Media: Meet Donald Trump’s New Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway

Donald Trump’s new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has long been a fixture in right-wing media and has a history of inflammatory statements, including claiming that “revulsion towards men” is “part and parcel of the feminist movement,” asserting that people “don’t want their kids looking at a cartoon with a bunch of lesbians,” and using false statistics on live television to claim sex-selection abortion is pervasive in the United States.

Trump Campaign Promotes Kellyanne Conway To Campaign Manager

WSJ: The Trump Campaign “Is Promoting Kellyanne Conway, A Veteran GOP Pollster And Strategist, To Become Campaign Manager.” On August 17, The Wall Street Journal reported that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign “is promoting Kellyanne Conway, a veteran GOP pollster and strategist, to become campaign manager.” The Journal noted that “Ms. Conway recently joined the Trump campaign after working for a super PAC that supported Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, but Mr. Trump wanted to promote her and liked the idea of elevating a woman as his campaign manager,” according to an aide. [The Wall Street Journal, 8/17/16]

Conway Has A History Of Contentious Statements

Conway: Homosexuality Is A “Corrupting” Influence, People “Don’t Want Their Kids Looking At A Cartoon With A Bunch Of Lesbian Mothers.” After a 2005 episode of PBS’ Postcards from Buster featured a lesbian couple, Kellyanne Conway expressed outrage, asserting that it’s not an issue of “right versus left, but right versus wrong” and adding that people “don’t want their kids looking at a cartoon with a bunch of lesbian mothers.” Conway then said “regular Americans are standing up and saying … ‘I try to protect my kids from outside, external influences corrupting their minds and their bodies.’” [Media Matters, 2/17/05]

Conway: “Political Correctness” Could Lead To “Two Planes Crashing In The Sky.” Conway argued in 2007 that “political correctness has made us appoint” people to positions they don’t deserve and could lead to “two air traffic controllers who don’t speak great English” and “two planes crashing in the sky.” Conway claimed “that’s not a dramatic example. That’s what happens with slippery slopes.” From the November 19, 2007, edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

LAURA INGRAHAM: Here's a question I have for you. What stops, Kellyanne Fitzpatrick [Conway], a lawsuit, an EEOC lawsuit against, you know, public schools?


INGRAHAM: You know, public schools who demand that kids learn English. I mean, that's discriminatory. Why should they learn English?

CONWAY: There's nothing at the moment. And in fact, what starts out as maybe the person doesn't speak English, getting -- putting mayonnaise instead of mustard as you requested on your sandwich is one day going to blossom into two air traffic controllers who don't speak great English because political correctness has made us appoint them to those positions. They're going to have two planes crashing in the sky. And that's not a dramatic example. That's what happens with slippery slopes.

By the way, English empowers employees. This is not just to protect you and me. This is to protect them. Don't you want this person, Tammy [Fox-Isicoff, panelist and immigration lawyer], to understand “Building on fire, get out”? It's to protect them as well. [Media Matters, 11/20/07]

Conway Advised Former Senatorial Candidate Todd Akin To Weather Criticism Over “Legitimate Rape” Comments Just Like Infamous Waco Cult Leader Withstood A Standoff With The ATF. In comments made to Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, Conway said that Republicans should support 2012 Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri, Todd Akin, through the backlash over his “legitimate rape” comments. Conway suggested Akin should weather the attacks against him like Waco compound cult leader David Koresh, who engaged in a standoff with the ATF that led to over eighty deaths:

TONY PERKINS: The distance between them is narrowing, Todd Akin has bounced back up, and the evidence of that is pretty clear because now you see other Republicans who abandoned him are now taking a second look at the race and realizing just how important this seat is.

KELLYANNE CONWAY: They are and they’re following your lead Tony. You saw former speaker Gingrich there on Todd’s behalf at a fundraiser on Monday, saying it’s just “conventional idiocy” that’s preventing people from backing Todd, and he predicts that come mid-October everyone will be following yours and his lead back to Missouri, with their money. Of course, former senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Senator Jim DeMint came out just yesterday to support Todd. I believe that the establishment will have to look at this race and they will have to hold their nose because the first days—and I’ve expressed this to Todd as my client for a while now, I’ve expressed it to him directly—the first day or two where it was like the Waco with David Koresh situation where they’re trying to smoke him out with the SWAT teams and the helicopters and the bad Nancy Sinatra records. Then here comes day two and you realize the guy’s not coming out of the bunker. Listen, Todd has shown his principle to the voters. [Right Wing Watch, 9/28/16]

Conway: “Revulsion Towards Men” Is “Part And Parcel Of The Feminist Movement.” In a 2011 address to the conservative Clare Booth Luce Foundation and the Heritage Foundation, Conway argued that “revulsion towards men in your life” is “part and parcel of the feminist movement.” Conway also characterized feminism as “doom and gloom” and argued, “If women want to be taken seriously in the workforce, looking feminine is a good place to start.” [Jezebel, 7/1/16]

Conway Falsely Claimed That “Baby Girls [Are] Being Killed Just Because They’re Girls” In The United States. Conway falsely claimed that “little baby girls [are] being killed just because they’re girls in this country,” but was quickly fact-checked by CNN host Anderson Cooper who replied, “statistically, there’s not really much evidence that that is actually occurring in the United States.” Cooper followed up after a break, quoting a Guttmacher Institute report that debunked Conway’s claim. From the August 21, 2012 edition of CNN’s AC360:

ANDERSON COOPER (HOST): Kellyanne, [Todd] Akin has run shoestring campaigns before. Right now it seems like there’s only two groups who want Akin to stay in this race, Akin himself, I guess and his family and some supporters, and his Democratic opponent, Claire McCaskill. That pretty much sends a loud and clear message to him. Do you think he’s going to get that message?

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, the deadline passed today, he basically has until September 25 to plead his case to a judge and take himself off the ballot. But, I’ll just repeat what Congressman Akin said today in the press, which is where I read it, that he’s going to stay in the race. On this broader point of the GOP platform, that’s been in the platform -- that’s been in the plank of the platform for as long as I can remember. And what Paul [Begala] is saying that it doesn’t really reflect what most Americans think, we all know that polling has been showing many people in this country want restrictions on abortion, and I think we need to talk about the extremes on the left as well. They got some pressure, The Washington Post reported on August 10, that there are Democrats who are going to the convention in Charlotte who want their plank expanded. They feel it is too draconian, it doesn’t allow for partial birth abortion bans, it doesn’t ban sex-selection, you’ve got all these little baby girls being killed just because they’re girls in this country--

COOPER: Wait, wait, excuse me, where is that happening?

CONWAY: Excuse me?

COOPER: You said we have all these baby girls being killed in this country because -- on sex-selections on abortions, where is the evidence on that?

CONWAY: The Guttmacher Institute, which is the research arm of Planned Parenthood, has data on sex-selective abortions. And actually Congress -- the House just passed a bill to ban that. I’m not sure it ever went to the Senate, and I’m sure President Obama would veto it if was put on his desk --

COOPER: But statistically, there’s not really much evidence that that is actually occurring in the United States. Among some immigrant groups in small numbers, it may be occurring, but in no statistical measure is it significant.

CONWAY: Well we should look at the Guttmacher Institute statistics to really illuminate us on that. But it does -- it does occur because there's so much science now, people can, they can know the gender of their baby and they make their choices accordingly.

COOPER: Right, it occurs overseas a lot, but again, I don’t think the evidence is here in the United States.


COOPER: Before the break, Kellyanne, you mentioned the Guttmacher Institute information on sex-selective abortion in the United States. Here’s what they actually say in a May 30 press release, titled “Sex-Selective Abortion Bans -- A Disingenuous New Strategy to Limit Women’s Access to Abortion.” The study acknowledges the practice does go on overseas, as we mentioned, and perhaps in certain Asian-American communities in the United States in small numbers, but quote, “In the United States, meanwhile, there is limited data indicating that sex-selective abortion may be occurring in some Asian communities, although the U.S. sex ratio, at 1.05 males for every female, is squarely within biologically normal parameters.” [CNN, AC360, 8/21/12]

Conway Equated Referencing Someone’s Sexual Orientation To Saying “Your Daughter Is A Slut.” While addressing Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 debate reference to the fact that Dick Cheney’s daughter, Mary, is a lesbian, Conway compared being a lesbian to being a slut, stating that with his comments Kerry was trying to get “someone to say, ‘your daughter is a slut.’” From the October 16, 2004, edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday:

KELLYANNE CONWAY: All he [Kerry] has to do, Mike, is say “I'm sorry,” and he won't say it.

MIKE GALLAGHER (HOST): Robert, right, would you agree with that? It's a distraction that the Kerry campaign would've preferred not to have to deal with.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN: It's George [W.] Bush and Dick Cheney who keep making this an issue now, after the debate. They keep raising it in sound bite after sound bite.

CONWAY: John Kerry wants someone to say, “Your daughter is a slut,” or “We want you to open up the divorce records.”

ZIMMERMAN: Oh, my goodness.

CONWAY: Exactly. Doesn't that shock you?

ZIMMERMAN: How can you compare the issue of being a gay person to being a slut?

CONWAY: It's someone's sexuality, it's off limits, and you guys made it that way, just as we don't want to talk about it. [Media Matters, 10/20/04]

Conway: Hillary Clinton “Wasn’t Popular Until Her Husband Treated Her Like A Doormat.” When speculating about whether Hillary Clinton would campaign for a Senate seat in 2004, Conway stated, “people still feel very sorry for” Clinton, adding that she “invokes pity and sympathy.” Conway concluded that Clinton “wasn’t popular until her husband treated her like a doormat and then she became popular.” [CNN, Crossfire, accessed via Nexis, 12/30/02]

Conway: “Hillary Clinton Could Not Stand Up To A Cheating Husband, So How In The World Would She Stand Up To North Korea And Some Of Our Other Enemies?” According to USA Today, Conway appeared on MSNBC in April 2005 and “offered a possible preview of 2008 attack rhetoric,” saying “The fact is that Hillary Clinton could not stand up to a cheating husband, so how in the world would she stand up to North Korea and some of our other enemies around the globe?" From USA Today’s January, 2007 article:

Already The New York Times and other publications have run articles about the state of the Clintons' marriage. Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway offered a possible preview of 2008 attack rhetoric on MSNBC in April 2005: “The fact is that Hillary Clinton could not stand up to a cheating husband, so how in the world would she stand up to North Korea and some of our other enemies around the globe?” [USA Today, 1/22/07]