Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager for Donald Trump, has in the past conceded arguments and granted premises which seem at odds with the rest of the Trump campaign, as well as Trump himself. But only to a point. She still regularly defends comments and statements made by Donald Trump which others may view as dangerous and deplorable. However, the difference being Conway seemingly understands that it is all in the name of politics.
Below is a partial transcript of an interview Conway gave on CNN’s State of the Union, with host Jake Tapper. Via CNN and Vox:
TAPPER: We’ve seen a lot of anti-Semites and racists and misogynists who support the Trump candidacy.
TAPPER: Would you call that man deplorable?
CONWAY: Wow. Yes, I would. His conduct is completely unacceptable and does not reflect our campaign or our candidate. Wow. I have to push back on some of the adjectives you just used to describe. I hope you have been to Trump rallies. And I hope that you have seen the tens of thousands, he’s had over half a million people easily — no, over, I think, in excess of that — at his rallies. And these are USA-loving Americans…
CONWAY: …who just want their country to be prosperous and safe again.
CONWAY: Well, you just — you just suggested that we’re just filled with all these other-isms. And I think that’s incredibly unfair…
TAPPER: No. No.
CONWAY: Hillary Clinton surrounds herself with lots of people.
TAPPER: I don’t — I’m not saying that at all, Kellyanne.
TAPPER: I’m not saying that at all.
CONWAY: This is an easy one for me.
TAPPER: Let me make clear what I am saying. Let me make clear what I am saying.
CONWAY: That man’s conduct was deplorable. And had I been there, I would have asked security to remove him immediately. Clearly, he doesn’t speak for the campaign or the candidate.
CONWAY: And I think what he had to say was disgusting.
TAPPER: Well, let me be clear what I am saying. The vast majority of Trump supporters do not qualify as to what I am talking about. But without question, people who are experts on hate groups say that there has been a comfort level that has been offered to people who are anti-Semitic and racist and on and on, and these people feel comfortable coming out in the open and supporting Trump—
CONWAY: Comfort level by whom? The campaign I run, Jake, seriously?
TAPPER: Mr. Trump has refused to condemn, in a very serious way, his racist and anti-Semitic fans. He just has. He says things like, “Oh, sure, I disavow, I disavow.” But he has never seriously said “I don’t want the support of those people, they are reprehensible, they have nothing to do with me” in the same way that you and Mike Pence have.
CONWAY: Yes he has; he has done that. And let me just repeat on his behalf that that’s the way this campaign feels.
In other words, Kellyanne Conway at least partially agrees with Hillary Clinton’s characterization of Trump supporters. Conway simply adds that those same supporters love the United States and want what is best for their country. She would probably also not grant Clinton’s premise that the number of deplorables represents a “basket”. Conway grants that at least are deplorable. But only some.
And it’s easy to call out one Trump supporter as deplorable when that one supporter makes comments which may apply to other supporters. Most of the comments made by Donald Trump, his campaign, his surrogates, or his supporters which others decry as deplorable do not apply to the vast majority of Trump supporters. Trump won’t lose support because his supporters aren’t subject to the comments. When they are, it’s deplorable. When they’re not, it’s solidifying his base.
It’s bigotry for the sake of politics.