Reporter posts heated phone call with Kellyanne Conway

A tense phone conversation between a reporter for the Washington Examiner and White House senior counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayOvernight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 White House adopts confident tone after Pelosi signals go on impeachment Conway: Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping issue MORE was published by the newspaper on Thursday. 

In the conversation, Conway objected that a story written by the reporter, Caitlin Yilek, mentioned that her husband George ConwayGeorge Thomas ConwayGeorge Conway calls out Melania Trump after she criticizes impeachment witness: 'You're amplifying what was a nothingburger reference' George Conway quote-tweets Kellyanne Conway on Trump, Biden, Ukraine George Conway argues impeachment effort doesn't need a 'smoking gun' MORE is a fierce critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE on Twitter.

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Conway's assistant, Tom Joannou, reached out to Yilek on Tuesday night requesting her phone number without specifying a topic or agenda for the call. Joannou called Yilek on Wednesday morning and began the conversation before Conway "took over the call," per an Examiner story recounting the chain of events. 

"Conway took over the call, initiating a new conversation without any agreement that it was off the record. The Washington Examiner is publishing audio and a transcript of the full exchange," the Examiner wrote in the Thursday story that includes the entire transcript of the call. 

 

“I just am wondering why in God’s earth you would need to mention anything about George Conway’s tweets in an article that talks about me as possibly being chief of staff,” Conway said during a phone call with Yilek.

Yilek is a former reporter at The Hill. 

“Other than it looks to me like there’s no original reporting here, you just read Twitter and other people’s stuff, which I guess is why you don’t pick up the phone when people call from the White House because if it’s not on Twitter or it’s not on cable TV, it’s not real,” Conway said.

Conway later pressed Yilek on what was newsworthy about her husband. Yilek replied that it was "relevant context.”

“I know it’s just for clicks, but you’re going to have to give me, like, a journalistic reason here, especially if you admit that you just are repeating what another news source said and the president disputed that anyway," Conway said, according to the Examiner transcript.

"So, it’s sort of, like, doubly embarrassing. There’s no original reporting,” Conway declared. “If you’re going to call yourself a reporter, let’s see some reporting. There’s no original reporting, and then, it’s just lazy.

“Respectfully, of course, it’s just lazy to talk about somebody’s Twitter feed. Do you talk about other people’s spouses in your pieces, because I’ve been looking around, I haven’t learned a single thing from any of your pieces, and I’m just wondering if you routinely talk about people’s spouses?” Conway asked. “Why is it relevant here? George’s position is what?”

After the reporter said she would be happy to allow Conway to talk to her editor, Conway replied: “Let me tell you something, from a powerful woman. Don’t pull the crap where you’re trying to undercut another woman based on who she’s married to.

"He gets his power through me, if you haven’t noticed," Conway said. "Not the other way around. And if these are the, quote, standards, unquote, at the Washington Examiner, then yes, I’d be happy to talk to your editor. But I’ve known your editor since before you were born. So, I can call your editor either way. I’m just trying to give you a chance to explain why you think what you wrote qualifies as breaking news or reporting.”

“I don’t know that I have to explain that to you," Yilek replied. "I’m just trying to do my job and what my editor tells me to do.”

“You don’t have to rely upon the men in your life and pretend somehow by way of reporting that I rely on the men in my life, which clearly isn’t the case," Conway shot back.

The more than seven-minute conversation went viral on social media, prompting several responses from other journalists.

 

 

 

 

The last part of the call includes Conway broaching Yilek's personal life as fair game to explore.

“Listen, if you’re going to cover my personal life, then we’re welcome to do the same around here," Conway told her.

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.