Kellyanne Conway returned to television screens to defend President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey Tuesday night, and she’s already elicited strong reactions.
Conway – whose increased absence from TV interviews in recent months has been noticeable enough to warrant a Saturday Night Live skit called “Where in the World is Kellyanne Conway?” – went on CNN Tuesday night, sparring with Anderson Cooper over the reasons for Comey’s firing.
The presidential adviser asserted that Trump lost confidence in Comey partially due to his handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails. Cooper questioned this, asking why Trump would be concerned with that now when he praised Comey’s handling of the email investigation many times while campaigning.
“I think you’re looking at the wrong set of facts here,” Conway said. “In other words, you’re going back to the campaign, this man is the President of the United States, he acted decisively today.”
“That makes no sense,” Cooper countered, speaking over her. “He said one thing as a candidate, and now he’s concerned as president?”
Conway insisted it did make sense, and that Trump’s lost confidence in Comey wasn’t “all of a sudden.” She also denied Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s accusation that Comey’s firing was a “coverup” on the Russia investigation. The FBI has been investigating if the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, though Trump and his administration repeatedly insist he is not under investigation.
Before Cooper played several video clips of Trump praising Comey during the campaign, Conway said softly that they were “irrelevant.”
Cooper asked if that meant candidate Trump was a “fictional character we are no longer allowed to refer to.” Conway said she was going to “ignore how unkind that is.”
“This had nothing to do with Russia, as much as somebody must be getting $50 every time the word is said, I’m convinced, on TV,” Conway told Cooper at the end of the interview. “This has nothing do with Russia. It has everything to do with whether the current FBI director has the president’s confidence and can faithfully and capably execute his duties.”
The “wrong set of facts” remark is reminiscent of one of Conway’s most famous lines, when she insisted in January that disagreements over the crowd size between the administration and reports at President Trump’s inauguration were due to “alternative facts.”
You can watch the full clip below.