Donald Trump gestures to Kellyanne Conway after addressing his supporters and celebrating his Presidential win at his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City on Nov. 9, 2016.
Kellyanne Conway will be joining the White House administration as counselor to President-elect Donald Trump, the Trump transition team announced on Thursday, December 22.
“Kellyanne Conway has been a trusted advisor and strategist who played a crucial role in my victory,” Trump, 70, said in a statement. “She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message. I am pleased that she will be part of my senior team in the West Wing.”
Conway, 49 — who served as the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host’s ubiquitous campaign manager — is joining other (highly controversial) senior advisers to Trump, including incoming Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and Exxon Mobil’s Rex Tillerson, whom he has chosen as the country’s next secretary of state.
During a December 12 appearance on the Today show, Conway spoke out about Trump’s decision to bring Tillerson — who has a business relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin — on board and defended the real estate tycoon’s interest in appointing cabinet members with ties to Russia. As The Washington Post previously reported on December 9, the CIA reached “a consensus” that Russia intervened in this year’s presidential election to help Trump defeat his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“We want somebody who’s already accustomed to negotiating. … Because he’s an oilman, he’s been in Yemen and China and Russia and in the developing world and in the Middle East, certainly,” Conway said. “It’s not like Vladimir Putin and Rex Tillerson are pounding down vodka at the local bar. They’re not intimate friends, but they deal with each other through business interests.”