Today, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway took questions from reporters in response to a series of racist tweets by President Donald Trump on Sunday. Directed at Democrat congresswoman believed to be New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley—all American citizens—Trump tweeted, “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run… Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came. [sic]”
Attempting damage control, Conway approached the podium in Washington, D.C., to field questions about what exactly Trump meant by the tweet. Reporter Andrew Feinberg, of Beltway Breakfast, asked the counselor, “If the president was not telling these four congresswomen to return to their supposed countries of origin, to which countries was he referring?” Conway paused for a moment, then turned the question back onto Feinberg, asking him, “What’s your ethnicity?”
The heated and confusing exchanged continued. Feinberg replied, “Why is that relevant?” Conway replied, “Because I’m asking a question. My ancestors are from Ireland and Italy.” It then ended with Conway backtracking her question, claiming “a lot of us are sick and tired of this country, of America, coming last to people who swore an oath of office.” Feinberg later commented on the exchange: “It’s not the first time she’s responded to one of my questions with an irrelevant question, but this time was particularly bizarre,” he told The Daily Beast.
This isn’t the first time Conway has made bad matters worse with a nonsensical clap back. When Trump was accused of mocking a disabled reporter in 2016, Conway chose to blame Meryl Streep, who did a bit on Trump at the Golden Globes, instead; she’s also deflected claims that Trump sexually assaulted a woman by making a loose connection to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, calling it “anti-women.”
Conway has since tweeted about today’s quote. “This was meant with no disrespect. We are all from somewhere else ‘originally.’ I asked the question to answer the question and volunteered my own ethnicity: Italian and Irish. Like many, I am proud of my ethnicity, love the USA & grateful to God to be an American [sic].” Trump himself took to Twitter as well: “Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Meanwhile, the four congresswomen held a press conference yesterday in reaction to Trump’s attack, saying the country “belongs to everyone.”
Originally Appeared on Vogue