It took less than a month, but we already (finally?) have a major resignation from within President Trump’s inner circle, Mike Flynn as National Security Advisor. As I discussed with David Frum on my weekly Sunday podcast, this was something that, given the factual record, I was amazed had not already happened.
There are many important aspects to this story. Did Trump know about or facilitate Flynn’s call to Russia and his subsequent lying to Vice President Pence about it? Why are Republican leaders going out of their way to not fully investigate this potentially very serious matter? Why can’t press secretary Sean Spicer remotely explain the timeline of events or logic behind how it was finally decided that Flynn would resign? What does all of this say about Trump’s self-proclaimed magic touch when it comes to hiring the “best” people, which many voters hung their hat on in order to justify voting for him? And if Trump is supposedly a genius who tweets distractions so we won’t focus on other more damaging stories, why has he been incredibly quiet the last two days on Twitter?
All of these are extremely compelling questions which I may take up in the future (I wish I trusted that the news media was competent enough, and the Trump administration transparent enough, to make sure we eventually got sensible answers). However, right now I want to examine what all of this Flynn business says about Trump’s most famous “counselor,” Kellyanne Conway.
In short, I believe we now know that she is largely a fraud.
What I mean by this is that I no longer believe that she is truly in Trump’s most inner circle of advisors, nor do I think she is in the loop on critical decision-making. I have long suspected this to be the case for two basic reasons. First, she spends way too much time on television to possibly be involved in everything going on at the true center of power (her scattershot appearance with Anderson Cooper regarding the “Russian Dossier” was the first clear sign to me she was out of the loop). Secondly, she brags way too much about her access to the president and how important she really is.
Anyone who understands basic human nature realizes that when people brag, it is usually a sign of tremendous insecurity. Really rich guys don’t need to tell you how wealthy they are (thus eliminating Donald Trump). Guys who talk a lot about sexual exploits are likely inadequate in that area. And people who desperately want you to know that they are very significant figures are probably running a scam.
I have always been struck by Conway’s remarkable insecurity and desperate need for attention. It seems that this quality in her was the inspiration for SNL’s “Fatal Attraction” skit from this Saturday. As with most frauds, if you put them under pressure and keep close enough watch, the truth will eventually come out. It seems this is exactly what happened with Conway over the past couple of days.
Here is a quick review:
- Yesterday, not long before Flynn resigned (and long after all the relevant information was already known) Conway claimed that Flynn had Trump’s full support. This was after refusing to comment on his situation over the weekend. It now seems like she was simply guessing all along.
- This morning she got further exposed by Matt Lauer on the Today Show when it was clear that devoid of her usual spunk/confidence, she had very little clue what was really going on.
- She had a similar experience on GMA where she didn’t even understand the basic facts (real or even “alternative”) of the situation.
- She then felt the need to publicly respond to those who were starting to notice her very bad day and putting together the pieces of a puzzle which add up to her being remarkably irrelevant.
- Then, in what had to be a remarkably easy decision, the Office of Government Ethics recommended she face disciplinary action for turning the White House into a QVC studio on behalf of Ivanka Trump (an act which so dripped of her feelings of insecurity with regard to her position with the president that you could almost smell it through the television screen).
You hardly ever see Steve Bannon doing interviews or boasting even on background to a reporter about his level of influence. This is not because Bannon is shy or doesn’t like to talk (he used to host a radio talk show!). It is mostly because, like the guy with biggest bank account/penis, he has no need to prove to anyone how essential he is to Trump.
Conway is very unlikely to be ousted by Trump (unless this ethics issue really blows up). She is by far the most prominent female advisor, other than his daughter Ivanka, that Trump has. She is also a very loyal and famous person, which are his two favorite qualities in a person. She really has nothing to fear, and that makes her extreme anxiety much more striking and noteworthy.
The news media has been urgently searching for the best way to handle Conway and her fondness for “alternative facts” (while also admitting that Trump himself often lies). Perhaps they now have enough evidence to simply not take her seriously, or just ignore her completely.
John Ziegler hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is a documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.