White House adviser Kellyanne Conway made an unexpected revelation on a Sunday morning politics show while she was discussing the sexual misconduct allegations Christine Blasey Ford and others have leveled at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In an unguarded moment, Conway revealed to viewers that “I’m a victim of sexual assault.”
Conway was appearing on CNN’s State of the Union hosted by Jake Tapper and she and Tapper were debating the twists and turns of the last week, and how crucial Kavanaugh’s testimony under oath about having not blacked out while drinking beer as a high school and college student. Conway, Trump’s third campaign manager and the first woman campaign manager to helm a winning presidential campaign, insisted that the hearings that riveted so much of the nation on Thursday was not a criminal or civil trial and that it also had nothing to do with the reckoning under way in American society about sexual assault and harassment.
“It’s not a meeting of the #MeToo movement,” Conway declared. “I feel very empathetic, frankly, for victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment and rape,” she continued, pausing to clear her throat. “I’m a victim of sexual assault,” she said. “I don’t expect Judge Kavanaugh or Jake Tapper or Jeff Flake or anybody to be held responsible for that. You have to be responsible for your own conduct.” The comment was in reference to Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, who on Friday had announced he planned to vote to endorse Kavanaugh in a move that would open his nomination up to a vote by the full senate but was confronted in an elevator by two protesters whose pleas to not vote ultimately swayed his to surprise decision to call for a one-week FBI investigation into accusations made against Kavanaugh. The FBI is now conducting a one-week supplemental background investigation of Kavanaugh.
“God bless them. But go blame the perpetrator,” Conway said. “That’s who’s responsible for a sexual assault. It’s the people who commit them.” Conway also dismissed the comparisons that have been drawn between Kavanaugh and the likes of Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton.
“This is the first time I’ve ever heard you talk about something personal like that,” Tapper said. “I’m really sorry that you went through that.” He then pressed Conway on the fact that her boss, President Donald Trump, has been accused by more than a dozen women of various forms of sexual misconduct. “Does that not make you think, ‘These women need to be heard?'”
“Jake, they should all be heard — and they should be heard in courts of law,” she replied.
“Don’t conflate that with this and certainly don’t conflate that with what happened to me,” Conway added. “Let’s not always bring Trump into everything that happens in this universe. That’s mistake No. 1.”
Conway did not elaborate on the specifics of her experience, but as The New York Times pointed out, she has alluded to experiencing sexual misconduct in past speaking engagements. On at least two occasions, Conway has discussed working in politics as a younger woman, and being subject to sexually aggressive behavior.
“Every time that happened to me, when I was younger and in the workplace, every time that happened to me, I always told a friend, I always told a female relative,” she said last year at Politico’s Women Rule Summit, according to the Times.. “There is shame involved because you tend to think it’s on you, ‘It’s your fault,’ somehow.”
On Sunday, Conway was intent on emphasizing that politics and accusations should be kept separate when considering the facts of this most polarizing case.
“But we do treat people differently who are either the victims or perpetrators of this based on their politics and based on their gender,” she said. Watch the full segment below.
Read the full story at The New York Times.