Who remembers senior counselor to Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway? Like a vulture Kellyanne was a patient scavenger and exploiter of other people’s miseries. If you needed verbal acid poured on the open wound of some innocent person’s recent humiliation (like Peter Strzok or Hunter Biden) Kellyanne was there. She was prepared and willing and delighted to get medieval wherever necessary.
I mark Kellyanne Conway’s rapid decline and fall beginning the day she made it clear she didn’t know what the 19 in COVID-19 meant. Not content to be merely ignorant she had to be arrogant about it. “This is COVID-19, not COVID-1, folks”, Conway proclaimed in April of 2020 with her usual sanctimonious condescension. “You would think that people charged with the World Health Organization facts and figures would be on top of that.”
Like “some guy on the internet” mansplaining with haughty contempt but making it clear he didn’t know the difference between your and you’re, Kellyanne’s gaff on the world stage was fatal. She never lived it down. I also think the humiliation of that moment really bothered her, more than most people know. It was her final “alternative facts” moment. She has never been the same from that moment until this.
And yet the world’s other half of politics’ oddest double act remains the same. Kellyanne’s husband George Conway is as steadfast and articulate on what is wrong with Donald Trump and the whole pirate ship known as the Trump Administration today as he has been from the very beginning.
Conway also understands firsthand about the Trump Organization, how small it is and how intimately Trump himself was involved in the most trivial details. “I bought an apartment once from the Trump Organization … and Donald J Trump’s signature was on [the contract]. As I later learned from press reports he paid attention, very close attention to what went on in his business.” Conway continued: “The thing to remember about the Trump Organization is it really is a small organization. Not too many people are involved in the major aspects of the business.”
Conway understands just how humiliating this all must be to a tightly-wound control freak like Donald Trump. Trump is faced with having to admit that he didn’t know what was going on in an Organization as short-fingered as his tiny hands. That’s a tough confession for a man like Trump to make, and to make it he will not be able to resist criticizing Allen Weisselberg. And therein could be Trump’s downfall.
Conway points out that Trump didn’t use email, preferring instead to give his instructions in person like a mafia boss. That means in order to establish Trump’s criminal intent it’s going to be important for the prosecution to get Weisselberg or someone inside the organization to turn state’s evidence.
Even then it’s still difficult. “The prosecution has to prove [criminal intent] beyond a reasonable doubt … so that’s why documents [also] play a big role.” A double barrelled prosecution of witnesses and documents could be the precisely needed overwhelming evidence sufficient to discharge the prosecution’s burden.
And what of Trump’s children? Conway is pessimistic about their chances too. If he were them he would be “very, very worried.” Conway explains, “There’s the question of whether or not these practices of keeping two sets of books for purposes of paying people were extended to other people. There’s apparently the suggestion that it was, and the question is whether it was extended to the family.”
It turns out that Ivanka was given the role of “consultant” for the business without any indication that she did any actual work. Was this an attempt by Trump and his daughter to evade gift tax? Conway thinks so. If it wasn’t just a felony, it was also conspiracy to commit a felony. And that could mean prison time for Ivanka as well as her father. Through it all I can’t help but wonder what Kellyanne thinks about all this. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.