Editor’s Note: Anushay Hossain is a writer and political commentator based in Washington. For more, visit AnushaysPoint.com. The views expressed are her own.
It is difficult to take Kellyanne Conway – the woman whose job it is to defend and advocate for a man who has boasted about sexually assaulting women – seriously when she tries to use the sexism card to get herself out of an awkward on-air situation.
But that is exactly what the counselor to the President of the United States expected of the public when she went on CNN’s “State of the Union” program and basically laid into the guest host, CNN’s Dana Bash.
The exchange between the two women got off to a civil start, but quickly took a turn in the opposite direction when Bash asked Conway about Conway’s husband, George, basically subtweeting her boss, President Donald Trump.
If this were any other woman, I would be inclined to come to her defense and give her all the benefits of all the doubts that she genuinely felt attacked by being asked about the contents of her husband’s tweets, in which he suggested that Trump’s penchant for contradicting aides is “absurd.”
But Kellyanne Conway is not only not your average woman. As a professional defender of Donald Trump, Conway has built an entire chapter of her career around belittling and dismissing the allegations of dozens of women who have come forth accusing her boss of sexual harassment, abuse and assault – accusations he has denied.
And to make her track record even more shameful, let us not forget that Conway also defended Trump’s endorsement of Roy Moore for Senate, despite all the allegations of child molestation and abuse against Moore. Moore denied these allegations during his campaign and has countersued one of the women who accused him, who is suing him for defamation.
By trying to make herself look like a victim, Conway also conveniently ignores that Trump repeatedly targeted former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, and even told McCabe to “ask his wife how it feels to be a loser.”
All of this is precisely why Conway, who is a is a pro at exploiting gender tensions and double standards, does not get to play the sexism card in this, or frankly, any situation.
“This ought to be fun moving forward, Dana,” Conway said. “We’re now going to talk about other people’s spouses and significant others just because they either work at the White House or CNN? Are we going to do that? You just went there.”
Conway continued to stay on the defensive by stating that spouses “by definition have differences of opinion” and that Bash’s question was a “cross-the-Rubicon moment” demonstrating the “double standard” Conway has to deal with.
“It’s fascinating to me that CNN would go there,” Conway said. “But it’s very good for the whole world to just witness that it’s now fair game how people’s spouses and significant others may differ with them.”
Despite Bash repeatedly trying to insert that attacking Conway was not the point of her questioning, Conway barreled along.
The Trump administration official continued slamming the CNN anchor, even bringing her own children into the tense exchange, accusing Bash of trying to “harass and embarrass” her by bringing up Conway’s marriage.
But the real icing on the hypocrisy cake came when Conway suggested that Bash would not have asked her the question about her husband’s tweets if she were a man, to which Bash responded that gender had nothing to do with her question.
“I would ask you that if you were a man,” Bash said, before Conway cut her off again. “No, you wouldn’t,” to which Bash responded that she “a thousand percent would.”
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Although Conway tweeted hours later that Bash’s questioning was not sexist, but “cheap and irrelevant,” that was very clearly what she was accusing Bash of on air.
If Conway really wants to prove that she cares so strongly about not dragging spouses and getting them involved in the politics of the day, perhaps she should focus less on attacking Dana Bash and more on acknowledging the real Donald Trump and her role in trying to justify his abysmal treatment of women.