Friday 18 October 2019

'I'm a victim' - White House's Kellyanne Conway defends Brett Kavanaugh against sexual misconduct allegations

Disclosure: White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said during an interview yesterday that she had been a victim of sexual assault. Photo: Getty
Disclosure: White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said during an interview yesterday that she had been a victim of sexual assault. Photo: Getty

Hope Yen

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said she was once a victim of sexual assault, but said women's shared outrage over such misconduct should not affect Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination.

Ms Conway made the comments on CNN's State of the Union while defending Kavanaugh against sexual misconduct allegations.

She argued his opponents were wrongly politicising his nomination and turning it into a "meeting of the #MeToo movement".

Ms Conway said the news media and others often treat victims differently "based on their politics".

"I feel very empathetic, frankly, for victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape. I'm a victim of sexual assault," Ms Conway said.

But she added: "I don't expect Judge Kavanaugh or Jake Tapper or (Republican Senator) Jeff Flake or anybody to be held responsible for that. You have to be responsible for your own conduct."

Ms Conway did not elaborate on her experience, though she has previously alluded to her own #MeToo moment.

She told a Politico forum last December that during the 2016 presidential campaign she sought to denounce cases of sexual harassment by congressmen against her and others when she was a GOP political operative, but was ignored by the press.

Investigation: Brett Kavanaugh is being probed by the FBI. Photo: Reuters
Investigation: Brett Kavanaugh is being probed by the FBI. Photo: Reuters

In that talk, she referred to an MSNBC appearance she made in October of 2016, a day after the release of an "Access Hollywood" tape that caught then presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2005 boasting off-camera about groping women.

She implied in those comments that members of Congress had behaved inappropriately.

"I would talk to some of the members of Congress out there. I remember when I was younger and prettier, them rubbing up against girls sticking their tongues down women's throats. It was true," Ms Conway said during a post-presidential debate interview.

She did not offer additional details.

Asked about how she deals with her experience with sexual assault while working for Trump, who has been accused of sexual harassment, she said: "Don't conflate that with this, and certainly don't conflate that with what happened to me."

She said her experience helps her understand victims "should all be heard, and they should be heard in courts of law."

Ford. Photo: Reuters
Ford. Photo: Reuters

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