Conway: Let's face it -- Trump lost in 2020

Conway: Let's face it -- Trump lost in 2020
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

It’s not the Conway you’d expect, either, although Kellyanne Conway has a few things to say about her husband George in her new biography as well. In her new memoir Here’s the Deal, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager and staunch MAGA loyalist lowers the boom on the 2020 election — while shifting the blame more to his advisers. “The team had failed on November 3,” Politico quotes Conway’s memoir, “and they failed again afterward”:


“Despite the mountains of money Trump had raised, his team simply failed to get the job done. A job that was doable and had a clear path, if followed,” Kellyanne Conway writes in her memoir, “Here’s the Deal.” “Rather than accepting responsibility for the loss, they played along and lent full-throated encouragement (privately, not on TV) when Trump kept insisting he won.”

“The team had failed on November 3, and they failed again afterward. By not confronting the candidate with the grim reality of his situation, that the proof had not surfaced to support the claims, they denied him the evidence he sought and the respect he was due. Instead supplicant after sycophant after showman genuflected in front of the Resolute Desk and promised the president goods they could not deliver.” …

“Stuck in a parallel universe, many Trump supporters deluded themselves into thinking that somehow the president would remain in office or be reinstated once gone. Trump was more shocked to lose in 2020, I think, than he was to win in 2016,” Conway writes, although she adds that questioning the election results or “partisan activists” doesn’t make you the “QAnon Shaman.”

Only in the deepest MAGA circles will this shock anyone. Conway herself tried to prepare Trump supporters for the loss in early December 2020, as Politico reminds its readers today. She told Amanda Becker at The 19th that the vote counts looked firm for Joe Biden:


“The president wants to exhaust all of his legal avenues, as he has made clear many times. His team is doing that, and that is his right,” Conway said in an interview with The 19th’s Washington correspondent, Amanda Becker, that aired Friday. “If you look at the vote totals in the Electoral College tally, it looks like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will prevail. I assume the electors will certify that and it will be official. We, as a nation, will move forward, because we always do.”

According to the new memoir, she tried to do the same with Trump before that, but writes that Trump got convinced by the supplicants that he could get the results overturned:

“I may have been the first person Donald Trump trusted in his inner circle who told him that he had come up short this time,” Conway writes.

Conway may be entirely genuine in her approach on this topic, but it reads as an attempt to scapegoat others on Trump’s behalf over the post-election meltdown. It seems difficult to believe that Trump needed much convincing from the sycophants, supplicants, and showmen to go all in on Stop the Steal. Conway must want to do a balancing act of telling the truth without angering her former boss and mentor too much, perhaps out of loyalty but also perhaps out of a fear of crossing him too publicly and losing her MAGA standing. Better to slough off the blame for the disastrous post-election reaction onto the Mike Lindells, Lin Woods, and Sidney Powells than to remind readers where the buck actually stops.


Conway spends most of her time in Here’s The Deal defending Trump and his legacy, as the Washington Post reported the day before from its excerpts. The media gets much of her critical attention, especially for the way in which media outlets exploited her teenage daughter to attack her. The New York Post elaborates while reminding us of a very familiar character in that drama:

Conway, the former Special Counselor to President Donald Trump, first heard her daughter was going “viral” in July 2020 when a reporter from Yahoo! News texted her late at night: “Are you following the … coverage of Claudia’s TikToks?”

She wasn’t but that text made her look.

Conway was shocked to find that Taylor Lorenz, then a tech reporter for the New York Times, had assembled all of her daughter’s anti-Trump posts on TikTok and reposted the entire thread on Twitter to her hundred thousand followers, “any one of whom could now paw through the daily details of my teenage daughter’s life and whatever thoughts and emotions might have passed through her active mind.”

Lorenz now works for the Post, which oddly didn’t include this episode in its coverage. It does cover George Conway, whose blistering public criticisms of Trump made life difficult for Kellyanne — and she hasn’t forgotten it, apparently:

The marriage between Conway and her husband had erupted into public view when George T. Conway III began attacking Trump on Twitter, and Conway said Ivanka was responding to her own openness about seeking professional support. …

Kellyanne Conway devotes portions early in her book to her husband’s romantic courtship of her, as well as his fulsome support of her taking on the role of Trump’s campaign manager and even of Trump himself. Which made her all the more confused, she says, when he began criticizing Trump publicly.

“For the first time since George and I had gotten serious, I was looking at the possibility that the man who had always had my back might one day stab me in it,” she writes.


She gets in her very last jab at her husband … at least for now:

“Democracy will survive. America will survive,” she writes. “George and I may not survive.”


Along the way, Conway delivers shots at all of the usual MAGA betes noires, and a couple of notable additions. Jared Kushner gets a full blast from Conway, whom she saw as an empire builder who injected himself into every issue whether he knew anything or not. Conway scornfully dismisses Paul Manafort, ridicules Anthony Fauci as a hypocrite, and paints Reince Priebus as more conservative than MAGA and therefore lost in the Trump administration. She also tries to paint Trump as a feminist, with good reason in her particular case, and apparently praises Ivanka Trump as well.

Will that be enough for Conway’s book to gain traction among the MAGA community? It should be, but denying the basis for Stop the Steal is perhaps too much of a core heresy at this point. Even if her book provides a loyal defense of the Trump years up to November 3, the core of his base is likely going to resent being told that they’ve essentially been duped by the same “supplicants, sycophants, and showmen” as well as Trump himself.

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