White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is leaving her position in President Donald Trump’s administration, citing a desire to spend more time with her family. Her husband George Conway is also stepping away from the The Lincoln Project, the Republican anti-Trump political group he helped found.
“This is completely my choice and my voice. In time, I will announce future plans,” Conway wrote in a statement published Sunday. “For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama.”
The announcement comes in the wake of recent public remarks from the Conways’ 15-year-old daughter, Claudia, stating that she was “pushing for emancipation” from her parents “because of years of childhood trauma and abuse.” The specifics of Claudia Conway’s allegations remain unclear, as does the extent to which those remarks influenced the Conways’ decisions to leave their public-facing posts. Prior to her latest public remarks, Claudia Conway had been publishing anti-Trump content on her own social media before her parents forced her to delete her social media accounts.
Kellyanne Conway was named Trump’s campaign manager in 2016 during a shake-up that also put far-right Steve Bannon in the campaign’s CEO position. On the campaign trail and in her later White House post, Conway has acted as an unapologetic spinmeister for the president and his most noxious qualities and egregious proposals.
From early on, Conway has made political hay claiming that the president and his family have faced unjust criticism and scrutiny while leading the country. She often claims Trump is “persecuted” by the press and his critics in unfair and disproportionate ways. For seeking and obtaining the nation’s highest office, “President Trump and his family has sacrificed mightily,” Conway told Pat Robertson in 2017. She added that the responsibility of being president instilled “a great deal of humility” in Trump.
Her career with Trump has been defined by her insistence on “alternative facts”—a term she coined during a 2017 “Meet the Press” interview while defending former White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s blatant lies to reporters at White House press briefings.
In August, Conway baselessly linked an incident in which Secret Service officers shot someone outside the White House to the prospect of Trump’s reelection. She criticized states for re-opening businesses “a little too quickly” during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and claimed Trump could not be held responsible for a subsequent spike in cases, despite the fact that Trump urged states to re-open their economies and even threatened to force them to do so. She defended the president’s use of the racist term “kung flu” to describe the coronavirus after previously condemning the term.
Conway has also embodied some of Trump’s own viciousness. She once threatened a breaking news reporter at the Washington Examiner after that reporter mentioned her husband in an article, suggesting that the White House may decide to release details about the reporter’s personal life. Conway defended the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. And last year, Conway questioned a reporter’s ethnicity after he asked about Trump’s racist comments that four minority Democratic congresswomen should “go back” to their home countries.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel found last year that Conway repeatedly violated the Hatch Act, which prohibts federal employees from engaging in political activities while on duty, “by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media” and recommended that she be fired. In 2018, OSC determined that Conway “violated the Hatch Act during two separate television interviews in which she advocated for and against candidates in the 2017 Alabama special election for U.S. Senate.”
“Blah, blah, blah … Let me know when the jail sentence starts,” Conway told a reporter who questioned her about her Hatch Act violations.
Conway is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention Wednesday.