“Common Ground” at Hamilton Apr 11 2019 Reince Priebus & Jim Messina
Photos and text By Tom Loughlin Jr
“Common Ground”, Hamilton College’s regular series of moderator facilitated
conversation/argument/ debates between well known representatives of diametrically
opposed philosophies in an atmosphere of civility reached a high point in “delivering the
goods” to student/public audience with the April 11 conversation between former Trump administration White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Obama administration Deputy Chief of Staff and campaign manager Jim Messina. Messina has participated in several campaigns outside the United States as an advisor. His clientele include Theresa May and David Cameron of England, Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto, Argentinian Maurieolo Macri, Italy’s Matteo Renzi and Spain ‘s President Mariano Rajoy.
Priebus’, prior to his service in the Trump administration, had been the longest serving chair in the history of the Republican National Committee in place 2011-2017.
Civility was maintained, animus was non-evident but the differences between the
two, vast. Priebus, animated, gesturing and with a stage presence, with Messina more reserved but not without weaponry. The event was moderated by Jackie Judd, a former ABC, NBC and NPR reporter and -vice chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine foundation.
Among tidbits from the exchange:
Messina- Echoing the Democrat mantra “Trump has not introduced us to our better angels.”
Priebus’ – Not just in America but worldwide, people are looking for the biggest middle
finger that they can find to show to the status quo. and in America, they found it in Donald
Messina : Recounting his worst day was his first day . It was then he was told by his chief of staff that the SCOTUS chief justice had called to tell them that he had made a serious error when swearing Obama in…and that Obama might NOT be president. Messina was tasked with the fix and had to tell the jurist to lie on the floor of his SUV arriving at the White House to fix the swearing in so no one would see him ..using a secret entrance and a private room in the Mansion to get the re-do deed done.
Priebus, Noting that his best day in office was his first…when president Trump said “You
want to go down with me to “the Oval’ ? (the Oval Office) Priebus had been treading the
West Wing and it was his first time there.. Surprisingly to Priebus, Trump shared his
overwhelmed impression..saying “ Wow, can you believe it?” The comment was as much on
their achievement in winning as the ambiance of the historic room.
Reince Priebus noted that his worst day was when he resigned from the Trump
administration when he felt that he had become the “Director of Stuff” in stead of the Director of Staff.
Messina, commenting on the consulting styles with advisers said that Obama would not tolerate any disruptive behavior…in the meetings, Trump’s style, per Priebus, was that to just put a bunch of Apex predators together and let them rip one another apart while he watched to get the gist of things and determine his course of action.
Priebus…in pooh poohing the idea of climate change being a winning campaign issue….” Just TRY to run on climate change. See where it gets you.”