This is the photo that’s getting all the attention: Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to President Trump, sitting with her feet up on a couch in the Oval Office on Monday, reviewing photos on her phone in comfort as a crowd of people join the president for a photo behind his desk.
“Kellyanne Conway has been a trusted advisor and strategist who played a crucial role in my victory. She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message. I am pleased that she will be part of my senior team in the West Wing. -Donald Trump
Kellyanne Conway was named Donald Trump’s campaign manager Aug. 17, 2016, making her the first woman to ever run a Republican presidential campaign. She traveled with Trump throughout his campaign in its last months and advised him, as well as appeared frequently on TV to speak on his behalf.
Conway, 49, is a veteran political operative, who’s spent the last three decades advising Republicans on how to appeal to female voters. In fact, she was already doing this for the Trump campaign before he tapped her to be his campaign manager. On Dec. 22, 2016, Conway was named counselor to the president.
- She is very well-educated.
Conway graduated magna cum laude from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., earning a degree in political science, according to CNBC. She then studied at Oxford University and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, a prestigious honors society, and later earned a law degree with honors from George Washington University Law School.
- She’s a former pageant winner.
Conway grew up in Atco, New Jersey, a town in the southern part of the state, not far from Atlantic City. In 1982, she won the New Jersey Blueberry Princess pageant, according to the conservative news site Newsmax. But, as Conway told Newsmax in 2008, she was not only a pageant winner but also named the World Champion Blueberry Packer, because she spent eight summers packing blueberries on a farm. She was known as the fastest packer.
- She’s married with four children.
Conway married George T. Conway III, a New York lawyer, in 2001. The couple has four children, according to CNN, including twins. Prior to marrying Conway, she was romantically linked to the late Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, according to New York magazine, a Republican lawmaker and actor who starred in Law & Order as well as numerous movies.
- She’s worked extensively with Republican lawmakers.
Conway is president and CEO of the Polling Company, which she founded in 1995. Her company often works with Republican candidates to appeal to female voters and the client list, according to CNN, reads like a who’s who of conservative politicians and organizations: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Newt Gingrich’s former presidential campaign, Reps. Steve King and Michele Bachmann, FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, National Rifle Association, and Family Research Council.
- She was raised by women.
Conway’s parent divorced when she was 3 years old, according to Newsmax. “I grew up in a house with my mom and her mom, and two of my mother’s unmarried sisters,” she explained. “So four Italian Catholic women raised me.”
- She’s known Trump for a decade and is now described as “the Trump whisperer.”
Conway met Trump in 2006, when she was living in one of his buildings, according to the Washington Post. She even served on the condo board of the Trump World Tower in Manhattan. Trump, she told the Post, was surprisingly hands on, even showing up to meetings to hear residents’ concerns. Over the years, the Post continued, Trump would call her to say he’d seen her on TV and ask her opinion on a topic.
The pair met again in March 2015 to discuss his presidential bid. She said Trump offered her a job on his campaign, but she declined over fears of how the public would view the partnership.
- She worked on behalf of Ted Cruz before joining Trump’s campaign.
After rebuffing Trump, Conway went to work running a Ted Cruz super PAC, Keep the Promise 1, which sought to raise money in support of the candidate, according to CNN. The super PAC was later rebranded in June to Defeat Crooked Hillary, Rolling Stone said. Conway also made the maximum personal donation allowed to Cruz last fall: $5,400, CNN reported.
- She wrote a book titled What Women Really Want.
In 2005, Conway co-authored the book What Women Really Want: How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live along with Democratic strategist Celinda Lake. “By delving beneath the radioactive, hot-button issues,” the book’s Amazon description reads, “Lake and Conway discovered common causes with which women are inventing a new age of opportunity — doing it their way and, in the process, improving life for all Americans.”
- She employs terms like “fake news” and “alternative facts.”
Conway uses terms like “fake news” and “alternative facts” regularly to obscure the truth. She appeared on Meet the Press on Jan. 22 to say that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer lying about the crowd size at the inauguration was just him presenting an “alternative fact.”
- She is strongly anti-abortion.
Though she told the Washington Post she knows women who have had abortions and doesn’t judge them, Conway has long been associated with the anti-abortion movement. As a consultant, she advised clients to focus on what they saw on an ultrasound in talking about their positions. “The out-of-sight, out-of-mind mantra that propelled the pro-choice movement for decades is forever gone,” she told the New York Times. She spoke at the 2017 March for Life, an annual anti-abortion rally.
On February 6, CNN tweeted that she had been offered to them as a guest on State of the Union, but they passed. Conway disputed that claim, saying she couldn’t do Sunday shows because of family obligations.
On February 15, 2017, the Washington Post reported that Conway would no longer be booked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “We know for a fact she tries to book herself on this show,” Co-host Mika Brzezinski said. “I won’t do it, ‘cuz I don’t believe in fake news or information that is not true. And that is — every time I’ve ever seen her on television, something’s askew, off or incorrect.”