Kellyanne Elizabeth Conway is counselor to President Donald Trump. She works with press secretary Sean Spicer on the White House communications team. As the third campaign manager for Trump during the 2016 presidential election, she became the first female to run a Republican presidential campaign.
At her appointment to the role on December 22, 2016, President-elect Trump said, "Kellyanne Conway has been a trusted advisor and strategist who played a crucial role in my victory. 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," according to POLITICO.
After Spicer criticized the media for falsely reporting the inauguration crowd size, NBC "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd asked Conway to comment on Spicer's assertion that it was "the largest audience to ever witness the inauguration." Her response was: "You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving – Sean Spicer, our press secretary – gave alternative facts." Her use of the term "alternative facts" went viral on social media.
On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order to suspend immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days. In her response on February 2 during an interview with MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, she said, "I bet it's brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. Most people don't know that because it didn't get covered."
Unfortunately for Conway, the "Bowling Green massacre" never happened. The information about Obama's Iraqi refugee ban is also false, based on AP Fact Check's information that refugees and holders of non-immigrant visas from Iraq were admitted to the U.S. in 2011. Conway clarified in her tweet that she had meant "Bowling Green terrorists." Her misstatements instigated a new round of criticisms and satire, including from people who staged a vigil at Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan to commemorate victims of the massacre, as reported by New York Daily News. Given "serious questions about her credibility," CNN declined to host Conway on its Sunday show, according to The New York Times.
Conway, 50, graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. with a BA in political science before earning a JD from the George Washington University Law School in 1992. She worked in public opinion research for Wirthlin Group and Luntz Research Companies before starting The Polling Company in 1995. Through the WomanTrend division, her company advised Fortune 500 clients on how to engage female customers. She also conducted demographic and attitudinal surveys for trade groups and private firms. Political figures she worked for include Congressman Jack Kemp, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Vice President Dan Quayle and Congressman Mike Pence who is now the Vice President of the United States.