Kellyanne Conway Defines Feminism as "Anti-Male" and "Pro-Abortion" at CPAC
Amid reports Conway had been sidelined from doing TV press, Trump's counselor followed up two Fox News interviews with her CPAC appearance on Thursday.
Kellyanne Conway has emerged from her apparent TV time-out.
After a Wednesday CNN report claiming the senior counselor to President Donald Trump had been sidelined from television appearances after making statements that conflicted with the White House's official stances, Conway made back-to-back Fox News appearances Wednesday and Thursday.
“I don’t think I have to explain myself if I’m not going on TV if I’m out with four kids for three days looking at houses and schools,” said Conway while making her first TV appearance in nearly a week on Wednesday night's Hannity. She also appeared on Thursday morning's Fox & Friends.
According to CNN, which cites unnamed sources, Conway's appearances had been doing more harm than good. She was last seen on TV sparring with Today's Matt Lauer over her conflicting explanation on the White House's story behind Michael Flynn's resignation as Trump's national security adviser. Her comments came amid bubbling scrutiny over her credibility, following her on-air promotion of Ivanka Trump's brand and citing of a nonexistent "Bowling Green Massacre."
Conway had, however, been scheduled to speak at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference.
During her Thursday appearance at the annual Washington gathering known as CPAC, Conway praised Trump for earning the Republican nomination "in a way that was bottom-up, not top-down." Adding, "he went right to the grassroots and brought you along."
As his former campaign manager, Conway became the first woman to run a successful U.S. presidential campaign — but she rejected the notion of being called a feminist.
"I was raised to be a very strong and independent woman without anyone ever saying the word feminist or having a political conversation," she told conservative commentator Mercedes Schlapp during her onstage appearance. She likened herself to today's generation, saying younger people "don’t really like labels" and discussed why women belong in the conservative movement.
"It’s difficult for me to call myself a feminist in the classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male and it certainly is very pro-abortion in this context. And I’m neither anti-male nor pro-abortion," she continued. "I look at myself as a product of my choices rather than a victim of my circumstances, and that’s really, to me, what conservative feminism, if you will, is all about.”
Conway cited the country's sweeping women's marches against Trump as women having a broken view of power.
"One thing that's been a little disappointing and revealing, that I hope will get better, is it turns out a lot of women just have a problem with women and power," she said. "This whole sisterhood, this whole 'Let's go march for women's rights,' just constantly talking about what women look like or what women wear or making fun of their choices or presuming that they're not as powerful as the men around, this presumptive negativity about women and power I think is very unfortunate. Let's just try to access that and have a conversation about it, instead of have a confrontation about it."
The mother of four also spoke about the importance of maintaining a work-life balance, doled out advice to the young people in the audience, and thanked the veterans in attendance for sticking with the conservative movement and "believing in a set of ideas and principles that are timeless beyond politics."
Speaking to the mothers, Conway encouraged them to tell their daughters, “The job for first female president of the United States remains open, so go for it.”
She concluded her appearance by offering one last piece of advice for women, citing the time she used a famous line from 1989’s When Harry Met Sally to earn equal pay for a speaking appearance in 1996.
“When in doubt, just say, ‘I’ll have what he’s having.’”
CPAC draws more than 10,000 activists and made headline news ahead of its launch when controversial right-wing journalist Milo Yiannopoulos was dropped as keynote speaker.
Others from the Trump administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, are also scheduled to speak at CPAC later on Thursday.
Trump himself addresses the conference on Friday.
After Conway's speech, Merriam-Webster tweeted the correct definition of the word "feminism."
"Lookups for 'feminism' spiked today," read a tweet from the dictionary's social handle. "It's 'the belief that men & women should have equal rights and opportunities.'"
Lookups for 'feminism' spiked today. It's "the belief that men & women should have equal rights and opportunities." https://t.co/Zjf7CAPUjL— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) February 24, 2017
A post on its website also defined feminism as "organized activity in support of women's rights and interests," explaining how the word entered the language in 1895 at a time when efforts for women's political equality were becoming organized and widespread.