Reines leaves consulting firm to protest Trump full time
Hillary Clinton’s longtime gatekeeper Philippe Reines is no longer just a freelancing critic of the Trump administration: he has quit his day job to devote himself full-time to excoriating the president and his top aides.
Reines left the consulting firm he co-founded four years ago, Beacon Global Strategies, on Sept. 5 – one week before the release of Clinton’s campaign memoir, “What Happened” – to turn full-time “resistance,” a word he says he hates.
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“It’s stand in front of the tank time,” Reines, who worked as a top Clinton adviser in the Senate and then the State Department, said in an interview about his decision to leave his firm.
Since leaving government in 2013, when Reines co-founded Beacon Global Strategies, he has remained a key member of Clinton’s innermost circle of confidantes. During last year’s campaign, he stepped in to play Trump during mock debate prep sessions opposite his old boss but remained firmly behind the scenes.
Over the past month, however, Reines has reemerged as a top surrogate on cable news talking up Clinton’s new book.
“You go through a period thinking, ‘OK, I need to accept this and move on, I can’t live in the past,’” Reines explained of the grief process he worked through after the 2016 election. “But that got harder to do, because the circumstances made it harder. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to get over it, because it’s not over.”
On Monday, Reines responded on Twitter to revelations, first reported by POLITICO, that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has sometimes used his private email account to conduct government business.
“The circumstances & security details of the private email and private domain Jared & Ivanka set up AFTER donald won must be reviewed,” Reines tweeted, one part of a five-tweet-long storm calling out the hypocrisy of the email use, given Trump’s repeated calls for Clinton to be jailed over her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
Later, Reines tweeted: “From now on I’m referring to donald as donald. Little d. Not President. Not POTUS. Not even capital D. His dishonor has forfeited the honor.”
The opening months of Trump’s presidency can feel, at times, like a re-run of an ugly election cycle that will never end. Trump campaign rallies still feature “Lock Her Up!” chants from the crowd, which the president does little to discourage. Trump still tweets about his former campaign nemesis. And the release of Clinton’s 2016 exegesis earlier this month instigated a fresh cycle of the blame game, a relitigation of how the seemingly inevitable candidate managed to lose a high-stakes election to a former reality television star with no political experience.
Reines has been helping to oversee Clinton’s book launch and tour, and said he plans to work more closely with the defeated Democratic nominee on whatever comes next. “I’ve worked with her since July 22, 2002,” said Reines. “I am always going to want to help her. She doesn’t know what’s next, I don’t know what’s next for her. Short of her opening a bakery and saying, ‘I’d love you to come make cupcakes with me,’ I would like to help her.”
A bake shop is unlikely to interest either of them. And while Clinton in her book saves most of her finger-pointing for former FBI director James Comey and what she sees as the uneven media coverage of the two general election candidates, Reines’ current obsession is Kushner. “Everyone focused on how Jared and Ivanka fail, and they focus on how they don’t try,” he said. “But that’s predicated on this notion that in their hearts they disagree. I do not think Jared Kushner disagrees with the worst of Donald Trump.”