'Less drama, more mama': Kellyanne Conway to leave White House

Kellyanne Conway, veteran adviser to President Trump, and George Conway, founder of anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project, will be stepping back from their public roles to focus on family. Ms. Conway is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention this week.

Andrew Harnik/AP
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway speaks in the White House Briefing Room in Washington, Dec. 5, 2019. Ms. Conway was President Donald Trump's campaign manager during his 2016 presidential race before becoming a senior counselor.

Kellyanne Conway, one of President Donald Trump's most influential and longest serving advisers, announced Sunday that she would be leaving the White House at the end of the month.

Ms. Conway, Mr. Trump's campaign manager during the stretch run of the 2016 race, was the first woman to successfully steer a White House bid, then became a senior counselor to the president. She informed Mr. Trump of her decision in the Oval Office.

Ms. Conway cited a need to spend time with her four children in a resignation letter she posted Sunday night. Her husband, George, had become an outspoken Trump critic and her family a subject of Washington's rumor mill.

"We disagree about plenty but we are united on what matters most: the kids," she wrote. "For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama."

In a separate statement on Twitter, George Conway, an attorney who renounced Mr. Trump after the 2016 campaign, said he was stepping back from Twitter and his role in the Lincoln Project, a project with the stated mission to "defeat Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box," according to Reuters.

The politically adversarial marriage generated much speculation in the Beltway and online, and the decisions by the Conways come a day after their teenage daughter, Claudia, said on Twitter that she was seeking "emancipation." Claudia has previously been outspoken on social media against her parents' views, according to Reuters.

Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump's chief of staff, said Monday that Ms. Conway's departure leaves a "big hole" at the White House. She is still slated to speak at the Republican National Convention this week.

"This is all about making priority for family," Mr. Meadows told CBS This Morning. "That's what this president is about and that's what Kellyanne Conway is about."

Her departure comes at an inopportune time for Mr. Trump, who faces a deficit in the polls as the Republican National Convention begins on Monday. Asked on CBS whether her departure signals a fear Mr. Trump might lose, Mr. Meadows called the question "cynical."

"Anybody who knows Kellyanne Conway knows that she has never shied away from a fight," Mr. Meadows said. "To suggest that is just not based on the facts."

On Sunday, Ms. Conway described her time in the Trump administration, and previously with the 2016 campaign, as "heady" and "humbling." according to Reuters.

Kellyanne Conway worked for years as a Republican pollster and operative and originally supported Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican primary. She moved over to the Trump campaign and became campaign manager as Stephen Bannon became campaign chairman; Mr. Bannon was indicted two days ago for fraud.

Ms. Conway cited the need to help her children's remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic as a reason for stepping away from her position. She had remained a trusted voice within the West Wing and spearheaded several initiatives, including on combating opioid abuse.

She was also known for her robust defense of the president in media appearances, at times delivering dizzying rebuttals while once extolling the virtues of "alternative facts" to support her case. Ms. Conway was also an informal adviser to the president's reelection effort but resisted moving over to the campaign.

Her exit was first reported by The Washington Post.

This story was reported by The Associated Press. Material from Reuters was used in this report.

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