Former FBI director James Comey was the latest person to drop a bombshell interview about Donald Trump on television, and this time the White House was prepared, unleashing Kellyanne Conway across the morning media shows where she alternately suggested Comey might have swung the election Trump's way and then later laughed at the very idea. It was so very Kellyanne.
The spin was real Monday as Conway first chatted with George Stephanopoulos for "Good Morning America" and then shifted over to CNN where she and Chris Cuomo got into a verbal sparring match that lasted nearly a full half hour. As we've come to expect from Conway, she was all over the place, ducking and dodging direct questions and mostly sticking to a consistent narrative.
All of her talking-head shenanigans got her name trending on Twitter, and she even found herself having to backtrack and clarify the comment she made about Comey swinging the election. We've gathered up some of her more outrageous comments below.
When Kellyanne Conway first made the comment on "Good Morning America' that James Comey's very public announcement about reopening the Hillary Clinton email investigation may have swung the election Trump's way, she certainly seemed quite sincere.
"He admitted to you that he purposely leaked information to a friend so that it would get into the media and trigger a special counsel," Conway said to Stephanopoulos. "This guy swung an election. He thought the wrong person would win [Comey thought Clinton was going to win]. His people in his household wanted the other person to win.] and now at the end of your interview, George, he gave a free political commercial telling people to go out there and vote against the president and his interests."
By the time she appeared on CNN an hour or so later, though, she approached that statement with completely different body language. It was said very directly on "GMA," but for Cuomo she said, "The Democrats are mad at Comey for lots of reasons. They blame him for her loss. I saw Jim Comey last night and I thought, 'This guy swung an election? I don't think so.'"
Either she'd meant to be more sarcastic the first time, or after realizing what she said, course corrected with Cuomo to add sarcasm so she could spin the story the other way. She subsequently came out and did a little revisionist history, telling The Daily Beast, "I rolled my eyes and said 'Really, this guy swung an election?' It was sarcastic." That's what she did on CNN, but not "GMA."
This misleading headline should include an eye roll and question mark. Point I made on 3 shows is that we are supposed to believe THIS guy swung an election? I don't think so. Kellyanne Conway slams Comey: 'This guy swung an election' - ABC News https://t.co/f0GdDE6Tvd
Conway did not appreciate the more sensational elements of Comey's book or his "GMA" interview, telling Stephanopoulous, "What we don't understand is why if you're going to meet the President of the United States, the President-elect, you're not saying my ticker list is I've gotta tell him about the Russian interference, I must tell him about about the investigations that are ongoing. Instead, he takes time to talk about the size of his hands and the length of his tie. That's really gutter."
Cuomo actually agreed with her on this point, finding those salacious details irrelevant, but Conway kept going back to them again and again, as she did the limited number of times Comey had face-time with the president. No matter how many times Cuomo tried to reiterate that these issues were irrelevant to the discussion he was trying to have with her, they were talking points Conway was not going to let lie in her attempts to discredit Comey.
Stepheanopoulos was on top of his game with Conway, fact-checking her as they rolled along. At one point, he had to shut her down after she said, "The president has made very clear that he never asked anyone to interfere in an investigation and Jim Comey had admitted that in testimony that nobody here had ever [asked him to] drop the investigation."
"I have to stop you there because that is not correct either," Stephanopoulos told her, clarifying that while Comey said under oath that the Justice Department had not asked him to stop the investigation, there was no mention of Trump or his direct team.
"Don't Just Throw Out These Soundbites to Go Viral"
As Cuomo and Conway got into their verbal sparring, they started debating the impact Comey's Hillary Clinton email investigation announcement may or may not have had on the 2016 election. Cuomo insisted that the timing of the announcement -- 11 days prior to the election -- "wound up hurting her badly," but Conway wasn't buying it, arguing that "she was never at 50 percent in any of the polls in those swing states."
"Certainly higher than Trump was," Cuomo said, which set Conway off. "Don't interrupt me. Don't do that," she chastised him. "Don't just throw out these sound bites to go viral without letting me finish a sentence."
"Listen, you're the one who goes viral," Cuomo shot back.
"You Are Struggling to Answer the Question"
At another point in his sprawling battle with Conway, Cuomo asked Conway if she would say definitively that Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller are safe in their jobs as the investigation continues. "Oh stop it. The president makes the decisions around here," she said. When Cuomo asked if that meant it could happen, Conway said, "No, I'm saying-- You want to say, 'Oh, Kellyanne struggles to answer questions. She will not deny.' Why?"
"You are struggling to answer the question," Cuomo said, and she then countered by asking him if he was safe in his job at CNN and went on a long tangent. When he tried to redirect her, she then told him that she was safe in her job.
"It's like you're having a different conversation," Cuomo said. The clearest answer he could get about their jobs was when she said, "The president alone makes personnel decisions. There are no plans to do that at the moment."
Conway reiterated on both "Good Morning America" and CNN the notion that Comey enjoyed being alone with the president, or in the "proximity of power," as she told Stephanopoulos. "He loves having dinner alone with the president," she said. "If he hadn't he should have invited someone or asked who else was going to be there. He loved being along in the Oval Office, he wanted a piece of it, he loved being in the proximity of power until he got fired and then wrote a book."
She described Comey as someone who is always seeking attention and power and influence even outside the spheres of what his job entailed. "The president is very confounded that this person is always able to divert the spotlight to him, whether it's the July 5th press conference, or it's the October 28th announcement about the Hillary Clinton investigation being reopened," she told Stephanopoulous. Certainly there was a lot of confusion as to whether or not that announcement was politically motivated.
Conway can't seem to agree with herself, though, on whether or not it had any influence on the election. But she had her soundbite about Comey, and she used it again on CNN, telling Cuomo, "Jim Comey loves to be in the center of power. He loves to divert the spotlight to himself and be in the center of power."
"Don't Poison People"
During her discussion with Cuomo on CNN about Mueller and Rosenstein's job security, Conway pivoted abruptly to say, "You want this to be about something other than what the whole day is about here, which is whether or not this president has complied with an investigation that your network and others promised would lead to evidence of collusion between the campaign." Cuomo wasn't asking about compliance, but rather whether or not Trump might fire Mueller, but he couldn't let this comment slide.
"We never promised anything like that, Kellyanne," he said. "Why do you try to poison people's minds like that, KellyAnne? That's not helpful. We need more common ground, not division. Don't poison people."
Shortly thereafter, Conway took another random tangent. "By the way, there are parts of the book that haven't been covered where he goes after Condaleezza Rice, Loretta Lynch. What's his problem with powerful women doing their jobs, I wonder?" she asked, adding with a smirk, "Was that addressed at the Women's March?"
Cuomo simply ignored that attempt to redirect the conversation.
A Meme Is Born
It happened so quickly most people probably didn't even notice it, but at one point Conway licked her lips while talking with Cuomo on CNN. That's no big deal, right? People do it all the time, and especially when they're talking, But it was how she licked them, and how far out her tongue came, that captured the attention of people on Twitter, who quickly captured a screenshot.
.@NewDay They say your nose will grow when you lie 🤥 Trumps Chief Counselor Kellyanne Conway PROVES that when ALL YOU DO IS LIE, it's not your nose but YOUR TONGUE 👅 that grows. pic.twitter.com/4QhgrOPS77
Why do you idiots keep putting kellyanne conway on tv? She looks and behaves like she crawled out of a ditch to rant at a mailbox about the CIA secretly placing needles in all her clothes. pic.twitter.com/lmfWRksp8m