Kellyanne Conway, one of President Donald Trump’s top advisors, stumbled Sunday when asked to name a senior Black staffer in the White House’s West Wing. Her unwillingness to admit to the racially toxic environment Trump created came as the White House becomes less diverse with the departure of another key figure.
Jonathan Karl, who hosted ABC’s This Week program, noted that Omarosa Manigault Newman was the “most prominent high-level African-American” in the West Wing before she was termination from the White House in December. He asked Conway who fills that role now.
“First of all, you’re totally not covering the fact that our Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (Ben Carson)…,” Conway replied after an embarrassing hesitation, not answering the question. Cabinet officials are not considered employed staffers. Carson, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, is the only African-American serving on Trump’s cabinet.
He asked again, but Conway continued to dodge.
The question came up in the context of Newman’s tell-all book, titled Unhinged, about her time in the White House. Newman, a former reality TV star on the program Trump hosted called The Apprentice, alleged that she heard a tape from the show in which the president used the N-word. She also claimed that she left her White House post after learning that the president is racists.
Conway joined Trump’s allies who dismissed Newman’s claims. “The first time I heard her suggest those awful things about the president was in this book,” Conway stated.
Yet, there’s ample evidence, from Trump’s cozy relationships with white supremacist to his racist attacks on Mexican immigrants, that the work environment surrounding the president is unwelcoming to people of color.
Deputy press secretary Raj Shah, an Indian-American, was expected to resign following the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Politico reported on Saturday. He is one of the few remaining minority aides working in the White House.