Fox News contributor Kellyanne Conway delivered a salvo of on-air political attacks against Vice President Kamala Harris just hours after news broke of her joining former President Donald Trump’s nascent reelection effort as an unpaid adviser. Conway’s dual role as a political strategist for Trump and a commentator for Fox highlights the seamlessly symbiotic relationship between Fox and the Republican Party, and further exposes the network’s purported “news side” as being just another component of Fox’s political machine.
Puck News correspondent Tara Palmeri reported Tuesday that Conway “has played a bit of a two-step — acting as a top advisor to Trump, albeit unpaid, while also a Fox News contributor, where she can spread the Trump gospel and call out strategies she sees as ineffectual.” Palmeri added that this dual status has “prompted some to wonder which costume is a foil: TV news talking head or boomerang I-Just-Can’t-Quit-You campaign operative?”
That same afternoon, Conway appeared for a segment on Fox’s America Reports, during which purported “straight news” anchor Sandra Smith never asked Conway about this reporting or whether she was still advising Trump in any capacity. Smith instead introduced Conway as a “Fox News contributor and former counselor to the president — to President Trump,” bringing her on to test campaign messaging against Harris and President Joe Biden.
During a segment ostensibly based on a Washington Post article citing a handful of Democrats worried about Harris' ability to one day lead the Democratic Party, Conway instead launched a fusillade of demeaning attacks at the vice president in an attempt to manufacture a wedge between Harris and the rest of the party. This is the sort of message one might expect to come directly from a political campaign, and it builds upon anti-Harris messaging tested by the Trump campaign during the 2020 presidential election, and which Fox has continued to push for the past two years in a series of disgusting personal attacks.
Conway’s specific line of attack against Harris, comparing the vice president to a small child, also amounted to so much psychological projection on Conway’s part — seemingly describing her former (and seemingly still current) boss.
Conway described a hypothetical process of coaching and rote memorization that ought to sound familiar: Throughout Trump’s presidency, he notoriously refused to read his briefing documents, instead demanding oral briefings that over time became so chaotic that officials eventually delivered them more regularly to then-Vice President Mike Pence instead. Trump also failed to follow simple instructions from aides who had attempted to coach him on what to say to foreign leaders, while his off-script domestic pronouncements were no better.
In addition, Smith opened the segment by claiming that Democrats were “coming to terms” with the prospect of Biden running again in 2024 — a deflection from the real story that Republicans are the ones who are still grappling with Trump’s potential nomination for a third White House run, even as he “is currently the subject of multiple criminal investigations, and his detractors dream of an indictment that would derail his campaign.”
Conway is also a listed staff member of America First Policy Institute, a dark money-fueled nonprofit think tank with a multimillion dollar budget organized by former Trump staffers and operating a MAGA political infrastructure in exile. Conway's overlapping affiliations with Fox, the Trump campaign, and this Trump-aligned dark money group raise the question of whether her reported work for the campaign is truly “unpaid,” or if her commentary and messaging strategy functions as an in-kind contribution from her employers.
Fox News has long served as a revolving door for Republican administrations, providing media jobs to figures from the Trump and George W. Bush White Houses, while its network personnel have actively advised Republican politicians and dictated the party’s agenda. The network also intervenes in intra-Republican quarrels while burying negative stories about Trump as he seeks to retake the presidency.