According to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, the president’s political opponents are engaging in “dangerous” rhetoric — and her boss is a paragon of civility who represents all Americans.
This supreme example of gaslighting happened during an interview on Fox & Friends Wednesday, when Conway was asked about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who had said of Republicans during an interview with CNN on Tuesday, “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.”
“That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again,” Clinton had explained. “…Until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”
On Wednesday morning, Conway said Clinton’s “discourse now is a little bit dangerous.”
“I don’t like the implications there,” Conway said, before engaging in the very divisive insults she was in the process of decrying. “It’s one thing to call us deplorable, irredeemable. Laugh at people who don’t have all the privileges she has had with her Ivy League law degree and through her marriage to a much more popular man who was actually a two-term president, that she will never be.”
“I don’t like that kind of talk and I avoid it,” she said. “My boss has called for civility. He says that he represents all Americans.”
Trump has not called for civility — at least not in public. Even when his press secretary was asked to leave a restaurant, Trump did not lament the incivility leaking into politics — he attacked the restaurant for being “dirty on the outside.”
Conway then touted the fact that the Trump administration didn’t ask people for their party affiliation when cutting taxes. She also claimed Clinton offended half the country whenever she speaks, and attacked the protesters who opposed the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as people who have “been marinating in a toxic brew of rancor and bitterness for quite a while.”
After labeling Clinton’s relatively benign strategy argument, as “dangerous,” Conway shifted gears, claiming she tried to avoid such talk. She also claimed Trump had “called for civility” seeking to represent all Americans.
In fact, since announcing his candidacy in June 2015, Trump has utilized abnormally dangerous political rhetoric, both in his campaign and as president. He has not called for civility. And Conway has repeatedly defended him:
- When Trump mocked and attacked Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford — who claims the Supreme Court justice attempted to rape her when the two were in high school — Conway defended the president. She said Ford had “been treated like a Fabergé egg” since coming forward with her allegations, “beginning with me and the president.” Conway claimed Trump’s mocking diatribe was simply “pointing out factual inconsistencies” in Ford’s testimony.
- Last year, Trump attacked MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, calling her “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and claiming she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when he saw her earlier in the year. Conway, however, saw the highly personal attacks from the president of the United States as “his way of cutting out the middle man” and the “democratization of information.” Asked if Trump was sexist, Conway said “this is a man who is doing what he can do on behalf of America’s women.”
- In August, asked about Trump repeatedly calling the media the “enemy of the people,” Conway said she did not think journalists were the enemy of the people, but that “the president wants people to give information — news they can use.” She said “some journalists are enemy of the relevant and enemy of the news you can use,” and claimed some wrote things on Twitter they could never get away with saying in print.
- After she was confronted last July about Trump’s lies on issues such as voter fraud and his claim that Obama had wire-tapped his offices in Trump Tower, Conway said Trump “doesn’t think he’s lying about those issues, and you know it.”
- After the president referred to immigrants as animals, Conway not only defended the president, she asserted that the media owed him an apology. “Others who rushed to judgment to get the President rather than to get the story owe @POTUS — and the grieving loved ones who have lost family members to gang violence — an apology,” she tweeted.
- Trump attacked former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) over allegations of sexual misconduct that eventually forced him to resign late last year, but he remained silent about the multiple serious allegations of sexual misconduct former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore faced in last year’s special election. “Al Franken was a brand new news story yesterday, and the president weighed in as he does on the news of the day often enough — the Roy Moore story is eight days old,” Conway said when confronted on the issue at the time. When Trump endorsed Moore a few weeks later, Conway again defended Trump and his “tremendous moral standards.”
- Soon after Conway started working on the Trump campaign in 2016, she defended Trump’s previous personal attacks on Gold Star families, judges of Mexican descent, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). “He doesn’t hurl personal insults,” she said. Hours later, Trump called television personality Donny Deutsch a “big failure” and called Brzezinski “neurotic” and unintelligent.
In the past, Trump has also said the following: