Kellyanne Conway: Was It Foot-In-Mouth or an Ethics Violation?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Gage Skidmore

President Harry Truman’s daughter wanted to be a singer. When one reviewer gave her a bad review, her Daddy reacted as Daddies do and sent the man a letter in which he called him an obscene name.

I don’t really think this is a straight-across comparison between the situation with President Trump and the recent cancellation by Nordstrom of his daughter’s fashion line. I don’t see them as the same thing.

Margaret Truman was a young woman in her first trembling attempts at building a professional life. Ivanka Trump is a multi-billionaire, who, as Kellyanne Conway has stated, has run parts of her father’s business empire. This is not a trembling young thing, just starting out. And it’s not about one performance. It’s a business decision based on what is a big business venture of starting a fashion line.

On the other hand, the two situations bear enough symmetry that I’m not disturbed by President Trump’s twitter tantrum over Nordstrom cancelling his daughter’s fashion line. If he in any way tries to use the powers of his office to push her business ventures, then I’ll have another opinion. But a father, shooting his mouth off in defense of his daughter, doesn’t bother me.

The real story here involves Kellyanne Conway, the pro life woman who had a great deal to do with President Trump’s win, and who has been his mouthpiece for months now. Time was, I was a big supporter of Mrs Conway. I saw her as the pro life canary in the Trumpian mine shaft. I backed down about writing about the election largely because someone I trust with National Right to Life assured me that KellyAnne Conway was proof that candidate Trump would stick to his new position on abortion.

I really admired Mrs Conway at that time.

But she has lost a lot of her luster, at least with me, because of her continuous lying. I know that it is impossible to go out in public and defend President Trump without lying, but it gets tedious, listening to her rip off one big windy after another.

People become what they do. Even if she was an honest person before she got into this thing, she’s going to be changed for the worse by it. To put it simply, you cannot lie and lie and lie without becoming a liar.

Then, when she did that little drama with Governor Romney over the Secretary of State position, I began to think of her as a woman who bought into President Trump’s sadism. In short, I’ve gone from a Kellyanne Conway admirer to someone who pretty much dismisses whatever she says as probably a lie.

So, it’s a big surprise to me that I’m stepping up in her defense with this blog post today. Evidently, Mrs Conway, in her role as President Trump’s mouthpiece, launched a defense of Ivanka Trump and her cancelled clothing line. She rambled a lot, but the gist of it was that Ivanka is great.

Ok. So far, so good.

Then, she added a punch line, urging people to go out and “Buy Ivanka.”

That was a stupid thing to say. Mrs Conway was speaking as the Senior Counsel for the President of the United States, and she opened her yap and told people to go out and put money in the president’s daughter’s purse. No doubt about it, it was an ethics violation.

But it was also — or it certainly appeared to be — an off-the-cuff comment that wasn’t said with the intent to break any laws. It was a foot-in-mouth moment from someone who spends a lot of time in front of cameras.

I do not think that Mrs Conway committed an intentional ethics violation. I think she just accidentally said the wrong thing.

I can tell you right now, I couldn’t do what Mrs Conway does. If I spent that much time running my mouth in front of cameras, they’d have a lot better stuff than this to use against me. It’s just too easy to put your foot wrong — or perhaps I should say, put your mouth wrong — and come out with something that can be blown up to big proportions and used to do you harm.

Mrs Conway has been having a lot of bad press moments lately. There’s her ridiculous statement that the Trump administration was offering “alternative facts.” Then, we have the “Bowling Green Massacre” goof. And now this.

She’s obviously getting worn down by being in front of the cameras so much. And frankly, the strain of continuously lying may be eating at her, too.

Whatever’s going on, I think formal ethics charges are way over the top. If she or the President do more than this, if, say, they begin to use the White House to promote Ivanka’s business, then that’s another matter. But I think this one-time foot-in-mouth should be called out so that it doesn’t happen again, and then dropped.

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