Kellyanne Conway says she meant 'no disrespect' with question about reporter's ethnicity

White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayTrump rallies supporters for recently converted Republican Jefferson Van Drew George Conway: Witness missing from impeachment trial is Trump Kellyanne Conway knocks Biden, talks up Sanders in Wash Post op-ed MORE said she meant "no disrespect" when she questioned a reporter about his ethnicity on Tuesday while defending President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Don Lemon explains handling of segment after Trump criticism NPR reporter after Pompeo clash: Journalists don't interview government officials to score 'political points' Lawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet MORE amid blowback to his remarks going after a handful of progressive House Democrats.

"This was meant with no disrespect," Conway wrote to her 2.8 million Twitter followers, referring to her exchange with the reporter during a press gaggle earlier in the day at the White House.

"We are all from somewhere else 'originally.' I asked the question to answer the question and volunteered my own ethnicity: Italian and Irish," she continued. "Like many, I am proud of my ethnicity, love the USA & grateful to God to be an American."

During the press gaggle Tuesday morning in the White House driveway, Conway engaged in a back-and-forth about ethnicity with Breakfast Media's Andrew Feinberg.
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“If the president was not telling these four congresswomen to return to their supposed countries of origin, to which countries was he referring?” Feinberg asked.
 
“What’s your ethnicity?” Conway responded.

“Why is that relevant?” Feinberg replied.

Conway continued by sharing that her ancestors hailed from Ireland and Italy.

“My own ethnicity is not relevant to the question I’m asking you,” Feinberg responded. 

“No, no. It is,” Conway replied. “Because you’re asking about — he said ‘originally.’ He said ‘originally from.’ And you know everything he has said since and to have a full conversation.”

“So are you saying that the president was telling a Palestinian American to go back to the Middle East, to occupied territories?” Feinberg asked.

“He is tired, a lot of us are sick and tired of America coming last,” Conway shot back. “To people who swore an oath of office. Sick and tired of our military being denigrated. Sick and tired of the Customs and Border Protection people I was with — who are overwhelming[ly] Hispanic, by the way, in McAllen, Texas.”

The clarification from Conway comes two days after Trump sparked uproar after tweeting that four Democratic congresswomen — all U.S. citizens and members of minority groups — should "go back" to their home countries.
 
All of the Democrats were born in the U.S. with the exception of one, and Trump's remarks have been called out as racist by much of the Democratic Party and a handful of Republicans.

On Tuesday, Trump declared he didn't have "a racist bone" in his body in response to growing criticism.

“Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Trump tweeted.
 
The president also dismissed a vote in the Democratic-led House condemning his remarks as racist, referring to it as a "so-called vote."

“Republicans should not show ‘weakness’ and fall into their trap. This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat congresswomen, who I truly believe, based on their actions, hate our Country," he added.