Conway struggles to name top-ranking black official in White House
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Sunday struggled to name any high-level African-American advisers to President Trump who work in the West Wing.
Conway appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” where anchor Jon Karl pressed her on who the most prominent black staffer is since former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman was fired late last year.
“Who now is that person? Who is the most prominent, high-level adviser to president on the West Wing staff right now?” Karl asked.
Conway quickly pointed to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson, who she said the president works with every day.
“Omarosa was the most prominent, high-level African-American serving in the West Wing on Pres. Trump’s staff. Who now is that person?” @jonkarl asks Kellyanne Conway.
Here’s how Conway responded https://t.co/P6iz1j1VA4 #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/wVnz5WZ97I
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 12, 2018
Karl asked if she could name someone on the White House staff.
“We have Ja’ron [Smith],” Conway responded, offering no last name.
“(He’s) done a fabulous job and … he’s been very involved with Jared Kushner and President Trump on prison reform. … He’s been there from the beginning,” Conway said. Pressed for more information, she said his office is in the Executive Office Building.
A short time later, former White House aide Marc Short appeared on ABC and identified the staffer Conway was referring to as Ja’Ron Smith, who he said has an office in the East Wing.
Karl asked Conway what it says to not have “a single senior adviser in the West Wing who’s African-American?”
“There are plenty of people — if you’re going by that and not by the actions of the president, which you probably should, then you should look at the fact that we have a number of different minorities,” Conway said. “And the fact is that this president is doing well for all Americans.”
Conway noted that African-Americans, Hispanics and other minority groups are experiencing the lowest unemployment rates in history under Trump, something the president frequently notes at rallies and White House events.
Trump has faced intense criticism at times throughout his presidency for using racially charged language, including when he referred to Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations as “shithole countries.”
The renewed spotlight on race in the White House comes as former aide Manigault Newman is set to release a memoir titled “Unhinged: An Insider Account of the White House” that recounts her time in the White House.
While some of the book’s claims are unsourced, she alleges Trump used the “N-word” on the set of “The Apprentice,” and that he was a racist, misogynist and narcissist.
Manigault Newman, who rose to fame on “The Apprentice” and secured a job in the Trump administration, was fired last year.
She has previously praised Trump, famously saying that the president’s critics would have to “bow down.” Upon her departure, she gave an interview saying she would not work for someone she believed to be racist.
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