- Kellyanne Conway says she was “surprised” when Trump asked her to be his press secretary.
- In her new book, Conway details how Trump offered her the role after she won the 2016 election.
- “I don’t like asking questions to the press in the White House briefing room,” she wrote.
Election night in November 2016 was a turbulent event for Donald Trump’s campaign team, which worked hard to send him to the White House despite most political observers predicting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s victory.
During the latter part of the 2016 race, Kellyanne Conway—the pollster veteran who ran the former president’s 2016 presidential campaign—became one of the most visible Republican agents along the way.
After announcing the race for Trump, the newly elected president took note of Conway’s massive sacrifice for his campaign when the GOP party celebrated at the Hilton Midtown Manhattan, New York, which she described in detail in her memoirs, Here’s the Deal.
Seated in a quiet corner of the lobby, far from the Victory Party reporters and extremists still eager to pressure me, I assured Trump that I would conduct a round of ten television interviews beginning at 6 a.m. and address Trump Tower studio at 5:30 a.m. Like I said. I’d like to talk he was watching. “None of us will sleep,” she wrote.
Amid the excitement, Trump offered Conway one of his administration’s most iconic roles.
“You have to become a press secretary,” he said at that moment.
Conway, known for her willingness to speak for Trump on cable TV, was not prepared for such an offer.
“It surprised me. White House press secretary is one of the most coveted positions of any president. Formidable international media presence. My box seat for creating history. A good start for the next chapter in life. I wrote politely.”
She replied to Trump: “We’ll discuss that later.”
He replied, “You are good at that.”
But Conway didn’t think the role she played was in her power.
“I’m going to be a terrible publicist,” she wrote, “I said to myself, gently shaking my head.”
She continued, “Contrary to his claims of flattery, I did not share Trump’s assessment of my abilities in this regard. From my point of view, I was often in the news, but also off script because there was no script. I didn’t want to.” Communications (or planning) often occupied by women, especially given the confidence and authority they have already demonstrated to me in a managerial and leadership role.
Conway said the idea of working in the boardroom all the time isn’t attractive.
“Fox holes were not the natural habitat. Answering questions from the press in the conference room of the White House made no appeal to me, no matter how prestigious the title or how famous it was.”
She added, “As a pollster, I’ve spent my entire career asking questions and listening to answers – not the other way around. If a CEO or politician wanted to know how a product or platform was performing at Peoria, I was the one who jumped on the plane eagerly to find out and then connect the dots from For them, it was the people’s voice, not my own, that drove the analysis.
Conway served in the West Wing for the majority of Trump’s tenure, leaving press secretary positions to Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Stephanie Grisham and Kylie McEnany.
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