Peter H. Salus
I consider Kellyanne Conway a gift that keeps on giving.
I admit that I’d never heard of her until 15 months ago, when she succeeded John Podesta as Donald Trump’s Campaign Manager. Since January 20, she has been Counsellor to the President. In that role she has delivered a number of rewarding acts.
On 22 January 2017, on Meet the Press, Conway used the phrase ‘alternative facts’ to defend statements made by Sean Spicer regarding the inauguration’s crowd size.
On February 2, 2017, Conway appeared in an interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews. In order to justify Trump’s immigration ban, she referenced an event allegedly perpetrated by Iraqi terrorists which she termed the “the Bowling Green massacre”. No such event ever took place. [She later said that she to say “Bowling Green terrorists”, both of whom had pleaded guilty to carrying out and supporting attacks on American soldiers in Iraq – and had been arrested in Bowling Green, KY.]
On February 9, 2017, during an appearance on Fox & Friends, Conway discussed Nordstrom’s decision to drop products supplied by Ivanka Trump’s businesses. “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would tell you”, said Conway, going on: “It’s a wonderful line. I own some of it. I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online”.] Within hours, two organizations filed formal ethics complaints against Conway for violating federal law prohibiting use of a federal position “for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise”.
(One might think this inadvertent, but trivial research shows that Kellyanne Fitzpatrick graduated Phi Beta Kappa and went on to earn a J.D. from George Washington. Her husband, George Conway, is a distinguished attorney who has argued successfully before the Supreme Court.)
On February 13, 2017, Conway claimed that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had the president’s “full confidence” Hours later, Flynn resigned. The following day, Conway claimed Flynn had offered to resign, despite the fact that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump had asked Flynn for his resignation.
On February 15, 2017, one national news show, Morning Joe banned her from future appearances. “We know for a fact that she tries to book herself on this show. I won’t do it. Because I don’t believe in fake news, or information that is not true… every time I’ve ever seen her on television, something’s askew, off or incorrect”, the show’s co-host Mika Brzezinski said. The show’s primary host Joe Scarborough said the decision to ban Conway from future appearances was based on her being “out of the loop” and “in none of the key meetings”. “She’s not briefed. She’s just saying things just to get in front of the TV to prove her relevance”, he said.
Lest this become a boring chronology, let me skip to last week, when “The ethics chiefs for former presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama have called for White House advisor Kellyanne Conway to be fired for weighing in on the Alabama Senate race.
“Ms Conway sparked controversy after she attacked Republican Alabama Senate Roy Moore’s opponent on television on Tuesday. She responded to a question about Mr Moore, who is accused of pursuing underage girls while he was in his 30s and working as an assistant district attorney in Alabama, by attacking his rival Doug Jones.” [The Independent, 23 November 2017]
The London newspaper explained: “The federal law prevents White House officials from endorsing or rallying against candidates even in media interviews.” I understand a complaint about this has been filed.
But don’t forget, dear reader: It was Kellyanne Conway defended Trump’s tweet branding North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un “short and fat,” by claiming he only insulted the dictator because Kim had “insulted him first.”
Peter H. Salus is one of our long-time contributors, and currently a resident of Canada.