Despite numerous headlines suggesting otherwise, Kellyanne Conway — Donald Trump’s former campaign manager and current senior advisor to his White House transition team — has clarified that the president-elect’s sit-down with influential members of the media was not a “disaster” or akin to a “firing squad,” as various sources indicated.
During Tuesday’s episode of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Conway revealed her impressions of the summit, which took place Monday morning at Trump Tower in New York City. She said that while the Republican’s exchanges with top journalists and industry personalities like Gayle King, George Stephanopoulos, Wolf Blitzer, Martha Raddatz, and CNN chief Jeff Zucker were “lively” and “spirited,” they were never contentious.
“I have a different view of the meeting… from my perspective it’s very simple,” Conway said. “President Trump and the media have to share joint custody of the nation and its people for the next four or eight years, so it’s highly productive and in everyone’s interest to find a way to do that.”
She further elaborated, claiming Trump often received slanted coverage from a biased media throughout the election cycle.
“I believe Donald Trump received an unprecedented deluge of criticism and, in some places, unfair coverage” she said. “But, he [will be] the president and they are the press, and they have to find a way [to cooperate]…”
Conway, 49, said the meeting largely involved discussions about Trump’s policies, his vision for his first 100 days in office, and if he’d follow through on some of the promises he made on the campaign trail. She also said reports indicating tension in the room likely came from someone who wasn’t present in the actual meeting.
“There was a receiving line for Steve Bannon,” she said, stressing the press’ positive demeanor throughout the event. “Many people wanted to meet him, talk to him, make some eye contact, exchange some business cards with him — that’s just a fact. Secondly… there was a lot of congenial conversation… nobody left there in a huff. Nobody has called me and complained that they felt that they had been bamboozled.”
Conway, who became Trump’s third campaign manager since the start of his presidential bid, also discussed the incumbent’s decision to reverse his stance on pursuing criminal charges for Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server while Secretary of State.
“[This] sends a very strong message — tone and content — to the members [of the party],” Conway said. “I think Hillary Clinton still has to face the fact that a majority of Americans don’t find her to be honest or trustworthy, but if Donald Trump can help her heal, then perhaps that’s a good thing. I think he’s thinking of many different things as he prepares to become president of the United States, and things that sound like the campaign aren’t among them.”
Closing out her appearance on the show, when asked if Trump would go as far as to appoint a Democrat to a top job in the White House, Conway’s answer was simple: “Yes.”
Morning Joe airs weekdays on MSNBC at 6 a.m. ET. Watch Conway’s full appearance on the program above.