Kellyanne Conway has remained one of President Donald Trump’s fiercest defenders throughout his term, and on Thursday hailed the president as a longtime champion of women and an empathetic leader in what might have been one of her last major public appearances as part of his administration.
Speaking just days before leaving her post as a senior counselor to the president, Conway noted that her remarks at the Republican National Convention fell on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment.
Conway, dressed in suffragette white, pointed out that even in 2020, “a woman in a leadership role still can seem novel.”
“Not so for President Trump,” said Conway, who as Trump’s final campaign manager in 2016 became the first woman ever to run a successful White House bid.
“For decades, he has elevated women to senior positions in business and in government,” she continued. “He confides in and consults us, respects our opinions, and insists that we are on equal footing with the men.”
But while Conway is leaving the administration to focus on her family, as disagreements over her husband’s and her high school-aged daughter’s opposition to Trump have spilled out into the open, she still displayed flashes of the combativeness that has come to mark her tenure in government.
She took what appeared to be a swipe at critics of her work as a woman for Trump, who has been accused of sexism.
“For many of us, ‘women’s empowerment’ is not a slogan,” Conway said, adding that empowerment “comes not from strangers on social media or sanitized language in a corporate handbook.”
As one of the president’s longest-serving aides and fiercest defenders in a White House that features historic turnover, Conway described how she had seen “firsthand, many times,” Trump’s empathy toward those suffering a major loss.
She recalled Trump’s “comforting and encouraging a child who has lost a parent, a parent who has lost a child, a worker who lost his job, an adolescent who has lost her way to drugs.”
“‘Don’t lose hope,’” Conway said Trump told them, “assuring them that they are not alone, that we see them, we hear them and that we are here to help them.”
She used her swan song to tie Trump’s empathy to her signature initiative while in the White House, her battle against the opioid crisis, saying the president called the epidemic with which he entrusted her a “personal” issue.
“This is the man I know and the president we need,” Conway said. “He picks the toughest fights and tackles the most complex problems. He has stood by me, and he will stand up for you.”
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