If you woke up Monday from a coma that caused you to miss the presidential campaign and the first two months of Donald Trump's presidency, then you may have never experienced a Kellyanne Conway interview. But you could catch up on the phenomenon by watching just one TV appearance by the counselor to the president — her latest on CNN.
You missed the whole “alternative facts” thing? No prob. “I'm not in the job of having evidence” — a line Conway delivered to Chris Cuomo on Monday morning — should cover the concept.
Never seen Conway take an unsubstantiated claim and state it as fact? “We know that General Flynn was wiretapped” is a prime example. (Pre-inauguration phone calls between Michael Flynn, who resigned as national security adviser last month, and Russia's ambassador to the United States were intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies because the ambassador was wiretapped.)
Haven't witnessed Conway's unparalleled ability to twist a journalist's words in a way that frames the media as an enemy? Get ready for a clinic.
During one exchange, Cuomo pressed Conway to explain remarks she made Sunday to the Bergen Record when asked if she knows whether Trump Tower was wiretapped during the campaign, as the president alleged without evidence earlier this month.
“There was an article that week that talked about how you can surveil people through their phones, through their — certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways,” Conway told the New Jersey newspaper. “And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera. We know that is just a fact of modern life.”
On CNN, Conway offered a clarification: “I don't believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign.”
Cuomo then asked, “Why were you doing that?” and remarked that her statement to the Bergen Record “seemed to be an effective way of putting more doubt on a situation. That's what it came across as.”
“Maybe to you and maybe to other people who don't necessarily want Donald Trump to be the president,” Conway replied.
There it is. In an instant, Conway managed to spin a perfectly legitimate question into an attack that could come only from someone who opposes Trump. Cuomo didn't let Conway's tactic go unchallenged.
“That is just not fair, okay?” he said. " My questioning of you, my questioning of his baseless claim about wiretapping is not about not wanting the president to be president. That's unfair, and it's hurtful because you are feeding people's animosity. Why even put it out there?”
Later, a discussion of the reasons behind proposed increases in health-care premiums produced this back-and-forth:
CONWAY: The biggest reason of all is the disaster of Obamacare, and you know it.
CUOMO: But that's just a slogan. You have 20 million more covered now. You have a rate of increase of cost for health care that is less than before Obamacare.
CONWAY: You just told millions of Americans that don't have health care that they're just a slogan. That's just not true. He wants to help them.
CUOMO: No, I didn't. Listen, Kellyanne, I did not just tell anybody that they are just a slogan. That's what gets you in trouble. I am not someone who doesn't want President Trump to be president so I'm asking tough questions; I'm not someone who's calling people a slogan.
CONWAY: You're taking things way too personally.
CUOMO: You just — well, you said it for a reason, though, right?
Yes, she did. Conway falsely accused Cuomo of saying people are a slogan to perpetuate a favorite Trump narrative: The elite media do not understand or care about the kind of decent, hard-working folks who voted for Trump.
This is how Conway operates. And her boss loves it.