Jonathan Karl asked Kellyanne Conway who the most senior African-American aide to the president was now that Omarosa is gone. ??pic.twitter.com/ziWMt3FeTU— David Mack (@davidmackau) August 12, 2018
Kellyanne Conway, the chief counselor to President Donald Trump, was stumped when asked to name a high-ranking African-American person working in the West Wing.
Over the weekend, Conway appeared on ABC’s “This Week” with Jonathan Karl and struggled to name any top black aide at the White House, following the departure of Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former “Apprentice” contestant who was abruptly fired last year in December.
The president’s former campaign manager first appeared taken aback by a pretty basic question and then faulted the host for failing to “cover the fact” that commander-in-chief works with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson.
It is important to mention the former renowned neurosurgeon doesn’t officially, or physically, sits in the Oval Office to advise the president personally on matters of the state.
"We have Ja'Ron, who's done a fabulous job, been very involved with -- he's been very involved with Jared Kushner and President Trump on prison reform from the beginning," Conway said, referring to Ja'Ron Smith, a legislative affairs aide whose office is reportedly in the East Wing."He's been there from the beginning. He worked with Omarosa and others."
Karl wasn’t satisfied by Conway’s vague answers and pressed again for lack of African-American aides at the White House.
“What does that say to not have a single senior adviser in the West Wing who’s African American?” Karl asked.
The counselor protested the anchor's contention, but did not go on to name a person.
“I didn’t say that there wasn’t, but hold on,” Conway said. “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, and the fact is that this president is doing well for all Americans.”
Later in the show, former White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short named officials who are black and working at the West Wing. However, none of the individuals Short named were amongst the 55 top-paid staffers in the White House.
Meanwhile, Newman, back in her days, had a top job and earned $179,700 annual salary–the maximum for an executive branch employee.
During the show, Conway also echoed Trump’s assertions by boasting about improved employment rate of African-Americans under the current administration.
“You may not want to cover it as much as it should be covered,” she said of the black unemployment figures.
Given the strained POTUS-media relationship, being a high-level official of the White House is not an easy job. But Conway’s failure to answer such a basic question was a testament to the fact how minorities and people of color are not well-represented in the administration.
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