The Washington Examiner released audio of senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway absolutely unloading on Examiner reporter Caitlin Yilek for having the temerity to mention in a recent article. that Kellyanne Conway’s husband, high-powered lawyer George Conway, is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.
The article Kellyanne Conway took issue with was about the fact that she was being considered for a promotion to White House chief of staff, a position currently occupied by Mick Mulvaney. In the audio and accompanying transcript of her call to Yilek, Conway is heard berating the reporter for the line observing that she “has been in the middle of Trump’s barbs with her husband, George, a conservative lawyer who frequently makes headlines for his criticism of the president.” Yliek also quoted from a podcast appearance in which George Conway advocated for Trump staffers to resign if they don’t have a moderating effect on the president.
“So 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 says in the beginning of the call. “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.”
Yilek, to her credit, is remarkably composed and professional as Kellyanne Conway suggests that she isn’t good at her job. Conway goes on:
“What is your job exactly? Is your job to rely upon derivative reporting without picking up the phone and trying to ask questions or write things that are relevant? In other words, you characterize me as being caught in the middle of something that I’m not caught in the middle of. So, why would you do that? Are you an expert on my marriage? Are you an expert on my job? Are you an expert on the way this White House works? Are you an expert on Twitter? I mean, what exactly are you an expert on that would qualify you to say, to characterize the way I feel?”
Conway saved the most demented part of her rant for the end of the call, when she suggests to Yilek that the White House is going to dig up dirt on the journalists who cover it:
“So, listen, if you’re going to cover my personal life, if you’re going to cover my personal life, then we’re welcome to do the same around here. If it has nothing to do with my job, which it doesn’t, that’s obvious, then we’re either going to expect you to cover everybody’s personal life or we’re going to start covering them over here.”
Ironically enough, despite attacking Yilek’s reporting chops, Kellyanne Conway inadvertently handed the reporter a scoop by not establishing that the call was off the record before tearing in to her.