Trump backs aide who promoted his daughter’s fashion on TV
WASHINGTON (AP) — Kellyanne Conway, the high-profile White House counselor, has come under fire from Democratic and Republican lawmakers, fact checkers and the media. But she’s so far maintained the support of her boss, President Donald Trump.
Trump backed Conway both publicly and privately Thursday after House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, criticized her for promoting Ivanka Trump’s fashion line during a television appearance and urged the Office of Government Ethics to review the matter. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Conway had been “counseled” on her comments, but he would not expand on what that entailed.
The president appeared to take issue with his own press secretary’s depiction, telling staff that he believed it was unfair to Conway and made it sound like she was in trouble, according to a person with direct knowledge of his comments. A White House spokeswoman said that while Trump didn’t see Conway’s television comments urging people to buy Ivanka Trump’s products, he believed she was “merely sticking up” for his daughter after Nordstrom dropped her brand.
The flare-up came in the midst of a rough stretch for Conway, who is among Trump’s most visible advisers.
Her reference to a nonexistent “Bowling Green massacre” made her a punchline for comics and internet pranksters. She said it was a slip of the tongue as she was describing the 2011 arrest of two Iraqi nationals in a failed plot to send weapons overseas to al-Qaida. It was later discovered that she had made that misstatement before.
Conway was then caught up in the bad blood between the Trump administration and CNN. The news network was angered last weekend when Vice President Mike Pence made the rounds of Sunday talk shows and pointedly left out Jake Tapper’s CNN show. CNN said it “passed” when Conway was offered instead, while Conway said she was unable to appear.
Conway’s high-profile and close relationship with Trump has created tension with some other advisers. One Trump associate said Conway’s standing with some senior staff had been hurt by her recent missteps, though the person noted that her relationship with the president remained strong.
The Trump associate and the person with knowledge of the president’s comments about Conway insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss internal matters.
Conway’s sales pitch for Ivanka Trump was particularly notable in that it sparked a rebuke from Chaffetz, a Republican who until now has not questioned the young administration on ethical matters. Chaffetz said Conway’s actions were “wrong, wrong, wrong, clearly over the line, unacceptable.”