I’m waiting for the Trump-era White House janitor’s memoir. In the meantime, Kellyanne Conway’s book of the same genre, “Here’s the Deal,” is due out in July. With advance copies going out to reviewers, masochists who didn’t get lied to enough are now clamouring for pre-orders.
There are generally 3 kinds of Trump-era books. Exposés written by good guys, like Mary Trump or Michael Wolff, exposés written by former allies like Michael Cohen, and putrid hagiographies written by the likes of Sean Spicer. I suspect Kellyanne’s is mostly of the latter category. But it’s just like Kellyanne Conway to want it a little bit both ways, and one dubious anecdote has emerged from her book that makes it seem a little too much like that.
During the infamous revelation of the Access Hollywood tape, where Trump admitted to Billy Bush that, among other things, he likes to sexually assault women, Kellyanne paints herself as the tough hero who stood up to an uncertain Trump. According to Kellyanne, Trump believed that the tape was going to sink his candidacy.
“Should I get out?” Conway recalled Trump asking her on October 8, 2016, a day after the decade-old tape was released. Kellyanne squared her shoulders (and her narrative hyperbole) and stood up to the quaking candidate. She blithely informed him that if he backed out now he’d throw the whole thing to Hillary. Besides, with the election less than a month away early voting had already begun.
In the midst of this alleged conversation she also managed to excoriate Trump for the 10 year old conversation, claiming she called his comments “disgusting” and “reprehensible” to his face, despite vigorously defending them on television at the time. In other words, in eerily Trumpian fashion, Kellyanne Conway paints herself as the MAGA hero who saved Trump’s candidacy, despite her hypocritical public statements at the time.
But here’s the actual deal: I don’t believe a word of it. The idea that anyone, let alone Kellyanne Conway, would appeal to Donald Trump’s patriotism and concern for the voters when he possesses neither is laughable. And the idea that Trump cared about winning the presidency was equally laughable.
Donald Trump didn’t want to win the presidency, he wanted to lose and claim the election was stolen from him. He was using the whole thing as a publicity stunt. When he did finally win it was as much a shock to him as to the rest of us. At his victory speech he looked more like a man attending a funeral. So when it comes to alternative facts, clearly Kellyanne Conway isn’t finished with us. That surprises me not at all.
There are eight million self-serving memoirs emerging from the Trump years in the naked city of alternative facts, this has been another one. 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.