SE Cupp: Kellyanne Conway cried sexism to Fox hosts over Anderson Cooper rolling his eyes at her during an interview
Cupp: Cooper was impatient with her deflection. Calling it sexism cheapens the injustice of actual sexism
Editor’s Note: SE Cupp is the author of “Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity,” co-author of “Why You’re Wrong About the Right” and a columnist at the New York Daily News. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own.
Years ago, before she was a White House spokeswoman, Kellyanne Conway and I used to do the lecture circuit together. We’d speak often to women, many of them college-aged, about conservatism and what it meant. We talked passionately and excitedly about self-reliance, about limited government, empowering the individual and how a free market economy actually gave women more choices.
We also talked at great length about the hypocrisy of liberal feminists demeaning Republican women as brainless bimbos for their conservative beliefs, while crying “sexism” over any perceived criticism of their liberal beliefs.
One of Conway’s favorite lines, in fact, was that it was the “cost of admission into the feminist movement that you automatically, pro-forma, default believe that men are trying to keep you down.” Believe me, when it comes to actual sexism and fake sexism, Kellyanne Conway knows the difference.
Which is why I hope today’s generation of conservative women weren’t watching “Fox&Friends” when she played the sexism card the way she and I accused liberal women of doing so many times.
Earlier in the week, Anderson Cooper interviewed Conway and played her clips of her boss, then-candidate Donald Trump, praising now-fired FBI Director James Comey during the election, and asked her why Trump now thinks Comey had to go.
Conway, as she’s wont to do, deflected by thanking Cooper for the “trip down memory lane.” And then Cooper – like so many of us who have interviewed Trump surrogates or who have watched them from our couches – rolled his eyes in exasperation, perhaps having finally reached his deflection threshold.
Later, on “Fox&Friends,” Conway decided this was sexist.
“I face sexism a lot of times when I show up for interviews like that,” she said, providing no examples.
What came next, though, shows even she was confused about her own charge. “Can you imagine … having a male anchor on a network roll eyes at Hillary Clinton … a female representative spokeswoman for President Obama or President Bill Clinton? I think not.”
But that argument is about ideology – that she doesn’t believe Cooper would have rolled his eyes at a Democrat. If her point was about sexism, shouldn’t she have given male examples? Like, “Can you imagine having a male anchor on a network roll eyes at Sean Spicer? I think not.”
Look, having sat on countless panels with Anderson Cooper, I’m confident he wasn’t rolling his eyes at Conway because she’s a woman. Believe me, our friend Jeffrey Lord has equally exasperated us all. We roll our eyes because, from Conway’s “alternative facts” to Lord’s penchant for anachronistic time-travel, to Spicer’s head-spinning spin, they routinely and intentionally refuse to answer questions or will answer them in ways meant to veer off topic. It is exhausting. It is frustrating. It is eye-rolling.
But aside from being lazy and ill-conceived, what’s most disappointing about Conway’s cries of “sexism” is that it’s the opposite lesson she used to give young women.
For all the times she and I warned about the dangers of crying sexism where it wasn’t there – how that minimizes and cheapens the injustice of actual sexism – it seems she’s now forgotten what it actually is. Sad.