Tuesday, December 6, 2022

In new book, Kellyanne Conway takes aim at many targets — except Trump


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In 2015, Kellyanne Conway discovered herself en route to choose up her children at elementary faculty, concurrently pushing again in opposition to an try by Michael Cohen — then Donald Trump’s private legal professional and fixer — to rig the annual Conservative Political Action Conference’s buzzy straw ballot, which her agency was operating, in Trump’s favor.

“ ‘Mr. Trump’ needed to come in first in the PAC straw poll,” Conway recounted that Cohen informed her in a cellphone name. “He repeated himself. Mr. Trump needed to come in first.”

Four years later, firmly ensconced within the White House as senior counselor to Trump as president, Conway mentioned she discovered herself once more dealing with the surreal, when Trump’s daughter Ivanka handed her a Post-it be aware with “the names of two local doctors who specialized in couples therapy.”

The marriage between Conway and her husband had erupted into public view when George T. Conway III started attacking Trump on Twitter, and Conway mentioned Ivanka was responding to her personal openness about looking for skilled help.

“I noticed she had avoided putting that in a text or an email. I appreciated the information and her thoughtfulness and wanted to pursue it,” Conway recalled. “After I showed George the names, he rejected one and said a halfhearted ‘okay’ to the other while looking at his phone. We never went.”

These scenes and others are a part of Conway’s practically 500-page new memoir, “Here’s the Deal,” which The Washington Post obtained prematurely of its Tuesday publication.

Part private chronicle and half political journey, Conway’s e-book is full of the types of barbed one-liners and bon mots that she disbursed on cable information on Trump’s behalf, turning into — relying on one’s perspective — more and more well-known or notorious.

Unlike many different Trump-focused tomes within the post-presidency period, Conway has not got down to pen a scathing tell-all, during which she distances herself from the president or administration she as soon as served.

Her memoir is peppered with references to “Trump Derangement Syndrome” — a time period she makes use of to seek advice from the media and the political left, who she says have been unable to just accept the truth that Trump vanquished Hillary Clinton in 2016. Conway can be among the many comparatively small group of staffers who managed to depart the White House nonetheless in Trump’s internal circle.

Her e-book walks an analogous line, providing what she views as a candid evaluation of a few of her colleagues within the White House and the media — each optimistic and damaging — however by no means skewering Trump himself.

Conway reserves a few of her harshest criticism for Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband and a Trump senior adviser, whom she describes as “shrewd and calculating”; “a man of knowing nods, quizzical looks, and sidebar inquiries”; and somebody who, because the president’s son-in-law, knew that “no matter how disastrous a personnel change or legislative attempt may be, he was unlikely to be held accountable for it.”

“There was no subject he considered beyond his expertise. Criminal justice reform. Middle East peace. The southern and northern borders. Veterans and opioids. Big Tech and small business,” she writes. “If Martian attacks had come across the radar, he would have happily added them to his ever-bulging portfolio. He’d have made sure you knew he’d exiled the Martians to Uranus and insisted he did not care who got credit for it. He misread the Constitution in one crucial respect, thinking that all power not given to the federal government was reserved to him.”

As an instance of what she calls Kushner’s “schemes and dreams,” she later within the e-book recounts a scuttled immigration rollout plan during which Kushner advised Trump “go to Ellis Island, where he’d stand at the foot of the Statue of Liberty to lead a naturalization ceremony.”

Conway says that her pressure with Kushner got here, partly, as a result of he accused her of leaking to the media as a approach to undermine her credibility with Trump — a cost she denies.

A Kushner ally mentioned his portfolio included a few of the administration’s largest successes: a felony justice reform invoice, the USMCA commerce deal, the Abraham Accords within the Middle East and the Operation Warp Speed coronavirus vaccine effort.

Conway additionally takes fleeting aim at Paul Manafort, the short-lived chair of Trump’s 2016 presidential marketing campaign. Manafort, she writes, “literally fell asleep during my PowerPoint on how to close the gender gap with Hillary. (He must have been on Ukraine time.).”

And Conway describes Reince Priebus, the previous chair of the Republican National Committee who served as Trump’s first chief of workers, as “thoroughly conservative but not remotely MAGA,” a reference to Trump’s Make America Great Again marketing campaign slogan.

Conway depicts Priebus as essentially not understanding the Trump motion; when Conway pressed a skeptical Priebus to permit a variety of administration officers to deal with CPAC, the annual conservative gathering, he informed her, “That’s because you love the crazies, Kellyanne, and they love you,” she writes.

Priebus had spoken at CPAC nearly yearly since turning into RNC chair, together with in 2017, when he and Bannon addressed the gathering collectively. Priebus declined to remark.

She additionally pulls no punches in opposition to a lot of the Trump White House’s staff of coronavirus specialists — notably Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — whom she depicts as gradual to grasp the magnitude of the virus in its early days, in addition to donning masks in public however not all the time in non-public.

“No masks was standard fare in the White House Situation Room, where Dr. Fauci was more likely to wear ‘Dr. Fauci’ socks than a mask,” she writes. “Then, like magic, when D. Myles Cullen, the vice president’s photographer, came into the room, masks would suddenly appear.”

Fauci didn’t reply to a request for remark.

The e-book additionally affords a extra private aspect of Conway, in addition to her relationship with Trump. She writes of rising up in an Italian Catholic feminine family, after her father left, when she was 3, with out offering little one help or alimony.

“I’d be raised by strong women,” she writes, explaining her response when Kushner, Priebus and Stephen Ok. Bannon, a former prime Trump adviser, supplied a cold reception upon studying Trump had requested her to affix his administration as counselor to the president. “For as long as I could remember, I’d been manhandling jealous little boys.”

Later within the e-book — in a piece on Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s contentious affirmation hearings, and with out delving into the specifics — Conway additionally shares that, “unbeknownst to the public,” she was “a victim of sexual assault.”

Trump has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by greater than a dozen ladies. During his 2016 marketing campaign, an “Access Hollywood” video emerged of him boasting about groping ladies in opposition to their will.

Conway, nonetheless, depicts Trump as a feminist who repeatedly supported and promoted her, permitting her to make historical past as the primary lady to handle a successful presidential marketing campaign.

“Donald Trump had elevated and empowered me to the top of his campaign, helping me crack glass ceilings that had never even been dinged before,” she writes, including that “angry feminists” ought to “have at least once in their lives a ‘girl boss’ as generous, respectful, engaging, and empowering as Donald Trump was to me and my other female colleagues.”

Themes of household and motherhood additionally run via the e-book, with Conway writing about arising as a girl in a male-dominated trade and — with chapters like “Cheerful Chaos,” “Kid Power” and “Mom Guilt” — each the thrill and challenges of being a working mother or father and a working mother, specifically.

Nevertheless, Conway manages to ascend to the White House with Trump. And within the spring of 2020, Conway recollects sitting within the Oval Office with Trump, who muses that with out Twitter, he wouldn’t have been elected: “True enough, but as I reminded him, with respect to social media, ‘Make sure it doesn’t get you unelected.’ ”

Later, after he had misplaced his reelection bid, Conway observes, “Trump was more shocked to lose in 2020, I think, than he was to win in 2016.”

In the waning days of his presidency, Conway additionally writes that, throughout a dialogue with Trump on pardons and clemency, he turned to her and requested, “Do you want one?”

“Do you know something I don’t?” Kellyanne requested Trump, she writes. “Why would I need a pardon?”

“Because they go after everyone, honey. It doesn’t matter,” Trump replied, in accordance the e-book.

“I politely declined,” she concludes.

Some of the rawest materials in her e-book offers together with her marriage, which turned a supply of inside-the-Beltway fascination — and media protection — as George Conway ramped up his Twitter assaults on his spouse’s boss.

Kellyanne Conway devotes parts early in her e-book to her husband’s romantic courtship of her, in addition to his fulsome help of her taking over the function of Trump’s marketing campaign supervisor and even of Trump himself. Which made her all of the extra confused, she says, when he started criticizing Trump publicly.

“For the first time since George and I had gotten serious, I was looking at the possibility that the man who had always had my back might one day stab me in it,” she writes.

As George’s tweeting ramps up, Conway writes that she “didn’t want to be stuck in a cable news segment in the master bedroom,” and the rising actuality that she had “two men” in her life.

“One was my husband. One was my boss, who happened to be president of the United States,” she writes. “One of those men was defending me. And it wasn’t George Conway. It was Donald Trump.”

In the Afterword, Conway describes vying with Twitter for her husband’s time and a focus and asks, “And why would I even try?” she wrote, equating Twitter with one other lady. “She has no personality and she’s not even hot.”

She ends the e-book on an optimistic be aware — except, maybe, for her marriage.

“Democracy will survive. America will survive,” she writes. “George and I may not survive.”

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