Kellyanne Conway Leaving White House

To spend more time with her family.

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway speaks with social media personalities and live-stream video bloggers Diamond and Silk (Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson) Thursday, July 11, 2019, during the Presidential Social Media Summit in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks

The strangest Washington power couple since James Carville and Mary Matalin are both stopping away from the limelight for the moment.

WaPo (“Kellyanne Conway to leave the White House at the end of the month, citing the need to focus on her family“):

Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to President Trump and one of his longest-serving aides, is leaving the White House at the end of the month.

Conway, whose title is counselor to the president, was Trump’s third campaign manager in 2016 and the first woman to successfully manage a presidential bid to victory. She joined the White House at the start of Trump’s term and has been one of his most visible and vocal defenders.

Conway informed Trump of her decision Sunday night in the Oval Office.

Her husband, George T. Conway III, a conservative lawyer and outspoken critic of the president, is also stepping back from his role on the Lincoln Project, an outside group of Republicans devoted to defeating Trump in November. He will also take a hiatus from Twitter, the venue he has often used to attack the president.

In a statement, Conway called her time in the Trump administration “heady” and “humbling,” and said she and George were making the decision based on what they think is best for their four children.

“We disagree about plenty,” she wrote of herself and her husband, “but we are united on what matters most: the kids. Our four children are teens and ‘tweens starting a new academic year in the middle school and high school that will be conducted remotely from home for at least a few months. As millions of parents nationwide know, kids ‘doing school from home’ requires a level of attention and vigilance that is as unusual as these times.”

Conway continued: “This is completely my choice and my voice. In time, I will announce future plans. For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama.”

While “spend more time with my family” has become something of a joke, trotted out seemingly every time a prominent figure steps away from their job, it seems quite plausible here. I can’t imagine the strain it would take on a family to have both parents not only in all-consuming jobs but doing so in rather nasty opposition to one another.

I have little love for either of the Conways. She helped elect the worst President in American history as his campaign manager and then took a position requiring her to lie to the American people on his behalf on a daily basis. Her husband is a least on the right side of the fight, but has gotten public visibility in doing so precisely because his wife is a prominent administration official.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jon says:

    Interesting take by Adam Silverman over at Balloon Juice, pointing to overnight tweets from their eldest daughter claiming abuse and seeking emancipation. Two of the potential reasons behind Conway leaving the WH he cites are it could be the family circling the wagons to help or, trying to keep out of site until it blows over. I wish kids weren’t involved so I could at least have a “Ha!” moment at their expense.

    12
  2. Jon says:

    @Jon: ‘cites’. Stupid Monday.

    5
  3. CSK says:

    I wonder if Trump will turn on Kellyanee? Or should I be asking when will he be turning on her, given that with Trump loyalty is strictly a one-way street.

    6
  4. Jon says:

    @CSK: Yah. I’m curious to see if she keeps her speaking spot on Wednesday.

    1
  5. CSK says:

    @Jon:
    She may well speak on Wednesday, given that she’s leaving at then end of the month. But it would be the better part of wisdom not to do so.

    8
  6. Jax says:

    Let me guess…..there’s gonna be a book.

    3
  7. Jon says:

    @CSK: Oh sure, timing-wise it would still work out. I meant more that Trump’s gotta Trump, so he may ditch her early out of spite.

  8. CSK says:

    @Jon:
    That’s a distinct possibility. If it happens, it will be amusing to see how Cult45 spins it. As of now, they’re supportive of Kellyanne and condemning of George and Claudia.

    3
  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    Forget about the turnover rate in this administration, Conway staying on 3.5 years would be exceptional in any admin. Matalin and Carville appear to have keep their politics in perspective when it comes to their marriage, probably because both are mercenaries rather than true believers. That may not have been true for the Conway’s and a teen child ripping them on twitter is a red flag.

    8
  10. ImProPer says:

    “While “spend more time with my family” has become something of a joke, trotted out seemingly every time a prominent figure steps away from their job, it seems quite plausible here. I can’t imagine the strain it would take on a family to have both parents not only in all-consuming jobs but doing so in rather nasty opposition to one another.”

    My first thought after reading the post was this timeless piece of ancient wisdom; “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul”.
    The cynic in me, wonders if it was a negotiation tactic for more money, played out after Trump calling what he perceived as a bluff? While she has worked hard for her dubious spot in history, I can’t see that as having much weight with the boss, a man only concerned with the instant, and absolutely delusional about his personal competence.
    If it is truly the family angle though, I’d suspend my disdain for her, and give kudos for what would seem like a much needed character change.

    2
  11. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I have always wondered why she hung on so long with Trump. I believe the maximum salary for any White House aide is $179,700, which strikes me as insufficient recompense for not only putting up with him but having to lie constantly on his behalf. She could have quit earlier and parlayed the connection into a speaking gig with Fox that would have paid more, depending on how regularly she appeared.

    If she left the WH to save her daughter’s sanity, then she has my respect for taking that step.

    Did she and George Conway cut a deal: I’ll leave Trump if you leave the Lincoln Project.

    4
  12. dmichael says:

    Today, I am struck with the belief that I am attempting to read the mainstream news but ending up reading the National Enquirer. In other marital news today, Jerry Falwell, Jr. explains that he has been suffering from depression (the excuse I always use when cavorting with sexy young women) caused by his wife’s affair with “the pool boy” who is threatening to reveal all. Who needs David Pecker?

    7
  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jon:

    Silverman’s take deserves all the respect that you would give something written at the Gateway Pundit. Self serving bull sh$t and coup counting.

    @CSK:

    If you’re a believer, the money doesn’t matter.

    Did she and George cut a deal? Possibly, but a positive framing is that they had a heart-to-heart and determined that what they were doing was detrimental to the kids and realized what needed to change.

    3
  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    Republicans on Twitter are busy attacking the 15 year-old daughter. Which tells you everything you need to know about Republicans.

    29
  15. Jon says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Wow, I detect a little animosity 😉

    5
  16. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I don’t know if she’s a believer. She abandoned Cruz pretty quickly, and I don’t think it was because she looked at Trump and said to herself, “I’ve gotta be part of his vision.” But then, what else could she be but a believer? A conundrum.

    In any case, I give her and George credit for putting the kids first. I can’t imagine Trump putting anyone but himself first. Ever.

    4
  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jon: Of course they will. They’ve paid for a full month of ratfwkking and lies, they’ll hold her to it.

    @Jax: How can there not be? In this case, the question is whose book, Kellyanne’s or George’s?

    2
  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    My friends from college are all married now
    They have their houses and their lawns
    They have their quiet noons, tearful nights, angry dawns

    Their children hate them for the things they’re not
    They hate themselves for what they are…

    @dmichael: His wife is having the affair with the pool boy? I really didn’t see that coming. My understanding was that she cruised bars.

    2
  19. ImProPer says:

    @Sleeping Dog

    “Matalin and Carville appear to have keep their politics in perspective when it comes to their marriage, probably because both are mercenaries rather than true believers.”

    I am of a similar mind as to them, that they are either conflict addicts, or merely capitalize on their political freak show fame. Perhaps both. Neither in my opinion brought forth any earth shattering ideas, and Carville always struck me as playing the role of outwitted liberal, to Matalin’s astute conservative, at least the times I saw them argue with one another. I also have the sense they are not as ideologically opposed as it appears, if they even have one.
    The Conways, at least with George, seems a little less of an act. I do wish them luck if they are doing this for the sake of their family

    1
  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Basically…her 15 year old daughter forced her to leave Trump…this is NOT KAC’s decision.
    Conway is not a believer…she is a mercenary and a whore.
    But the overarching theme here is that “Everything Trump Touches Dies.”

    9
  21. Gustopher says:

    I feel sorry for her family.

    6
  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jon:

    Yeah, I don’t have a lot of respect for those who would kick someone when they’re down and I’m particularly disdainful when it is coming from an erstwhile political ally. I stopped reading Balloon Juice years ago as I came to feel that it was the nattering of nothingness by nobodies and certainly wasn’t helping me refine my political prospective.

    Frankly, there is more intellectual heft here in comments section of OTB than exists on most political blogs both liberal or conservative. The good critics find there way either traditional media that has successfully transitioned to the online world, such as The Atlantic or National Review, or similar outlets that have modeled themselves after them. Too many political blogs are intellectual masturbation.

    7
  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:

    But then, what else could she be but a believer?

    A whore? Not to be confused with honest sex workers. She’s a whore who sells her soul for a moment in the spotlight and a sense of self-importance. You know, like all Republicans under Trump. It’s a party of whores.

    8
  24. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    She’s a whore who sells her soul for a moment in the spotlight and a sense of self-importance.

    Imagine going from Cruz to Trump and considering it an upgrade?

    3
  25. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    But whores always think of the money, and was she getting enough to do what she did for as long as she did?

    I’ll figure this out only if she produces a tell-all and trashes her former boss.

    1
  26. Kathy says:

    Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person on Earth who finds these kinds of family dramas boring.

    6
  27. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Well, normally, they’re of very little interest except to the participants, but these are famous people whose dramas are being played out on the public stage. I do feel for the Conways, and I give them credit for putting their daughter and other children first.

    Some celebrities are extremely boring. Try as I might, I simply cannot develop an interest in the hijinx of the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk, who are rapidly becoming this generation’s Duke and Duchess of Windsor in terms of fatuous, self-involved irrelevance.

    7
  28. dazedandconfused says:

    Getting caught up in a cult is a trap many have fallen into. She should not be judged by her actions while in that state. George’s involvement in the Lincoln Project looks to have been a desperate, if not frantic, gambit to pry the mother of his children away from the bunker.

    2
  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: That’s a good question, but how much does that sort of work pay even when you’re running your own shop and writing your own check to yourself?

    I’ve found that most people believe that most other people make more than they do. That’s only likely for those of us who work for minimum wage. And people who are self-employed.

  30. dmichael says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: It’s okay because he only watched them going at it. The “pool boy” speaks.

    2
  31. dazedandconfused says:

    @CSK:

    I wonder if Trump will turn on Kellyanee? Or should I be asking when will he be turning on her, given that with Trump loyalty is strictly a one-way street.

    He won’t turn on her unless she turns on him, she could do a lot of damage and he’s certainly aware of that. Trump’s attack was on George. This indicates he perceives her leaving as being due to George and not due to a loss of faith in His Majesty. Trump all but certainly got that impression from Kellyanne.

  32. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    His wife is having the affair with the pool boy? I really didn’t see that coming.

    But Jerry Fallwell, Jr. did! (Well, replace “that” with “them”…)

    6
  33. KM says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    Getting caught up in a cult is a trap many have fallen into. She should not be judged by her actions while in that state.

    Nope – she’s one of the founders of the cult. She was there from the beginning and is responsible for pushing much of the insanity we’ve seen. She sold her soul early on for the prestige being associated with POTUS normally brings. Remember, she worked for Cruz before it became obvious he wasn’t going the distance; during that time, she was anti-Trump and clearly not under his sway.

    Maybe over time she started to buy her own BS but we cannot forget this cult exists in part because of her actions. How much pity do you give the dealer that starts snorting their own product compared to the people they’ve gotten hooked?

    10
  34. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Kids are off limits only up until the point where they inject themselves into the process. Barron Trump has done nothing but be an awkward teenager in the background, for instance, so he is off limits. And Chelsea Clinton. And the Obama girls.

    But… if when kids inject themselves into the process, you treat kids with kid gloves. And that is not happening.

    I hope the Conway kid gets what she needs to grow into a well-balanced, functional adult despite her parents’ drama.

    7
  35. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Well, you’d have the great satisfaction of working for yourself and not for Donald Trump. I’d rather make less (I do) and get to the end of a day’s work without feeling dirty (which I would).

    Besides, salaries are all relative, aren’t they? Back when people wanted Rush Limbaugh to run for the presidency, he’d reply that he couldn’t take the extreme pay cut. But $400,000 per year would seem like unparalleled riches to a great many people, wouldn’t it? Even in Massachusetts, the third richest state, that would be a very tidy sum to pull down annually. In Mississippi, it would make you a plutocrat.

    5
  36. Barry says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: “Imagine going from Cruz to Trump and considering it an upgrade?”

    For a, ….. ‘mistress’, it’s an upwards career move.

    2
  37. MarkedMan says:

    Josh Marshall has some pretty interesting thoughts on the things we know for sure about the Falwells and their various pool boys, fitness coaches, etc as well as Michael Cohen’s comments that he had “helped” ‘Jerry Falwell Jr make some nude pix of his wife go away, and how that might have tied in with Falwell’s surprising endorsement of Trump in 2016. The fact that the article came out today makes me wonder if it had anything to do the timing of Conway’s resignation. She was going to do it anyway, it was going to be big news, and this way it is a less damaging distraction then the idea that Trump had Cohen blackmail Falwell into an endorsement.

    This only reinforces my belief that the number of times per day someone shouts “Jesus” or “Allah” or “Krishna” is directly correlated to how much they actively seek out the skeeviest liars and con artists to guide them through life.

    3
  38. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    From his parishioners’ perspective, at least it wasn’t him bleeping the pool boy. Live boys/dead girls, etc., etc. Sorry, wearing my snark shirt today.

    1
  39. Sleeping Dog says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Marshall is trending toward conspiracy theory logic.

    1
  40. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: I really don’t think there is some grand conspiracy with the timing of the Conway drama, unless the kid’s twitter is actually being run by one of the parents and it’s all a hoax for a big book deal.

    Far more likely is that Kelly Anne Conway’s resignation happens on the same day as something embarrassing or awful on the right because every day there is something embarrassing or awful on the right.

    Someone at the White House probably also have a trove of required by distasteful announcements that they usually save for Friday Night News Dump, which might get emptied a little early. But they wouldn’t be waiting for this, they would just be waiting for whatever headline grabbing thing comes along.

    1
  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dmichael: Too creepy for me, but to quote John Lennon

    Whatever gets you through the night…

    @Gustopher: Eeeeewwww! 😉

    @flat earth luddite: Whaddya think? If I put up a picture of me as closely cropped as yours is there, will people still get us confused? (ETA: Do I even know how to create and post such a picture? Do I have the technology?)

  42. de stijl says:

    Kellyanne always struck me as a cynical, nihilistic sort willing to push absolute blatant lies as far as possible and get away with it. To see what happened. To laugh at the absurdity.

    That assumes a pretty high degree of sociopathy which I am not qualified to diagnose especially from afar, but I think it anyway.

    4
  43. flat earth luddite says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Whore or mercenary? From what I can see, she was never a common ‘ho,’ MAYBE a courtesan or hetaera. I don’t think he’s really had any true Kool-Aid drinkers in his staff. Just self-serving sycophants. And cold-blooded mercenaries. I’m thinking the later, rather than the former.

    IIRC, cheap whores don’t expect the customer to off them instead of paying them, and expensive ones have too much dirt on their customers. Mercenaries, OTOH, have to keep in mind that the cheapest final payout from the customer is a knife/bullet in the back. Fortunately for those who work for Trump, POTUS only gets to shoot his mouth off about former staff, so all they get is 5,685 cheap twitter rants, each.

    But as uncomfortable as I am praising either of these purported adults, kudos for finally putting the kids first, if that’s what’s happening.

    1
  44. David S. says:

    @Kathy: Nah, I find these dramas boring, too. It’s honestly more revealing about the people who feel compelled to weigh in.

    1
  45. de stijl says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    Whatever Stephen Miller is, he is not a ho or a mercenary.

    A true believer in racial purity. (Dude, you’re a Jew. Think this through!)

    It bothers and annoys me he is employed by Trump.

    5
  46. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    Okay, I laughed out loud at that.

    1
  47. Kathy says:

    In very tangentially related news, Michael Steele (not of The Bangles), former RNC chairman, has joined The Lincoln Project (aka modern Mount Purgatory).

    3
  48. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Today Steele also called the Trumpkins stupid people who were not only getting punked, but were complicit in their own punking.

    6
  49. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    Just another manic Monday.

    I wish it were Sunday.

    3
  50. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: Oh, I’m definitely not thinking grand conspiracy here. Merely that she moved it up a few days or held it back a few to benefit Trump. And that’s my theory, not Marshall’s.

  51. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I don’t see it as conspiracy at all. Cohen, the lawyer involved in a dozen sexual coverups for Trump that are on the record, has stated that he helped Falwell “get rid of” some embarrassing pictures. And it is also on the record that it was Cohen who arranged Falwell’s endorsement. Given that it’s certainly not conspiracy theories but just reasonable speculation.

    1
  52. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Cause that’s my fun day

    My I-don’t-have-to-run day.

    4
  53. senyordave says:

    I will never forget about a week after the election KAC appeared, along with other senior campaign staff and advisors to both Trump and Clinton, at a forum sponsored by a university, which I believe was Harvard. It is a traditional event where they do a quickie high level analysis of the election. At one point KAC was telling Clinton’s senior pollster that he, along with everyone else, was completely wrong. He kept saying that the election results were clearly within the margin of error of the final polls. Eventually she told him (I’m paraphrasing) to just repeat after her and say “I was wrong, KellyAnne, you were right.” He kind of shrugged and did it, and she responded with a “that wasn’t so hard, was it? Sill friends.” He looked at her with the iciest expression I have ever seen and said something like “colleagues, KellyAnne, just colleagues.”

    4
  54. senyordave says:

    Last night I looked at the daughter’s twitter page. It takes a lot to shock me, but it really was stunning. The vitriol she has for her mother has to be real. Abuse was a term that came up multiple times, and I believe she is serious about emancipation. If she were an adult I might find it somewhat humorous, but with a 15 year it is just sad.
    I wonder how many Trump officials and powers in the GOP have children that hate their politics so much that it affects the family relationships. I believe McConnell has three fairly liberal daughters, I wonder if they just detest his politics.

    3
  55. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Self serving bull sh$t and coup counting.

    OK, explain to me how it is self serving. Exactly what does he get out of analyzing this based on the facts that are in public.

    I await your detailed analysis, one that is at least as detailed as his.

  56. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    The daughter of the Kellyanne and George began to make her own appearances on social media and on the tabloids(She is 15), . His dad banned her from talking with reporters, and they fought on Twitter(She pointed out, publicly, that her dad’s marriage had ended). Now she said that she asking for emancipation, and she mentioned “childhood trauma and abuse”.

    It’s not a coincidence that she made her announcement while his dad is taking a leave from Twitter and is leaving the Lincoln Project while her mom leaves a high-profile job in the White House.

  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    OK, I wish I had time to read all the comments, but I don’t. So I am just going to say this:

    As one who went thru an epically bad divorce, and swallowed untold amounts of bullshit over the years and payed I don’t know how many 10s of thousands of dollars I did not owe and had no obligation to pay and making untold other sacrifices to keep my sons on calmer seas (take note, I said calmer), I know what putting one’s children first means. My ex didn’t. You want to know what finally reined her in? A federal fraud investigation.

    Oh yeah, that got her attention.

    Not that it kept her out of prison. Hell’s bells her first stint didn’t teach her a damn thing.

    Something finally caught these two’s lawyerly narcissistic attentions and I am pretty gawd damned sure it wasn’t their children’s cries of pain. What was it? I don’t know, but I do know that a phone call from DFS (Division of Family Services) has a tendency to focus the mind. It sure did my focus my ex’s.

    Do NOT give these two credit for finally putting their children first after ignoring them for years. They had a come to Jesus moment, but I can gawd damned guarantee that Jesus had nothing to do with it.

    12
  58. JohnMcC says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa: I’m told by my children/grandchildren that Claudia asked Rep Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez to please adopt her. In their opinion, she was serious.

    In a strange way, I’m reminded of Martha Mitchell, who was actually kidnapped and held by friends of her husband the Attorney General of the U.S. to keep her from telling the WaPo everything she knew about the Watergate affair.

    2
  59. Jen says:

    @senyordave:

    The vitriol she has for her mother has to be real.

    Her mother is a very highly visible figure in D.C., and kids at that age are very, very tied to their friends. I can’t begin to imagine the isolation that child likely feels, and the Twitter feed is indicative of the lengths that she feels she must need to go to to distance herself from her mother. Teens are already trying to break from their parents at that age, to have a highly visible and frankly broadly detested mother must be f^&*ing awful.

    I wonder how many Trump officials and powers in the GOP have children that hate their politics so much that it affects the family relationships. I believe McConnell has three fairly liberal daughters, I wonder if they just detest his politics.

    It can be hard to separate that. My father and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of issues and we’ve reached a stage where we just don’t discuss politics anymore–I’m sure it’s harder when you’re earning a living doing that work.

    4
  60. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I had a similar thought (that something happened that made both parents snap to), but thought it was potentially something like drug use or self harm or something. But yeah, a call from DFS would have a way of clarifying the issues.

    2
  61. Joe says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I always loved that song.

    1
  62. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @JohnMcC: We don’t know. My impression is that she likes the attention, wants to be a celebrity and that her parents have good reasons to not want reporters talking to her(Maybe nothing illegal there, just that their marriage is a facade). Maybe she is just like acting like the teenager that she is.

  63. de stijl says:

    @ImProPer:

    Carville never impressed me much. This century.

    Judged on his analysis on shows, he’s kinda a lightweight.

    I get better stuff here daily and we are unpaid morons.

    2
  64. Grewgills says:

    @de stijl:
    His huckleberry facade grew a little thin.

    1
  65. Blue Galangal says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Do NOT give these two credit for finally putting their children first after ignoring them for years. They had a come to Jesus moment, but I can gawd damned guarantee that Jesus had nothing to do with it.

    THIS. All of this. If KAC was putting her daughter first, her resignation would have been effective immediately, and she wouldn’t have stuck around another ten days to snark and collect the rest of her grift.

    Claudia may well be a troubled teen (their story) or a young woman who’s generally fed up with the bs (as so many of the iGen are). But her mother, in particular, has never put those children first or she wouldn’t have gone to work lying for a demented sociopath. Of course any thinking 15 year old is going to be embarrassed by it. KAC abuses the entire nation and is adept at gaslighting and diversion. It’s absolutely no stretch to think that’s also how she “parents.”