A marathon breakfast with Kellyanne Conway

At a Monitor Breakfast, former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway talked – and talked – about Trump 2024, Mike Pence, their “nasty divorce,” and the midterms.

Sophie Hills/The Christian Science Monitor
Kellyanne Conway (left), former senior counselor to former President Donald Trump, speaks at the Monitor Breakfast hosted by Linda Feldmann (right) at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, Nov. 3, 2022.

Kellyanne Conway is a talker. I knew that going in, when the former senior Trump adviser joined us on Nov. 3 at the St. Regis Hotel for a Monitor Breakfast. But try as I might, there was no way this gathering would last just an hour – the customary length of our breakfasts.

At the one-hour mark, I said, “OK, so it’s 10 o’clock …”

“Oh, keep going!” Ms. Conway interjected. “You’re paying me by the word, right?” she joked.

Long story short, she stayed 1 hour, 45 minutes – including, after the formal session ended, a half-hour “gaggle” in which a bunch of us stood around her and peppered her with questions.

One might think she was filibustering, but in fact, there was a lot of substance in our marathon session. The Nov. 8 midterm elections are upon us, and the issue environment is rich – much of it favoring Republicans, starting with the economy, crime, and immigration.

“If your answer to everything is Jan. 6, Trump, Trump, Trump, abortion, [then] you’re not responding to what New Jerseyans are telling you is animating them and keeping them up at night,” said Ms. Conway, a longtime GOP pollster, speaking of her native state.

She told us she expected former President Donald Trump to announce “soon” that he’s running for his old job in 2024. And she spoke of the “nasty divorce” between Mr. Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence, and how, in her view, they need to find “a responsible way to co-parent” the Republican Party.

Ms. Conway speaks with Mr. Trump “often,” she said – though wouldn’t reveal how often. “I’m also a unicorn,” she added. “I speak with Mike Pence, too.”

My report on the breakfast can be found here. The C-SPAN video of our session – including some of the “overtime” gaggle – is here.

Ms. Conway allowed other dimensions of her life to shine through as she spoke. After my introduction, she encouraged us all to enjoy our breakfast. “I was raised by four Italian women,” she said. “We believe in eating at all times. So, mangia!”

She also mentioned her four teenage children, a personal Gen Z focus group. Her twin 18-year-olds, she said proudly, are set to vote for the first time – and are “about to cancel each other’s vote out.”

And of course I had to ask the South Jersey native about her Philadelphia teams. The Phillies, she noted ruefully, “made the wrong kind of history last night” – on the sad end of the second-ever no-hitter in World Series history.

“I’m really an Eagles fan,” she said.

Four years ago, at our last Monitor Breakfast with Ms. Conway, the vibe was rather different. Mr. Trump was president, and he kept tweeting about “fake news” as we reporters met with his close adviser.

Going into that breakfast, Ms. Conway had agreed to stay for 45 minutes. But the time flew, and after a thumbs-up from her assistant across the room, I knew we could keep going. In the end, she stayed an hour and a quarter. This time, I should have known better. 

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