Kellyanne Conway praised President Donald Trump as a champion of women in her speech to the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night –without mentioning she was leaving the White House to spend time with her family.
‘For decades, he has elevated women to senior positions in business and in government. He confides in and consults us, respects our opinions, and insists that we are on equal footing with the men,’ she said of Trump, who has seen his approval rating fall among women amid their concerns about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and racial tensions in the country.
She discussed her own work for the president, including being the first woman to run a major party candidate’s presidential campaign.
‘President Trump helped me shatter a barrier in the world of politics by empowering me to manage his campaign to its successful conclusion. With the help of millions of Americans, our team defied the critics, questionable polls and conventional wisdom — and we won,’ she said.
She did not mention she’s leaving her role as counselor to the president at the end of the month after her 15-year-old daughter Claudia saw her social media posts criticizing her mother’s work for the administration go viral.
Conway was one of several women touting the president’s support of their gender, including White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and second lady Karen Pence.
Conway, who’s been at Trump’s side since he took the oath of office, announced on Sunday evening she was quitting the administration to spend time with her family, saying her children needed ‘less drama, more mama’.
Her 15-year-old daughter Claudia also has said was trying to get emancipated from her parents. Conway’s husband George Conway is stepping back from his role with a super PAC working against Trump’s re-election.
Kellyanne Conway has been one of Trump’s most visible advisers and a frequent defender of his on the TV airwaves, the place he appreciates it the most.
Her appearance at the convention will likely combine a defense of the president’s policies with an appeal to female voters to support him.
Always ready to spar with the media and quick with quip, Conway survived four White House chiefs of staff and numerous Cabinet secretaries.
She also was criticized for her fast-and-lose approach with the facts, which she famously labeled ‘alternative facts.’
Conway, who also managed Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, appeared unruffled during an appearance Monday at the unveiling of an art exhibit of student work tied to the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment.
‘How am I doing? I’m good. I make my own choices,’ she told reporters.
During her remarks, Melania Trump painted her husband’s weaknesses as strengths when she argued for President Trump’s bid for a second term in a speech designed to appeal to female voters on Tuesday night – but also spoke at length on race and coronavirus, setting a strikingly different tone from her husband.
She painted herself as a wife and a mother during her 26-minute remarks, which outlined the reasons women should vote for President Trump in November and addressed the areas where female voters rate him as weak, the coronavirus pandemic and race relations.
And unusually she intervened directly in unfolding events, as violence flared for a second night in Kenosha, WI, in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, left paralyzed after being shot seven times in the back.
‘I urge people to come together in a civil manner so we can work and live up to our standard American ideals. I also ask people to stop the violence and looting being done in the name of justice,’ she said.
Unlike Trump, she said of racial division: ‘Like many of you, I have reflected on the racial unrest in our country. We are not proud of parts of our history.’
That set a tonal contrast to her husband, who clapped from the front row of the Rose Garden as she spoke, with her parents just behind him.
And she paid explicit tribute to the dead of the coronavirus pandemic – never using his ‘China virus’ phrase’ – saying she mourned with those left behind.
Her speech was meant to smooth away her husband’s rough edges even as she was careful to stay out of the political arena. It came on a night when Republicans tried to set a positive tone and lay claim to optimism, with Trump pardoning a black bank robber and swearing in five new Americans, both in the White House, while Mike Pence presented a video from Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home with ordinary voters paying tribute to Trump.
But it also saw Tiffany and Eric Trump channel their father with his younger daughter making a rare public appearance to rail against big tech and the media claiming they try to ‘mentally enslave’ people to control what views they hear.
The First Lady’s speech capped a night where the White House and executive power of the presidency took center stage at the second night of the Republican National Convention.
President Trump book-ended his convention with the trappings of the presidency, issuing a presidential pardon at the beginning, watching immigrants be made citizens in the middle, and ending on the South Lawn with the first lady speaking live from the Rose garden. At the same time Democrats cried foul saying he and his administration repeatedly broke the Hatch act, which bans using government property and employees to aid political campaigns.
Several administration officials participated in the convention on its second night, including economic adviser Larry Kudlow – the former CNBC host who introduced himself to people as ‘you know me from TV and radio’ – acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence, outgoing senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross were spotted in the Rose Garden for Melania Trump’s remarks with several other guests – some who wore masks and some who did not.
Melania Trump was introduced in a flashy video that touted her Be Best campaign and was filled with images of her looking glamorous at state events and mom-like with her hugs to children. She walked down the colonnade to dramatic entrance music and a standing ovation, the camera moving ahead of her to trace her every move as she approached the Rose Garden.
Her speech – in contrast with other Trump family members who addressed the convention – showed the human side of the president.
She spoke of motherhood, even as she did not mention the Trumps’ 14-year-old son Barron by name, and said her husband was a man who won’t stop fighting for families.
‘To mothers and parents everywhere, you’re warriors. In my husband, you have a president who will not stop fighting for you and your family. I see how hard he works each day and night and despite the attacks from the media, he will not give up. In fact, if you tell him it cannot be done, he just worked harder,’ she said.
She also said the president was a man who supports her and has supported women by giving them high-ranking jobs in his administration.
‘Donald is a husband that supports me in all that I do. He has built an administration with unprecedented number of women in leadership roles and fostered an environment where the American people are always the priority. He welcomes different points of view and encourages thinking outside of the box,’ she said.
And she humbly asked voters to return the Trump family to the White House for another four years.
‘I know I speak for my husband and the family when we say we’re so grateful that you trusted him to be your president. We would be honored to serve this incredible country for four more years,’ she said.