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2 years ago

INTERVIEW: Yellowhammer’s Cliff Sims goes behind-the-scenes of Trump’s historic win

(Audio above: Yellowhammer Radio’s Scott Beason and Andrea Tice interview Trump advisor Cliff Sims, who is on leave of absence as Yellowhammer’s CEO.)

Americans across the country tuned into to their television sets Tuesday night and witnessed Donald Trump’s incredible upset victory. Dedicated viewers even had the chance to see Trump come out and deliver his final campaign speech in the early hours of Wednesday morning. But while many were watching their new President-elect from behind the barrier of a tv screen, few had as good a seat to witness history as Yellowhammer founder and CEO Cliff Sims.

Sims, who transformed Yellowhammer from his personal political blog into one of the most influential publications in Alabama, has been on a leave of absence from the company since September working as a top communications advisor for Trump. During his time with the campaign, Sims even hosted video news sessions on Trump’s Facebook page, which were seen by millions of users.

After the euphoria of victory, Sims called into Yellowhammer Radio this week to discuss his experiences with hosts Scott Beason and Andrea Tice. A lightly edited transcript of their conversation can be found below, and the full audio of the interview can be heard in the video above.


So I guess you probably stayed up all night on Election Night. My wife swears she saw you on TV standing beside Senator Sessions.


I was by Senator Sessions a good bit last night. The coolest thing though was standing right next to Mr. Trump and watching the returns come in and hearing all the phone conversations with people calling him. He’s kind of superstitious, though. People were calling him and saying “congratulations,” but he would cut them off and say, “Oh, we’re not there yet.” He kept saying, “We’re two strokes up with one hole to go,” even when it was clear he was about to win. It was fascinating — a really cool experience. And I think it was a vindication of everything that Mr. Trump and Senator Sessions and others have been saying for months and years now — that there are a lot of people all over the country who are so frustrated with political process that they had kind of checked out and weren’t participating. And finally they felt they had a candidate on the ticket that was worth getting out and voting for. That’s why we just saw records in voter registration, records in voter turnout in a lot of places. I don’t know what these pollsters are going to do, but they probably need to find a new line of work.


I like that Mr. Trump said that this was not all about him — that it was about a movement. I think the reason people were drawn to him was because he was saying the very things that regular Americans have been saying. I sent you a text before the election talking about the good job y’all have done up there. Trump stayed stayed very, very focused on talking about the issues and people finally said, “You know what? We’re going to give this a chance.” I can’t say enough about what he did and the job that y’all have done.


All the credit goes to him on that. It’s been ridiculous reading some of the news reports with people claiming, “Oh, the staff has taken away his Twitter account.” They were just completely making stuff up. But to your point about him making this not about himself but about this movement, I think it can really be summed up in the fact that Hillary Clinton’s slogan was “I’m with Her” and Donald Trump was all about “I’m with You, I’m with the voters and this is about us.” I thought that the tone that he struck in his victory speech was exactly what the country needed. He came out and said, “I’m ready to be the President of all Americans and let’s come together and get this country back on track.” Seventy percent of the voters in the exit poll said they thought the country was on the wrong track and they were ready for change. That’s really the storyline. People voted for a man, yes. They voted for a movement, yes. But really what they really voted for was change.

That’s what we’re seeing here in Trump Tower today — the transition team preparing to put people in place who are going to implement this change that we’ve all been so hungry for for so long.

(More after the image)

Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, Donald J. Trump, and communications advisor Cliff Sims watch returns come in on Election Night.
Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, Donald J. Trump, and communications advisor Cliff Sims watch returns come in on Election Night.

You know Cliff, I just want to come in here and say I really appreciated Trump’s acceptance speech. I thought it was really well done, I thought it was graceful. It was humble and he acknowledged it was not all about him, it was about the people and he did a great job.


A lot of these folks hire a ton of speechwriters and they just kind of read whatever is on the screen, but he has known this whole time what he has wanted to say… I think he’s already proven a lot of people wrong when they were constantly criticizing him for his temperament, saying, “Who knows what he’s going to do? He’s going to be the most divisive President in history.” It’s been pretty funny watching the media freak. But Andrea, I’m glad it came through that way because that’s really what he wanted in his heart, for people to really feel the way you did when you heard him speak.


He came across as very genuine. My question to you is, do you believe that Donald Trump plans to do what he said he was going to do?


Yeah, I mean he’s been really explicit about “Here’s what I’m going to do in the first 100 days in office, here’s what I’m going to do on the first day in office.” One of the things that’s not getting talked about a lot right now is the importance of Republicans maintaining control of the Senate. It’s a slim majority, but it’s a majority none the less, and there’s a strong majority in the House. So voters were pretty clear last night about what they want and now they have a President who is a strong leader who will work closely with Congress to pass his policy priorities.


Donald Trump has kind of broken the mold by winning states that Republicans weren’t ever supposed to ever win in again… I think there’s an opportunity here to break the stranglehold that the Democrats have had on minority populations.


How many Republicans would have gone to Detroit and delivered a speech about urban renewal mere weeks before election day and highlight things like school choice and making our communities safer? No matter what color you are, we all want a few core things. We need a job, we need to be able to put food on the table and provide for our families; we want the opportunity to give our children a better life and leave them a better country than we inherited; and we want safety and security. Mr. Trump went into these communities that both Republicans and Democrats have ignored and delivered a message that really resonated with them, and they voted for him on Election Day.

I’m about to have to run here at the Tower and jump into a meeting but I wanted to be sure to give you guys a call. I miss the whole Yellowhammer family and obviously appreciate Alabama’s support for the campaign. Senator Sessions was here a few minutes ago and said to make sure to tell everybody down there how much he appreciates Alabama’s support and we couldn’t be prouder to be representing Alabama up here.


Hey Cliff, I’m not asking you but a caller just called in and asked what position you were taking with the Trump administration?


I look forward to being back in Alabama.

40 mins ago

Alabama prep star Maori Davenport drops suit against AHSAA

An Alabama high school basketball star who had been ruled ineligible dropped a lawsuit against the Alabama High School Athletic Association shortly after her senior season ended.

Pike County Circuit Judge Sonny Reagan dismissed the suit Wednesday at the request of Maori Davenport’s mother, Tara.


The Charles Henderson star had sued the AHSAA and director Steve Savarese after she was ruled ineligible for accepting a payment from USA Basketball.

She played for Team USA last summer and received an $857.20 stipend, which was repaid.

The judge ordered Davenport’s temporary reinstatement and the case was twice delayed, meaning the Rutgers signee was able to play the season’s final five weeks.

Charles Henderson was eliminated Wednesday at the Class 5A state regional.

Jim Williams, an attorney representing the AHSAA, says his side did not have a chance to file an objection and “we did not consent to the dismissal.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)


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1 hour ago

7 Things: Mueller probe could be over, Byrne officially the first Republican in 2020 U.S. Senate race, Alabama law forces government to give newspapers money and more …

7. Hate crime hoaxer has been arrested and charged with “filing a false police report

— Reports out of Chicago don’t look good for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett as a grand jury has returned a felony indictment for what the Cook County district attorney believes was a fabricated hate crime to garner publicity. This is not the first time Smollett lied to the police. He pleaded no contest to providing false information to law enforcement after giving police a fake name in a 2017 DUI arrest.

6. Obama era regulations close a power plant; Alabama Power says employees will get new jobs


— Alabama Power Company announced the Gorgas Steam Plant in Walker County will shut down, because of mandates put in place by President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on April 15. Alabama Power has said all Plant Gorgas employees will keep their jobs and be transferred to other facilities. Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-4) called this an obvious outcome of the “War on Coal.” He stated, “This is just another example of the ‘War on Coal’ that was prevalent during the Obama Administration and how it deeply impacts rural communities with little concern for those who are hurt.”

5. The State Department says ISIS bride can’t come home to Alabama

— A former Hoover resident and thrice married ISIS bride has been informed that the United States would not welcome her back to the United States. President Donald Trump pushed for that decision and tweeted, “I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it clear she won’t be welcomed. “Ms. [Muthana] is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the U.S. She does not have any legal basis, no valid passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the U.S.,” Pompeo said.

4. White nationalist arrested with an arsenal and a hit list of Democrat politicians and journalists

— Christopher Paul Hasson, a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant, called for “focused violence” and was planning a mass terrorist attack to kill “almost every last person on earth” and “establish a white homeland.” His targets included MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Sen. Dick Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). He also had 15 firearms and 1,000 rounds of ammunition. In court filings, the government said bluntly, “The defendant is a domestic terrorist.”

3. Alabama state law requires advertising in the local newspaper for various state and local entities, this means revenue for papers like the Democrat-Reporter

— A local newspaper embroiled in a racism controversy has benefitted for years from an Alabama law that predates the Internet and guarantees revenue for local newspapers. The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) alone spent over $4,000 last year alone. This is only one agency of the state government and one small-town newspaper. It doesn’t factor in other government entities in the area that are required to do business with the newspaper. These laws represent millions of dollars for newspapers guaranteed by archaic state law.

2. It’s official: Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) is running for United State Senate

— Byrne announced his run at a Wintzell’s seafood restaurant in Mobile. Byrne referred to his potential future opponent U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) by criticizing his “radical policies.” Byrne also laid out the fight ahead, saying, “The fight for America’s future is too important to sit on the sidelines. I am running for the United States Senate to defend the values important to Alabama.” Jones responded to the news by hammering Byrne. “Given the results of his losing bid for Governor in 2010, in which he did not even win the Republican nomination, it’s hard to see why they would nominate a career politician like Bradley Byrne now,” Jones stated.

1. After almost two years, the Robert Mueller probe is coming to an end

— Attorney General Bill Barr could be ready to announce the end of FBI special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and could submit a final report to Congress soon as well. These are the most obvious indications that the investigation is almost over. While it is unclear how much of the report will be made public, Barr has made it clear he plans to be “transparent” with Congress and the American people.

15 hours ago

Byrne first to officially declare run vs. Doug Jones – ‘Future is too important to sit on the sidelines’

Just down the street from where he grew up, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) announced Wednesday evening his candidacy for the United States Senate while surrounded by family, friends and supporters gathered at Wintzell’s Oyster House in beautiful downtown Mobile.

Byrne became the first candidate to officially announce a run against the incumbent from Mountain Brook, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL). In doing so, Byrne made clear his campaign will focus on his record as a fighter for Alabama’s values, drawing a clear and direct contrast between his traditional Yellowhammer State roots and the “radical policies” being pushed by Jones’ Democratic Party.

In his announcement speech, Byrne emphasized, “The fight for America’s future is too important to sit on the sidelines. I am running for the United States Senate to defend the values important to Alabama.”


The congressman spoke about the “disconnect” between hardworking, everyday Alabamians and people stuck in the bubble of Washington, D.C.

Byrne urged attendees, “Look in Washington and tell me you don’t see people that have a vision that’s fundamentally at odds with what America is.”

“We need a Senator who will fight with President Trump to defend the Constitution, build the wall, stand up for the unborn, push for lower taxes, make health care more affordable and protect the Second Amendment,” he outlined. “I will fight every day to bring Alabama’s conservative values to Washington.”

Answering questions from reporters following the announcement, Byrne decried the Democratic Party’s embrace of socialism and “[killing] babies as they’re delivered.”

He also warned voters that Democrats should be expected to try and interfere in the Republican primary through “fake news” and  manipulative social media efforts. This comes in the wake of revelations that “Project Birmingham” was orchestrated to aid Jones’ general election candidacy in 2017.

Byrne, a labor-employment attorney by trade, is the former chancellor of the state’s community college system and one-term member of the state senate. He has served southwest Alabama in Congress since January 2014.

The Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Alabama will be held March 3, 2020, with the general election to follow in November.

You can watch Byrne’s announcement speech and hear him answer questions from reporters afterwards here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

16 hours ago

Watch live: Bradley Byrne announces U.S. Senate run against Doug Jones

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) is set to announce his candidacy for the United States Senate seat held by Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) live at the Wintzell’s Oyster House in downtown Mobile.

Watch live below:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

17 hours ago

Heavy rains swamping Deep South

Heavy rains are causing problems in parts of the Deep South.

Police in Huntsville, Alabama, say a half-dozen roads are blocked by downed trees or utility poles plus water from flash floods.


Flood watches and warnings cover the northern parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia and nearly all of Tennessee is at risk for floods.

Several school systems are delaying classes or closing.

The weather service is predicting as much as eight inches of rain in spots through Saturday, and freezing rain and sleet are possible in western South Carolina.

Forecasters say moisture from the Gulf is mixing with weather systems moving eastward in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.

As much as one inch of rain an hour is possible, and the weather service says some areas could get more.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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