Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook: Obama did not have to ask Clinton to concede

Story highlights

  • Robby Mook said Hillary Clinton's speech was always planned the morning after the election
  • Donald Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway wants the election results accepted

(CNN)Hillary Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook disputed a report that said President Barack Obama had to encourage the former secretary of state to concede to Donald Trump on Election Night, saying she had already made up her mind before talking to the President.

"She made that decision on her own before she spoke to the President," Mook told CNN's Jake Tapper during a special edition of CNN's "State of the Union," filmed at Harvard University's Institute of Politics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The event, "War Stories: Inside Campaign 2016," also included Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and was the first time that the two managers appeared together alone since the presidential campaign.
"And she made it because she believed and she had said during the campaign that it is important to our democracy that whoever wins, that their opponent concede the election and be supportive of them becoming President-elect and so she acted in good faith with that."
A forthcoming book on the Clinton's defeat by The Hill reporter Amie Parnes and Roll Call columnist Jonathan Allen will say that Clinton was not ready to concede until Obama advised her to do so while Clinton, her family and top aides continued to watch results trickle in from key Rust Belt states. Mook said that reporting is not true, nor was reporting that Clinton's concession speech the next day was delayed because she could not accept defeat.
"We wanted to give our people time to show up and be there and get through security and so on so it's not as if that speech was delayed," he said.
Conway said she and Mook put a plan in place before Election Night on how the concession would go.
"I looked down at my phone and it said Huma Abedin. I said 'Oh my gosh,' and I handed it to Donald Trump and -- and he's absolutely right," Conway said. "Secretary Clinton was gracious ... she congratulated Donald Trump and she also conceded to him."
"And that's an important point to make here because now you have people participating in a recount," she added, an apparent reference to Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein who's pursuing recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and for which the Clinton campaign has sent lawyers to observe.
Because Clinton conceded on her own will that night, Conway said her supporters should move on.
"I'd like to pose the question to her supporters: Are you going to accept the election results? Because hashtag, he's your president too," she said.