Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Expectation…and then Elation

Yisroel Besser, The Midtown Hilton, NY

Live Countdown from Trump HQ

Thursday, November 10, 2016


President-elect Donald Trump thanks RNC Chairman Reince Priebus during his victory speech, November 9th, 2016

T he streets around Donald J. Trump’s election-night headquarters at Manhattan’s Midtown Hilton are crackling with excitement. Inside, thousands of supporters have gathered to cheer on their hero. Just miles away, at the Javits Center, Hillary Clinton’s supporters huddle in expectation. Tonight, these might be the most consequential few miles in all the world.

I’m not the only one who looks a bit bewildered at Trump HQ: the campaign-staff members are young and still raw. The top Trump staffers, on the other hand, are skilled and practiced. As a gaggle of cameramen follow them, they deliver their lines with bluster and confidence, predicting their candidate’s win.

Behind them, however, massive screens rain down numbers and graphs like confetti: a record turnout, unprecedented Hispanic involvement. Another worry: There is excitement in the Hillary camp, the major networks say. The Trump faithful remain undaunted, doubling down; there are millions who haven’t yet voted, they insist, and plenty of time still left. It’s barely seven o’clock.

It’s being billed as a victory party and the Wi-Fi code is DJT4thewin. But I’ll be honest: during the slow first few hours, I take advantage of the quiet to write a magazine feature about Trump’s impending loss.

It’s hard to pinpoint a particular moment when the winds begin to change, but in hindsight I’d say it was when the faces on the screen at the Javits Center started to show alarm, a bit of human-like surprise. Florida, the talking heads keep saying, is still neck and neck. If he holds on, he has a path.

“Build a wall,” calls out someone on the floor, but he’s quickly shushed. The mood here isn’t stadium rally but upscale dinner, well-heeled friends and associates of the candidate on hand. There are many, many young people, along with a few of the “deplorables,” the bikers and unemployed steel-workers who were the target of Clinton’s rhetoric during the bitter campaign. There is a sense that something historic and very significant is happening. I listen to a small group in conversation.


Lou Rinaldi of Westchester shows me his phone, a picture of him and Donald Trump playing golf two weeks ago. “He’s an old friend of mine, and we often golf. This time, he looked at me and said, ‘You know I’m going to win. The polls know nothing. I see the people. I love this country and I want to help them.’ ” Rinaldi, a gray-haired Italian, pauses. “If you know Donald Trump, you know to take him seriously. He’s got it.”

I catch up with David Friedman, the Woodmere lawyer who’s been advising Trump on Israel issues for the last few months. Friedman hasn’t been Trump’s lawyer in years.

“It was a business relationship,” he tells me, “but it became a friendship, and we chatted often — more often than not about Israel and Jewish issues. He’s super bright and likes to gather opinions. What can I tell you, I feel like I found a new life… I’m thrilled to have been able to play a role in crafting the [Republican] platform, and I’d be honored to continue to serve with him.”

Jason Greenblatt, chief counsel of the Trump Organization and another confidant, especially on Israel issues, shares the excitement. “If he gets in, then there’s so much good he could do. I think she would be bad for Israel, and he would be a positive force.”

As the night goes on, cheers rise — at first cautious, then more exuberant. Each state’s results bring a fresh round of applause. His chief staffers are giving interviews, not discussing victory but reiterating the same point: whatever happens, he was proven right. The people liked his message. There is a forgotten America for whom he speaks. The pollsters know nothing. A young man grabs his friend and says, “Oh my, we’re moving to DC!” I delete my first piece and start to write a new one.

Related Stories

Clock Ticking On Kosel Controversy

Sarah Pardes

Supreme Court sets late-November date for solution

The Outsider Steps In

Binyamin Rose

All along, the skeptics vastly outnumbered the believers, but when Donald Trump declared, “We’re gon...

Optimistic to the Last


The Glass Ceiling That Didn’t Break

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"