White House Pushes Back On Report That Conway Is ‘Sidelined’ From TV

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway answers questions during a network television interview in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

White House officials on Wednesday denied a report that President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway has been “sidelined” from television appearances.

“False,” White House senior assistant press secretary Michael C. Short wrote in an email to TPM. “For future reference, I handle defense, homeland security, and foreign affairs – not gossip column inquiries.”

“Those accusations are completely false,” another White House official told TPM by phone.

“This is just not true,” a third White House official wrote in an email to TPM. “She has several media appearances this week and has been focused on deeply invloved (sic) with the joint session speech this week taking up a lot of her time.”

Conway told several reporters that she will appear on television Wednesday night.

CNN reported on Wednesday that Conway was “sidelined” from giving television interviews after making “off message” statements, according to unnamed White House sources.

Days after the President’s inauguration, Conway coined the phrase “alternative facts” to defend White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s inaccurate claims about crowd size at Trump’s swearing-in, a flourish for which she was subsequently lampooned by a dictionary.

Over the course of just a few days earlier in February, Conway cited the “Bowling Green Massacre” to defend Trump’s ban on visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries, was passed over by CNN as a result of issues with her “credibility” and sparked a firestorm by urging Fox News viewers to buy items from Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories line.

“I’m going to give a free commercial here,” Conway said. “Go buy it today, everybody, you can find it online.”

Spicer later told reporters in his daily briefing that Conway was “counseled on that subject, and that’s it.”

Later the same day, Conway nevertheless said that Trump was “100 percent” behind her amid the backlash.

Most recently, amid reports that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with a Russian ambassador, Conway suggested that Trump would stand by Flynn.

“Gen. Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the President,” she said.

Flynn resigned just hours later.

The next day, Conway insisted that it was Flynn’s decision to step down. By mid-morning, however, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters that Trump asked Flynn to resign.

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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