John Podesta, former chairman of Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign, said he feels a great burden “every day” knowing that the Democrats are ultimately responsible for the election of Donald Trump.
“We bear responsibility and it’s a great burden and I feel it every day,” Mr. Podesta told The Global Politico in an interview published Monday. “I mean, we lost this election; we won the popular vote by 3 million votes, but we lost the Electoral College and lost the election to Donald Trump. So, we have a burden of his having the keys to the White House, and you know, codes to the nuclear football.”
However, Mr. Podesta, whose 60,000 hacked emails were published by WikiLeaks one month before the election, agreed with Mrs. Clinton’s assertions that former FBI Director James B. Comey’s reopening of the closed probe of her private email server right before the election likely cost her the presidency.
“We had a lead, and that lead really substantially narrowed after Comey’s letter,” Mr. Podesta said.
Mrs. Clinton made similar comments earlier this month, lamenting that she was “on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks” scared off her supporters.
Mr. Podesta also criticized President Trump, saying the biggest problem in the administration so far appeared to be a lack of discipline.
“The problem in the Trump White House is they have no one who really stands up to him,” he told Politico. “He’s impetuous, he’s impulsive, he fires things off and if anything, they enable him rather than trying to contain what are moves that in any other context would seem, you know, absolutely crazy. … If they’re going to try to right this place and be able to be effective, I think they need a much stronger team who can resist his impulses and tell him that he’s wrong.”
Unlike some Democrats, Mr. Podesta didn’t push the idea of impeachment against Mr. Trump, saying the odds of getting congressional Republicans to abandon the president would be unlikely.
“I think they have concluded that their only chance of getting, you know, tax reform or repealing Obamacare, is to stick with Trump,” he said of Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, Politico reported. “And they’ll take the consequences. But I think they’re empowering him in their decision to Velcro their own political fate to his, and it could mean that in the midterm elections, they pay a healthy price for that.”