Kellyanne Conway, the first woman to run a successful U.S. presidential campaign, said Thursday that she doesn’t consider herself a feminist “in a classic sense” because the term is associated with being “anti-male” and “pro-abortion.”
Conway, who now serves as White House counselor to President Trump, made her comments at the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor in Maryland, where she also praised Trump’s hiring of women and encouraged women to run for president.
“It’s difficult for me to call myself a feminist in a classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male, and it certainly is very pro-abortion, and I’m neither anti-male or pro-abortion,” Conway said during a conversation onstage with conservative commentator Mercedes Schlapp. “So, there’s an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices. … I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances.”
Conway also decried what she termed a lot of women having “a problem with women in power.”
“You know, this whole sisterhood, this whole ‘let’s go march for women’s rights’ and, you know, just constantly talking about what women look like or what they wear or making fun of their choices or presuming that they’re not as powerful as the men around,” Conway said. “This presumptive negativity about women in power, I think, is very unfortunate.”
Conway was widely credited for helping steer an unwieldy Trump campaign to victory in November against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who would have been the first female U.S. president.
Since arriving in the White House, Conway has been dogged by several controversies, including instances where she has appeared on camera on behalf of Trump and said things that were contradicted by other administration officials. She also drew criticism for endorsing the clothing line of Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, in a television interview conducted from the White House briefing room.
During the conversation at CPAC, Conway described Trump as “a family man” and praised him for promoting women, both in his business ventures and as president.
“Donald Trump is someone who is not fully understood for how compassionate and what a great boss he is to women,” Conway said.
A mother of four, Conway said she faces the same challenges as all women in finding a balance between work and family, a dynamic she said Trump understands.
Conway said she also looks forward to the arrival of a female president one day.
“I would tell my three daughters and your daughters, or you, that the job for first female president of the United States remains open, so go for it,” she said.