Live From Washington: KellyAnne Conway on State of the Union & Current Issues By Luke Perry
Phillip Rucker of The Washington Post interviewed KellyAnne Conway, Counselor to President Trump, yesterday at Washington Post Live’s State of the Union preview.
Conway said the speech will be “positive in tone and content.” She cited the recent one hour public meeting with members of Congress about immigration as good for transparency, accountability and democracy. The president’s proposal emphasizes helping dreamers and border security. This is “a symbol of how cooperation and discussion can be had.”
When asked about her advice for the president managing GOP critics, Conway said she doesn’t talk about it much. Conway said Trump is “the president of all people” and “the president’s base is the entire country.” She cited critics of the tax cut, who didn’t believe it would work, while 274 companies have publicly announced they have hired new people.
When asked if President Trump is celebrating the abrupt resignation of Andrew McGabe, Deputy Director of the FBI, Conway stated this did not come as a surprise, considering he was going to retire soon anyhow.
In regards to the controversial memo House Republicans voted last night to declassify, Conway said Trump will “err on the side of transparency.” The law enforcement community is a large group, so people should never generalize. At the same time, Conway believes it is “foolish” to think she needed to go to Moscow to help manage the Trump campaign.
In terms of domestic policy, Conway sees “more Americans benefiting from Trump’s policies.” She does not understand Democratic opposition to the tax cut or “why they shut down the government.” Conway described Trump as “a builder who wants to rebuild the country” in bipartisan fashion.
Conway believes that obstruction and resistance did not work for Democrats in 2016 and will not work in this year’s midterm campaign. Conway believes it is going to be much easier for Republicans to defend the tax cut than Democrats who defended the Affordable Care Act heading into the 2010 midterm. She suggested recent drops in Democratic advantage with generic ballot polls are evidence of that.
At the same time, Conway also observed there have been “an awful lot” of Republican retirements and expects “election day surprises” as people are being called out left, right, and center for conduct issues.
Conway was asked about her thoughts on the #MeToo movement. She broadly acknowledged having experienced sexual harassment earlier in her career. Every time it happened she was afraid. Her message today is to view men who do this as “weak and pathetic, not powerful and intimidating.”
The interview closed on a lighthearted note as Conway, a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan, acknowledged she will be rooting for a different team than the president in the upcoming Super Bowl.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry), Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College, on site from Washington DC.