Post:

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“If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am proud to have lost,” she said. “I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.”

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, fumed: “Do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform?”

“You did, Kellyanne. You did,” interjected Palmieri, who choked up at various points of the session.

Conway’s criticism for Palmieri focused on Clinton’s inability to connect with voters and her lack of an “economic message,” blaming Clinton for being unrelatable to the voters that Trump won based on lofty promises and rallies that promised a greater America without any concrete plan on how he’d achieve that goal. Palmieri herself was seemingly unable to admit any real fault of the Clinton campaign and maintained that the press treated her candidate differently than they did Trump. Of the much-talked about emails, Palmieri said, “If I made one mistake, it was legitimizing the way the press covered this storyline.”

The Boston Globe reports that Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager who was fired in June, did his due diligence by heartily defending Trump’s recent slavering Twitter missives about criminalizing flag-burning. “I think the American people agree with him that burning the flag is wrong,” he said. “‘I don’t care what the Supreme Court has said.” Of course he doesn’t care what the Supreme Court has to say, because it’s clear that the candidate he supported has a flagrant disregard for the law and will most likely do everything in his power to cripple constitutionally protected rights during his time in office. That, for the record, includes burning the American flag.

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In a manner befitting the snottiest kid on the playground rather than a grown woman, Conway also accused the Clinton camp of being “sore losers,” speaking derisively of the protests that sprung up around the country following the election.

“Guys, I can tell you are angry, but wow,” she said. “Hashtag he’s your president. How’s that? Will you ever accept the election results? Will you tell your protesters that he’s their president, too?”

Other fun topics covered included the media’s role in the election and somehow it’s no surprise that Lewandowski was the dummy that lodged the most puzzling complaint of all: he was mad that the press accurately reported on every crazy bit of rhetoric that flew like so many spit drops out of Donald Trump’s mouth.

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“This is the problem with the media. You guys took everything that Donald Trump said so literally,” Lewandowski said. “The American people didn’t. They understood it. They understood that sometimes — when you have a conversation with people, whether it’s around the dinner table or at a bar — you’re going to say things and sometimes you don’t have all the facts to back it up.”

Just sit with that for a second – the media interpreted everything that Donald Trump, a presidential candidate, said literally, but the American people understood that it was a deranged soup of hyperbole and bluster, accepted that for what it was and voted him into office thinking, “Hey, you know what, he doesn’t mean half the shit he says, probably, so I’m definitely going to vote for him.” In what rational world does that make any lick of sense?

Perhaps the most accurate description of Trump and the fresh hell we live in as a result of the election came from Jeb Bush’s former campaign manager Dave Kochel, who compared the orange fascist to Godzilla: ‘‘(Trump) touched the third rail. He touched the fourth rail. He touched the fifth rail and just kept growing,’’ he said.

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Terrifying, but also accurate. What a fucking mess.