Tag Archives: Kellyanne Conway

Book Review: Two new books on President Trump

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Two books penned by folks with access to the White House in the early days of the Trump administration have begun to fly off book shelves and online stores.

Each paints a picture of, at least in the early transitional weeks and months, a top-level staff surrounding the President that, while intelligent and talented, was seriously flawed and certainly not functioning as a team.

Sitting in the #8 slot (with a bullet) on the current New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller book list is Let Trump Be Trump” by Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie.

Released today, Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff is sure to quickly enter and rise towards the top of that list as well.

The two books deal with the same subject matter – Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States.Lewandowski and Bossie were two of Trump’s most intimate campaign advisors as he captured first the Republican nomination and then won the general election in 2016.

Their respect and admiration for the man, at least as a candidate and as a leader, appears to be beyond doubt, as revealed in this snippet from their tome:

“…Donald J. Trump is the greatest big-game player in American political history. Period. There is no second. None. Not in modern times. No one is even close. If you disagree, show us someone who has never run for office before, and watch him become the leader of the free world in spite of the media, some of the Republican establishment, and the Democratic Party all being against him. We’ll argue with you any day of the week.”

There was volatility in the early months of the Trump administration as top officials came and went with alarming regularity. This was with the notable exception of the fiercely loyal Kellyanne Conway, who always had the trust of the President.

“In the coming months, we would watch as the fundamental flaw in the Trump White House made it shake and crumble, until the whole thing split in two with the American people watching. First out  of the White House was General Mike Flynn, followed by Katie Walsh and shortly thereafter Sean Spicer. They were followed closely by Reince Preibus. Sebastian Gorka has left…We watched Anthony Scaramucci flame out…and now, (Steve) Bannon, too, is gone.”

But as Lewandowski and Bossie point out, that volatility was mostly a by-product of a man who was not a politician, who was not used to putting together a political team, being suddenly thrust into such a role.

He’s not, nor will he ever be, a politician in the traditional sense of that word. And he is not someone who goes back on his word. For Donald Trump loyalty is the currency of the realm, and nothing hurts him deeper than when someone he trusts is disloyal.

Wolff is a columnist and author who, thanks to a series of pro-Trump pieces during the campaign, was able to gain the confidence of enough staffers that he could frequently camp out in the West Wing during the first year of the Trump presidency.

The liberal news media have been parading Wolff out for interviews at any opportunity, as his book paints the President in a far less favorable light. This is, as we have all learned by now, in lock-step with their own anti-Trump agenda.

Wolff puts his own spin on the very first days of the Trump team in a piece for New York magazine released to accompany the book just two days ago:

Here, arguably, was the central issue of the Trump presidency, informing every aspect of Trumpian policy and leadership: He didn’t process information in any conventional sense. He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-­literate. He trusted his own expertise ­— no matter how paltry or irrelevant — more than anyone else’s. He was often confident, but he was just as often paralyzed, less a savant than a figure of sputtering and dangerous insecurities, whose instinctive response was to lash out and behave as if his gut, however confused, was in fact in some clear and forceful way telling him what to do. It was, said (Deputy Chief of Staff Katie) Walsh, “like trying to figure out what a child wants.”

Unlike the Lewandowski/Bossie book, which is a first-hand account of the campaign from two men who were actually working inside and having daily conversations with Trump, the Wolff book is largely his opinion of what was happening during the first year of the administration. This opinion was allegedly drawn from conversations that Wolff claims to have had with staffers.

Wolff addresses this himself in the introduction to the book pic.twitter.com/4gSebnhJCB

— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) January 3, 2018


It’s important to note what that Tweet by Benjy Sarlin of NBC News (no friends of Trump) says is contained in the introduction to Wolff’s book. “Many of the accounts…are baldly untrue” and “In other instances I have…settled on a version of events I believe to be true.

Whether predisposed to be defenders of President Trump or not, numerous folks have come out publicly charging that Wolff’s credibility is open to challenge. Some believe that allowing him any access to the White House was representative of the old “fox in a hen house” analogy.

In a “Fourth Estate” piece on Thursday for Politico, Jack Shafer opined:

“Wolff’s penetration of the White House presents two equally damning conclusions about Trump – that he’s too much of an egoist to care who might be loitering around the White House, gathering string on him, and that he’s too incurious about the world to spot a potential danger to his presidency.”

As pointed out by Kieran Corcoran of Business Insider, sources cited by Wolff in his book have come out publicly and “disputed claims made made about them.” These include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and longtime Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

As Lewandowski and Bossie point out, President Trump is not a typical politician. In fact, that was one of his major selling points to the Republican voters who handed him a surprisingly easy primary victory, and who swarmed to the polls in November of 2016.

Though he has built an enviable business empire, Trump has learned the hard way that building a political administrative team can be far more difficult. Just as he had to do at times in his role as a boss in business, Trump has found that he is going to have to fire people, or otherwise ease them out.

When it becomes clear that certain folks are not acting in the best interests of his team, in forwarding his agenda, they have to go. When this becomes obvious, Trump is unafraid to act. Both of these books make that clear.

Now, which book are you going to purchase and read, if not both? That is likely to be driven by your own already formed opinion of the President.

If you are positively disposed to the man and his policies and/or are interested in a history lesson on the inside story of an outsider rising to the highest office in the land, then you will add “Let Trump Be Trump” to your book shelf.

If you are in the camp that feels he is an abomination to the office and the nation, then “Fire and Fury” will be on your nightstand.

One thing is sure, no matter what your opinion of the President. During his first year in office, Trump has accomplished or is pushing forward the exact agenda on which he ran.

Rolling back numerous Obama-era policies and programs, reducing burdensome regulation, re-directing the courts back towards Constitutional originalists. Leading the fight on tax reform, directing tougher immigration policies and actions.

Despite the high-level staff turnovers, the Trump agenda continues to march forward. The man himself is the one indispensable piece to the puzzle. He is the unquestioned leader of what has quickly proven to be a winning team.

Trump is to this administration and its agenda what, as Lewandowski and Bossie compare him, Tom Brady is to the New England Patriots. Other pieces may come and go over time, but as long as Brady is leading them, the Pats are a Super Bowl contender. The analogy to this White House works well.

Me? I’m much more a history fan. I enjoy reading actual insider accounts of real events told by folks who were present when they happened, such as Lewandowski and Bossie. I am not at all a fan of gossipy sensationalism of the type released by Wolff.

These are not the first books written about Trump or his rise to the presidency. They will certainly not be the last. Two books, one POTUS, and more for supporters and detractors alike to digest regarding the most fascinating person to ever hold the office of President of the United States.

2016 American of the Year: Kellyanne Conway

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For a decade straight, from 2004-13, this website named an American of the Year.

With my writing emphasis switching to baseball over the last two years or so, that tradition was tabled.

Baseball is still my primary writing subject. But here at my home website, I’ll be getting back to covering political, social, spiritual and other issues once again in the coming weeks and months.

Over the course of those first ten years honoring an American of the Year, nine different men were honored, as well as one heroic group of them. The complete list is available at the end of this piece.

Now, for the first time, a woman is receiving the honor. And this particular woman is a genuine surprise, because when this year began, frankly, I had never heard of her.

In 2016, Kellyanne Conway became the first woman in the history of American politics to run a winning U.S. Presidential campaign. 

She did it in basically two and a half months, not taking over as the head of Donald Trump’s campaign until August 17, at which point the possibility of his election was very much in doubt.

Conway is actually a local girl. She was born in Camden, New Jersey as Kellyanne Elizabeth Fitzpatrick on January 20, 1967. She was raised in the Atco, New Jersey area by her single mother and other female family members after her parents divorced when she was just three years old.

“I grew up in a house with my mom and her mom, and two of my mother’s unmarried sisters,” she explained to Ronald Kessler of Newsmax back in 2008. “So four Italian Catholic women raised me.”

At age 15, Conway won the New Jersey Blueberry Princess pageant. She frequently has credited her eight summers working on a blueberry farm for developing her strong work ethic.

Conway graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., graduating magna cum laude with a degree in political science. 

She then studied at Oxford University, and was elected to the prestigious Phi Betta Kappa honors society. Then in 1992, Conway earned her law degree with honors from George Washington University. 

After graduation from law school, Conway served a clerkship with D.C. Superior Court Judge Richard Levie. Conway then got into the research and polling field for a couple of years before finally starting up her own polling company, aptly named ‘The Polling Company’, in 1995.

Over the next couple of decades, Conway made television appearances as a pundit/commentator, and worked for numerous Republican politicians, usually helping those pols efforts to appeal to female voters. One of those politicians was the late actor and Republican U.S. Senator Fred Thompson from Tennessee, with whom she was romantically linked for a time.

She also spearheaded numerous high-profile projects with ‘The Polling Company’, doing research and consultancy for major organizations such as ABC News and Major League Baseball.

In 2001, Conway married New York lawyer George Conway. The couple then built a family with four children, including twins. They now live in Alpine borough, New Jersey’s northeastern most situated county and the most expensive ZIP code in the country according to a 2012 Forbes magazine ranking.

In 2005, Conway penned a book titled “What Women Really Want” as co-author with Cellinda Lake, a female Democratic pollster.

Conway worked for the losing presidential campaign of John McCain in 2008, as well as Newt Gingrich’s failed run at the 2012 GOP nomination. In working for McCain, Conway found political inspiration in his running mate choice, Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

Per Kessler, Conway stated that Palin “signaled to many professional women, myself included, that maybe you can have it all, all at the same time; but you just need to be a very organized, time-efficient person who completely strips your life of extracurricular activities.”

In 2006, Conway had been living with her family in one of Donald Trump’s buildings when he first met the future POTUS. While serving on the board at Trump World Tower, the man himself would often show up to meetings in order to hear residents concerns, which made an impression upon her.

When Trump began to organize his run for the Republican nomination, he met with Conway and offered her a job with the campaign in March of 2015, a role that she declined to take on at the time.

Instead, Conway accepted the job of running a super PAC for the Ted Cruz campaign. But the honor and responsibility of the job as Trump’s overall campaign manager was eventually too good to pass up this past summer.

Conway got to work, tirelessly putting together candidate Trump’s schedule and doing her best to keep him on message. She also displayed unwavering loyalty in standing up for Trump when various fires erupted down the stretch that had more to do with personal attacks than the actual political issues.

In the end, all of Conway’s work was vindicated by the voting public. And that was a real key: she, her candidate, and their campaign staff simply outworked the favored Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.

In comments to MSNBC, Conway criticized Clinton for “not campaigning enough” and not having a positive message. “You need to campaign, you need to connect with the people. Hillary Clinton just could not break past that stubborn 45, 46, 48 percent in these states that President Obama carried twice.”
Trump would ultimately capture a decisive Electoral College victory by a 304-227 margin, capturing 30 of the 50 United States. And the new President has never failed to give Conway the credit that she deserves.
Everything that Donald Trump said about the populist uprising, and people really just wanting fairness and an opportunity and a voice, ended up being true,” said Conway to The Wall Street Journal. “We can talk about it being an anti-elitist election. That has some merit. But at its very core, people were talking about security.”
Following his victory, President-elect Trump named Conway to a key role with his transition team, and she will surely have a key role in the Trump administration.

Conway “played a crucial role in my victory,” Trump said in the transition team statement per Reuters. “She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message.

For that tireless and tenacious work, especially in clearly communicating the message during one of the most divisive presidential campaigns in American history – especially in light of the ultimate victory – Kellyanne Conway is named as the first woman and the 11th overall American of the Year.

2004 – Pat Tillman
2005 – Bill O’Reilly
2006 – Rev. Billy Graham
2007 – P/O Chuck Cassidy (for the American police officer)
2008 – George W. Bush
2009 – Glenn Beck
2010 – Ron Paul
2011 – Seal Team 6
2012 – Michael Phelps

2013 – Ted Cruz

2014-15 (none named)