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Joel Benenson Double Downs On Jennifer Palmieri’s Comments

On Friday, chief Clinton campaign strategist Joel Benenson appeared on CNN’s New Day to discuss the heated exchanges between Clinton and Trump staffers at Harvard on Thursday.

CNN’s Jon Berman asked Benenson if he agreed with Jennifer Palmieri’s observation that Trump won the election because Trump’s campaign provided “a platform for white supremacists.”

Benenson attempted to dodge the question, but Berman pressed him and Benenson responded: “If you look at the exit polls, John. In six key states, some of the rustbelt states North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin. Between 20 and 31 percent of the people answering in the exit polls said they believe minorities are favored in this country.”

Berman then pressed Benenson, asking if he thought some of Donald Trump’s more controversial remarks resonated with voters.

“I think it was striking a chord with some people. I do. Why were they saying it? Were they saying it just because he believes it and they were throwaway lines. He never backed away and said hey, I should not have said any of these things,” said of Donald Trump’s more controversial remarks during the campaign.

Benenson finally conceded, “I think they are part of many reasons why the campaign was won by the Trump campaign. I’m not saying it is the reason. But I’m saying when you have 20% in exit polls who say that minorities are favored in America. Which I just think is counter to every piece of data and fact that we have. Then you’re saying that there is an audience for this. If they’re receptive to it, that’s not, you know, whether it’s coincidental, but it was a reality in the campaign.”