A report by the Office of Special Counsel described Kellyanne Conway’s offenses as “egregious, notorious and ongoing.”
Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits political speech in her official capacity, several times over the past year, a federal watchdog announced Thursday.
The Office of the Special Counsel recommended that Conway be removed from her position. Special Counsel Henry Kerner released a letter Thursday claiming that Conway’s “disregard for the restrictions the Hatch Act places on executive branch employees is unacceptable.”
The White House accused the agency of flawed reasoning and said its actions were violating Conway’s right to free speech.
The special counsel laid out several occasions dating to 2017, including posts from her Twitter account @KellyannePolls and broadcast interviews, in which Conway spoke out about the 2018 midterm election and 2020 Democratic candidates. Her comments range from criticizing Former Vice President Joe Biden to calling on voters to head out to the polls in the 2018 election. She also repeatedly predicted that the president would win re-election.
‘Egregious, notorious and ongoing’: Watchdog agency urges firing of Kellyanne Conway over political remarks
Here are all the instances – places and comments – the special counsel said Conway violated the Hatch Act:
Fox News: ‘What exactly have you accomplished?’
Conway, in her official capacity as a senior aide, was asked to respond to the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from a nuclear pact with Russia during aFeb. 1 Fox News interview.
During the interview, Conway was also asked to give the Trump Administration’s official reaction to Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., jumping into the 2020 race as a Democrat. Conway, who is a New Jersey native, questioned whether Booker was qualified and criticized him for running against a record number of women seeking the Democratic nomination for president.
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“Welcome, the water seems warm. Welcome to dive in along with I don’t know, 10, 15, 30 other Democratic candidates. I would ask him a couple of questions today as he runs from a native of New Jersey. One is, what’s wrong with the candidates that are already in there?
“What’s your objection to Kamala Harris running, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, these others who have already announced? Tulsi Gabbard, maybe,” Conway said. “If he were a Republican running against them, they would immediately call him a sexist for running against these women in the Democratic field.”
“But I’d also ask him what exactly have you accomplished that qualifies you to be the Commander-in-chief and President of the United States,” she said.
Fox News: ‘Anything times zero still equals zero’
During a separate interview on Fox News on Feb. 11, Conway gave an interview where she discussed negotiations between the White House and Congress on border funding to end the government shutdown.
During the interview, Fox News host Steve Doocy named eight Democratic candidates who had announced their bids and commented that the list could still continue to grow.
“Keep it coming,” she responded. “Just remember, anything times zero still equals zero. If you don’t have good ideas that matter to the country, if you can’t connect with people the way now-President Donald Trump did all through 2015 and ’16.”
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Conway also commented specifically on some of the presidential candidates, including Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
“Amy Klobuchar seems to be a very nice person, I guess unless you’re on her staff,” Conway said. “But you can change the A to an O and get ‘O my’ instead of Amy there.”
“Elizabeth Warren spent decades, folks, decades, appropriating somebody’s heritage and ethnicity… and she’s been lying about it,” Conway said.
Conway also criticized Gillibrand for waiting “for the cameras to roll” to eat fired chicken for the first time ever.
“I mean this is just silly stuff,” Conway said.
Fox News: ‘Just presidential woodchips’
Conway joined Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on March 13 to give the White House response to criticisms from lawmakers, including Republicans, on Trump’s national emergency declaration to obtain funding for his border wall.
But, once again, Conway criticized 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
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Unprompted, the White House senior aide criticized Warren, saying “she tried to appropriate somebody else’s ethnicity.”
“I don’t see any presidential timber yet, just presidential woodchips,” Conway said.
Fox News: ‘Hot mess in the Democratic Party’
During an interview on March 18 on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” Conway gave a White House response to a mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand, as well as border security.
Conway was also asked about criticisms from Axelrod on Trump’s 2020 campaign. She defended the president’s reelection strategy and then questioned “which Democrat, in fact, is going to bust through Trump’s 306 electoral votes.”
“Now we have 13, we have the baker’s dozen running. Biden maybe will get in because I guess none of them think the other can actually beat Donald Trump,” she continued. “There’s no strategy I see.”
She added: “You’ve got Beto O’Rourke and you’ve got Cory Booker promising that they would nominate a woman to be the VP. Do they not think the women running are good enough to be president?
“So there’s a whole hot mess in the Democratic Party beginning with right over the bridge here in Virginia,” she concluded.
Easter Egg Roll: ‘If your message is zero, it’s a big zero’
Conway during the White House’s Easter Egg Roll festivities on April 22 gave an interview to Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” to comment on a mass shooting in Sri Lanka, First Lady Melania Trump’s “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign, and the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russia interference in the 2016 election.
However, Conway, unprompted, brought up the 2020 candidates while talking about Mueller’s investigation. She noted that Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., had jumped into the race.
“Whether it’s one, whether it’s nineteen, whether it’s fifty, anything times zero equals zero. Simple multiplication,” she said. “So fifty Democrats can run. Twenty of them, nineteen are now running. But if your message is zero, it’s a big zero.”
Fox News: ‘Bernie Sanders’ ideas are terrible’
Conway during another Fox News interview, this one on April 24, gave a White House response on Trump’s attempts to resist subpoenas from House Democrats for administration officials, such as Attorney General Bill Barr. In addition, Conway spoke about the push by some House Democrats to impeach the president and the White House’s actions to end the opioid crisis.
Conway was also asked about Biden expecting to officially announce his presidential bid. When asked what the president thinks about a potential contest against Biden, Conway said: “Bring it on, bring them all on.”
“I think Biden’s timing actually benefits him because the Democrats seem really desperate to find an alternative to Bernie Sanders, who is the clear announced frontrunner right now in the polling and on the ground,” she said.
“Bernie Sanders has a lot in common with Donald Trump, which is he doesn’t really care what his party thinks about his candidacy at this point in the primaries.
“The only difference between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump is Bernie Sanders’ ideas are terrible for America and Donald Trump is a much better candidate,” she said.
CNN: ‘Doesn’t have a vision for the future’
During an interview on CNN’s “Smerconish” on April 27, Conway spoke about Trump’s previous comments on the 2017 protests in Charlottesville, which included a white nationalistsmarch. The president at the time said there were “fine people” on both sides.
She went on to talk about Biden, who criticized Trump’s response to the protests in Charlottesville in the announcement of his presidential campaign.
“He doesn’t want to be held to account for his record, or lack thereof,” she said of Biden. “I found his announcement video unfortunate, certainly a missed opportunity. But also just very dark, and spooking. He doesn’t have a vision for the future.”
CNN: ‘He has no vision’
Just one day later, Conway was on CNN again to talk about what the administration is doing to fight back against the rising rate of anti-Semitic crimes in the United States. She later in the interview once again defended Trump’s comments on Charlottesville.
She again brought up Biden, saying that the former vice president “brought it up because he has no vision and he doesn’t want to be held to account for the Obama-Biden legacy.”
CNN host Jake Tapper interrupted Conway, saying he wanted to go back to his question about the “fine people” Trump was talking about at the Charlottesville marches.
Conway, once more, brought up Biden.
“For Joe Biden, who has been in public life, who was elected at 29, to come out and have no vision, no accountability for the Obama-Biden record, didn’t even mention President Obama, but mentions Charlottesville to try to use that for political purposes,” Conway said.
Tapper again tried to direct the conversation away from Biden. However, Conway kept going back to the 2020 Democratic candidate.
White House: ‘thanks for the free commercial’
According to the Kerner’s report, Conway was speaking to reporters outside the White House for about 30 minutes. A reporter asked Conway: “You brought up Joe Biden several times unprompted. Do you guys see him —?”
“How was it unprompted? He’s the frontrunner!” Conway replied.
She went on to call the Democratic electorate “sexist” and “racist” because Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., were the frontrunners.
One of President Trump’s top advisors Kellyanne Conway appears to have violated a federal law, not once but twice. Veuer’s Sam Berman has the full story.
She said that “two old white straight men career politicians” have been leading in polls because the electorate has “a problem with the rest of the field.”
Kerner’s report also cites another gaggle outside the White House on May 1, where Conway brought up Biden unprompted.
“So thanks for the free commercial about all the things Joe Biden didn’t get done for the eight years he was vice president,” she told reporters.
Twitter: ‘The stakes are high’
Several of Conway’s tweets were also flagged by the special counsel for her support of Republican candidates during the 2018 midterm elections.
“Missed you, #Michigan!” she wrote. “The stakes are high. The choice is clear.”
Just three days before the election, Conway sent out another tweet saying to vote for the GOP.
Since February, Conway has also repeatedly tweeted about Democratic presidential candidates.
She questioned Booker’s decision to run for president in a tweet on Feb. 1.
Several days later, Conway also tweeted about the president’s re-election, saying “I’mWithHim” — a diss to his former 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s campaign slogan was “I’m With Her.”
Conway also repeatedly criticized Warren in tweets posted on Feb. 11 and March 13. In a tweet on March 31, Conway also bashed Biden. That same day she also retweeted a video from Fox News Sunday, that quoted Conway saying “If anybody just types in ‘Creepy Uncle Joe Videos’ you come up with a treasure trove.”
She also replied to a tweet on May 7 from Donald Trump Jr., who was criticizing Obama’s economy compared to his father.
“You mean the Obama-Biden economy,” Conway wrote.
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