Is there history here?
There must be history. I expected them to get along better on today’s show, even allowing for the fact that Farah was filling the “Trump-hating conservative” slot on the panel and was thus duty-bound to confront Conway.
It’s possible that there’s no history but that Conway is enough of a Trumper at heart to disdain Farah for her “disloyalty” in quitting the administration in December 2020 and remaking herself as a Trump critic. As you’ll see, she suggests that Farah has ulterior motives in doing that. Which may be true.
But Kellyanne’s playing a role here too.
The conversation starts with Sunny Hostin grilling her about “stop the steal.” Conway makes a point of saying in her new book that she believes Biden won, which is nice. What’s less nice, as Ed pointed out this morning, is the lengths to which she goes to hold Trump blameless for creating the cauldron of insanity into which the country was plunged between Election Day and January 6. It’s everyone else’s fault that he succumbed to his narcissistic derangement, says Kellyanne — the campaign cronies who were lying to him about his polling, the conspiracy cranks who were whispering to him about vote-rigging, even his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, for not shielding Trump from their terrible influence. If only he’d had better gatekeepers, the president would have been a model of sobriety about his defeat following the election, it seems.
Have you ever met Donald Trump, Kellyanne?
"I'm the closest person to Donald Trump to tell him the earliest that he came up short. It broke my heart, I wanted him to get reelected," she adds. pic.twitter.com/EfzfNh0FiX
— The View (@TheView) May 24, 2022
Her theory, essentially, is that Trump was brainwashed by the lunatics and sycophants around him. Don’t believe it. Trump was the instigator, as Axios reported more than a year ago:
For weeks, Trump had been laying the groundwork to declare victory on election night — even if he lost. But the real-time results, punctuated by Fox’s shocking call, upended his plans and began his unraveling…
As Trump prepared for Election Day, he was focused on the so-called red mirage. This was the idea that early vote counts would look better for Republicans than the final tallies because Democrats feared COVID-19 more and would disproportionately cast absentee votes that would take longer to count. Trump intended to exploit this — to weaponize it for his vast base of followers.
His preparations were deliberate, strategic and deeply cynical. Trump wanted Americans to believe a falsehood that there were two elections — a legitimate election composed of in-person voting, and a separate, fraudulent election involving bogus mail-in ballots for Democrats.
He pulled the same trick on Mehmet Oz’s behalf a few days ago. Declare victory now over Dave McCormick before the final ballots are counted, he urged, which is sensible in a reptilian way. That’s what you do if your goal is to save face at all costs; either you’ll be vindicated as the winner when all the votes are counted or you’ll have laid the pretext to cry “fraud” if you end up falling short.
Oz didn’t do it, I assume because he believes that maintaining the public’s faith in elections is more important his own ego. Trump doesn’t, which is why Axios was also able to report the following two days *before* the 2020 election: “President Trump has told confidants he’ll declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he’s ‘ahead,’ according to three sources familiar with his private comments. That’s even if the Electoral College outcome still hinges on large numbers of uncounted votes in key states like Pennsylvania.”
“Stop the steal” had nothing to do with Trump being misled by his pollsters or whatever other nonsense Kellyanne is now pitching. In fact, ironically, it was none other than Alyssa Farah who admitted two days after the insurrection last year that the campaign’s internal polling tracked with the final outcome in swing states. They were all tight, according to Team Trump, not alleged Trump landslides whose closeness would have shocked Trump and led him to suspect widespread fraud. The “fraud” narrative was a case of his authoritarian cunning leading him to prey on voters’ misunderstanding of how different states counted mail-in ballots in order to spread doubt about his defeat.
I think at some point along the way, after repeating the lie thousands of times, he convinced even himself that it was true.
Here’s where Conway and Farah finally got into it. All Farah wanted was to hear Conway impute some sort of blame to Trump and to explain why she still supports him after the “stop the steal” fiasco. Instead Conway went on the attack:
Asked by @Alyssafarah on how she can "still defend" former Pres. Trump "after he tried to overturn our democracy," @KellyannePolls responds, saying she was live on television Jan. 6 urging "people have to get out of the Capitol." https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/Yo9H86ovuH
— The View (@TheView) May 24, 2022
“Alyssa, if you’re saying that somehow you think we’re supposed to think that you’ve seen the light and not just your name in lights that’s not fair,” she says. Maybe it’s true that Farah wants to see her “name in lights”; there’s always a niche on cable news and talk shows for Republicans who disdain Trump. But there’s also a niche in right-wing media that’s at least as lucrative for Republicans who slavishly apologize for him. Kayleigh McEnany has a hosting gig on Fox. Sean Spicer has a show on Newsmax. Conservative talk radio is uniformly pro-Trump, as the hosts know that you can’t earn real ratings if you criticize him. If Farah were all about seeing her name in lights, she should have remade herself as a female Sean Hannity instead. She’d already be a permanent panelist on “The Five” if she had.
As it is, after she broke with Trump, her own father boycotted her wedding in protest. If Farah’s playing a role, it’s at least not the easiest one she could play.
An easier one is the role being played by … Kellyanne Conway, who’s keeping one foot in the Republican establishment by distancing herself from “stop the steal” and one foot firmly planted in MAGAworld by straining to exculpate Trump for anything he’s done. She’s still enough of a respectable pollster to defend the outcome on election night, which enables her to hawk her book on “respectable” national shows like “The View,” but she’s not respectable enough to pronounce Trump unfit for office for what he did after the election. She’ll probably be back in the White House as a senior advisor in 2025. We deserve her.