There’s a bit of reporting in Mary Jordan’s new book on Melania Trump – out tomorrow! – that should put to rest, once and for all, the idea that Donald Trump always knew he was going to win the 2016 election.
“The election night win came as a surprise even to Trump, according to many on his campaign, and little preparation had been done for what came next. Trump had even talked about going to one of his golf courses in Scotland immediately after the election so he didn’t have to watch Hillary Clinton bask in her success. One campaign aide recalled that candidate Trump had ‘told the pilot [of his private jet], ‘Fuel up the plane.’ “
Look. There’s been ample reporting over the past few years that Trump had no clue that he might actually win – from the scramble to write a victory speech to the utter chaos of his presidential transition effort.
Jordan’s reporting adds another brick to that very tall, very beautiful wall of evidence.
The simple fact is that, all of the revisionist history aside, there was no expectation in the Trump campaign that he could win. Zero. Zilch. Nada. None.
Trump was not, in fact, some super genius playing three-dimensional chess who saw, all along, the path to victory when no one else in the political world could.
He was just doing what he always does – projecting irrational confidence and then, in retrospect, insisting that he knew he had it all along.
To be clear: Whether or not Trump had a secret plan (he didn’t) or thought he was going to win (he didn’t) doesn’t change the fact that he did win.
And while Democrats will forever note that he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million, he won the Electoral College, which is still the way we elect presidents in this country.
But let’s finally put to bed the idea that Trump was anything but stunned that he won. Anyone who claims otherwise is engaging in the sort of myth-making on which Trump has built his entire life.
The Point: Unexpected wins count the same as expected ones. But don’t get it twisted – Trump’s 2016 victory was the former, not the latter.