Last November, Hillary Clinton failed to become America’s first female president. Instead, Kellyanne Conway became the first female to manage a successful presidential campaign. Many will never forgive her.
Attacks on Conway have centered on the notion that, in the words of Mika Brzezinski, she “shill[ed] for Trump in extensive fashion.” But that’s the job of anyone who represents a political candidate.
The real beef is with Donald Trump, whom folks like Mika Brzezinski deemed an unacceptable candidate. The fact that they strongly preferred pro-Clinton talking points to pro-Trump ones, coupled with the fact that a female was working so effectively against Clinton, was (and remains) the source of the animosity.
That animosity boiled to the surface again when Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough claimed that that Conway secretly hates Donald Trump and (according to Brzezinski) is only helping him for the money. Conway responded this way:
The hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe have become virulent critics of the President and those close to him. Ignoring insults and insinuations is a valuable skill. But when sentiments are attributed to me that are not true, it is necessary to respond.
My beliefs, commitments and loyalties are plain to see.
The notion that I am serving for “the money” or a “paycheck” is absurd. As campaign manager, I made a fraction of what other consultants have made on unsuccessful presidential campaigns. Then I walked away from dozens of opportunities for millions of dollars, and instead walked into the White House. I would do it again.
It is a privilege to assist President Trump in the White House, just as it was during the campaign. I know him, I respect him, I believe in him, and I am confident in his capacity to be a transformative and successful President.
Conway did not deny Brzezinski’s allegation that she once said she felt like she needed a shower after defending Trump during the campaign. It’s possible that Conway said something like this after a discussion of, say, Trump’s boast about grabbing women’s genitals. But to infer from this that Conway hates Trump and only works for him for the money is ludicrous.
If Conway hated Trump, it’s hard to believe she would accept a job at the White House. And she certainly wouldn’t do so for the money. As she says, taking that job will cost her millions of dollars.
Scarborough claimed that Conway said she viewed working for the campaign as a summer vacation. But by signing on to work at the White House, she demonstrated that her association with Team Trump is anything but a lark.
Clearly, Kellyanne Conway doesn’t hate Donald Trump. Clearly, she isn’t in it for the money.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post decided to take some shots at Kellyanne’s husband, George Conway, an extraordinarily accomplished litigator. The Post’s Bruce Terris chose to focus on George Conway’s role in Bill Clinton’s legal difficulties — the ones that centered on Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky. Terris airs unsubstantiated claims of misconduct by Conway, while glossing over Clinton’s misconduct, including having sex with a young White House intern and lying under oath.
If journalists really wanted to write something insightful about the Conways, they might check out the blog they worked on together in the mid-2000s. It appeared on NRO and was called “Reconcilable Differences.” I read it regularly.
From their blog it was clear that (1) the Conways are super-smart, (2) George Conway was no fan of President George W. Bush, and (3) he was a fierce critic of the Iraq war. These observations are consistent with my handful of interactions with Kellyanne and my one interaction with George during this period.
Donald Trump, also no fan of Bush and or the Iraq war (though he favored the invasion before it occurred), reportedly has chosen George Conway to run the Civil Division at the Justice Department. The pick will be controversial, of course, but I think Conway is an excellent choice.