Donald Trump already knows he's going to lose: “Think of the bunker right before Hitler killed himself"

In a candid profile in the campaign's last days, manager Kellyanne Conway dishes on how she deals with Trump

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published October 31, 2016 4:09PM (EDT)

Donald Trump   (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)
Donald Trump (Getty/Chip Somodevilla)

That a campaign manager would allow an in-depth profile in the waning days of a losing presidential election is not too surprising. But it's stunning that Donald Trump's presidential campaign manager would grant an interview with such revealing insights — that the Republican nominee is fully aware of his imminent defeat a full week ahead of the election.

In the interview conducted by New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman, who is noted for his exposés on Fox News and its former CEO Roger Ailes, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is remarkably telegraphing that Trump has given up on trying to win the election. As if Trump's pronouncements of a "rigged" election on the campaign trail weren't evidence enough, Conway told Sherman that the 70-year-old political neophyte is already talking like a man who has lost the election to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

“I got really mad at him the other day,” Conway told Sherman in a new profile published on Monday. “He said, ‘I think we’ll win, and if not, that’s okay too. And I said, ‘It’s not okay! You can’t say that! Your dry-cleaning bill is like the annual salaries of the people who came to your rallies, and they believe in you!’ ”

According to Sherman, "to hear Kellyanne Conway talk about managing her boss is to listen to a mother of four who has had ample experience with unruly toddlers."

Sherman described how Conway, frustrated by her candidate's refusal to take the advice of his third campaign manager, played to his habits to manipulate Trump into better behavior.

“A way you can communicate with him is you go on TV to communicate,” she told Sherman, explaining that she exploited Trump's consumption of cable news. Conway said that she found more success with Trump after she ditched her attempts to give him direct advice and subliminally offered her suggestions through multiple appearances a day on cable news shows — on top of her otherwise time-consuming duties as campaign manager.

“It all has to be his decision in the end,” she explained.

“It’s his campaign,” Conway said. “He’s the candidate.”

But, Conway revealed, not all of her tricks worked on the notoriously stubborn Trump.

She was never able to get Trump to stop sending off his infamous 3 a.m. missives on Twitter, so Conway revealed that she just decided to join Trump at his game and encourage more positive tweets in between.

Still, Conway's best efforts have done little to instill confidence at Trump campaign headquarters with little than a week to go before the election.

"In recent weeks, the mood at Trump Tower has veered between despair and denial — with a hit of resurgent glee when the news broke that the FBI was looking into more of Clinton’s emails," Sherman wrote.

One senior Trump adviser told Sherman, "Think of the bunker right before Hitler killed himself. Donald’s in denial. They’re all in denial.”

But according to at least one other bit of Sherman's reporting, Trump may be even more aware of his certain loss than he lets on.

“I can’t walk around," the GOP nominee told Sherman. "Not that it was easy to do before, but getting privacy back, at least a certain degree of privacy back, wouldn’t be bad,” he said.

"Trump told a donor at a recent fund-raiser that he planned to take a six-month vacation if he loses," Sherman added.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Donald Trump Election 2016 Elections 2016 Gop Kellyanne Conway Republicans Trump Campaign