Conway Rails Against Leakers Who Think ‘It’s Cute And It Makes Them Popular’

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway stands before President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in Washington. Trump is announcing the first U.S. assembly plant for electronics giant Foxconn in a project that's expected to result in billions of dollars in investment in the state and create thousands of jobs. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP

Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Thursday morning continued the Trump administration’s onslaught against leakers, some of whom she claimed are “using the press to shiv each other in the ribs.”

“The fact is that we just have to cut down on people thinking it’s cute and it makes them popular,” Conway said on “Fox and Friends.”

She speculated that leakers think “it somehow enhances their resume and their portfolio for later on to curry favor with folks who are more interested in covering the style and not the substance here, more interested in covering the palace intrigue.”

White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci kicked off the anti-leaker festivities Wednesday evening with a since-deleted tweet in which he appeared to sic the FBI and Department of Justice on White House chief of staff Reince Priebus for the “leak” of his publicly available financial disclosure form.

 

“So I discussed this with Anthony and I discussed the overall issue just this morning with the President of the United States,” Conway said.

She claimed “the most important part of Anthony’s tweet was when he talked about the FBI and the DOJ.”

“He’s making clear that even though these documents are eventually procurable publicly, that somebody doesn’t want him here and somebody is trying to get in his way and scare him off from working here, which is a huge mistake,” Conway claimed.

She said “qualified men and women” who want to work for President Donald Trump’s administration “have been completely demoralized and completely, I think, disinclined to do so based on the paperwork that we have to put forward divesting assets.”

Conway cited “the different hoops you have to run through” to be cleared to work in the White House.

“We’ve all complied with those rules, but it’s really dis-incentivizing good men and women,” she said. “I hope it doesn’t dis-incentivize Anthony.”

Conway categorized “leaks” and “people using the press to shiv each other in the ribs” separately.

“That’s different than a leak. A leak is, ‘did you see the memo Kellyanne put out?'” she said. “‘Did you hear what Jared said in this senior staff meeting?’ That’s a classic leak. The other thing that’s going on here is people currying favor with the press, getting their own positive coverage by hurting their colleagues here.”

Conway said the West Wing is “a very small place.”

“I think leakers are easier to figure out than they may think,” she said. “I mean, I will say for me, I’m the jerk who hired a chief of staff, right, because I thought we were supposed to work on policy, not free press or comms assistance, because we’re not here to curate our images. We’re not here to read about ourselves.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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