Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager and top aide to President-elect Donald Trump, reportedly chastised a 17-year-old student for asking about Trump’s history of sexual assault.
On Wednesday morning, The Hill reported that Conway was speaking at an event in Washington, D.C. that was sponsored by University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. When Conway opened the floor to questions, a female high school student asked the senior Trump advisor how she can “rationalize” working for a man who has been accused of sexual assault.
“Donald Trump has negated claims that he sexually assaulted women but also admitted to a tape where he seemed to be describing sexual assault,” the student asked, according to Politico. “How do you rationalize that as a woman and also as his campaign manager?”
The young woman (who was later identified as the daughter of Mother Jones reporter David Corn) was referring to the “Access Hollywood” video leaked in October that featured Trump bragging that he grabs women “by the pussy.” At the time, many Republicans condemned Trump for the video, but Conway was measured in her response. She called Trump’s language “disgusting” yet still defended him by saying he was “gracious and a gentleman.” The President-elect has also been accused of sexually assaulting over a dozen women.
Conway referred to the “Access Hollywood” video as an attack on Trump in her response to the teen. She also said:
Women are tired of the same argument and the same thing you are presenting to me right now. I’m glad that people looked at [those attacks] and said, “You know what? That’s an argument that will not create a single job in my community, not bring back a single of the 70,000 factories that have been closed, will not deter one member of ISIS from doing their bloodletting here or anywhere else in the world.”
She said that Clinton should have gotten “60 or 62 percent of the female vote,” but she didn’t because, according to Conway, women are “tired of the same argument.” Conway added that the young woman was “trying to be personally mean” by asking the question.
In a rather confounding conclusion, Politico reported that Conway told the 17-year-old high school student: “For you to use sexual assault to try to make news here I think is unfortunate, but it also doesn’t matter because Donald Trump promised he’ll be a president of all Americans.”
If you’re wondering how sexual violence gets normalized, this is how.