Kellyanne Conway’s exact responsibilities in the White House have never been altogether clear to me, though she’s generally referred to as the White House “counselor” – as in, someone who counsels the president on matters of importance//LUKE DARB
But the White House ‘Counselor’ has had an eventful week. For starters, she defied a subpoena to appear before Congress, refusing to give testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee about her potential violation of federal law. The committee’s chairman, Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland, has threatened to hold her in contempt if she doesn’t appear by July 25.
Conway did have time to appear on Fox News twice in less than 24 hours, first on Monday night to laugh with Sean Hannity about skipping out on her own hearing, and again on Tuesday morning to spin Donald Trump’s attacks on four minority congresswomen—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Trump said they should leave the U.S. if they don’t like how he runs the country. On Fox News, Conway said the four women “represent a dark underbelly of this country.”
Her husband, the lawyer and frequent Trump antagonist George Conway, also had some thoughts on the president’s comments, and he published them in an op-ed for The Washington Post titled “Trump is a racist president.” He writes, “Trump could have used vile slurs, including the vilest of them all, and the intent and effect would have been no less clear. Telling four non-white members of Congress—American citizens all, three natural-born—to ‘go back’ to the ‘countries’ they ‘originally came from’? That’s racist to the core.”
With this in mind, Conway’s job yesterday was to help present a defense after Trump used racist language against four congresswomen of color, which for some reason, led her to ask a reporter about his ethnic heritage at a White House Q&A.
Andrew Feinberg, a White House reporter for Breakfast Media, a website about politics and technology, asked Conway, “If the president was not telling these four congresswomen to return to their supposed countries of origin, to which countries was he referring?”
Conway paused and then asked him, “What’s your ethnicity?”
“Why is that relevant?” Feinberg replied.
Tuesday afternoon, Kellyanne gave a press conference during which Andrew Feinberg, a reporter with BeltwayBreakfast.com, asked her exactly what countries Trump meant the congresswomen should “go back” to. Instead of answering him, she asked, “What’s your ethnicity?”
“Uh, why is that relevant?” Feinberg asked, as Conway replied quickly, “Because I’m asking you a question. My ancestors are from Ireland and Italy.”
“My ethnicity is not relevant to the question I’m asking you,” Feinberg said. Conway still refused to answer the question. From there, her tone changed abruptly, as she launched into a long-winded and, at times, angry defense of Customs and Border Protection.
It’s not clear what instances Conway is referring to, or how often Customs and Border Protection agents are deliberately letting smugglers go free in order to care for children. But if she’s so distressed by all of this, she can always relocate to Ireland or Italy.