Kellyanne Conway warns Trump not to repeat ‘disastrous mistakes’

Kellyanne Conway has warned Donald Trump not to repeat his “disastrous mistakes” as he prepares for the 2024 campaign to get underway in earnest.

“Any repeat by the 2024 Trump campaign of the disastrous mistakes in personnel, strategy and tactics of the 2020 Trump campaign may lead to the same 2020 result,” the former White House counsellor wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times. “With roughly $1.6 billion to spend and Joe Biden as the opponent, the 2020 election should have been a blowout. Instead, they proved the adage that the fastest way to make a small fortune is to have a very large one and waste most of it.”

Ms Conway argued that Mr Trump “upended the fiction of electability” when he won in 2016. In beating popular vote winner Hillary Clinton, Ms Conway compared Mr Trump to Barack Obama, who beat the then-New York senator in the 2008 Democratic primary.

“Mr Trump exposed the limits of Hillary Clinton’s political inevitability and personal likability, connected directly with people, ran an outsider’s campaign taking on the establishment, and tapped into the frustrations and aspirations of millions of Americans,” Ms Conway wrote.

She argued that Democrats have “done precious little to learn and understand what drives the 74 million fellow Americans who were Trump-Pence voters in 2020 and not in the US Capitol on Jan 6, 2021”.

She said disregarding Mr Trump as a viable candidate in 2024 is a “fool’s errand,” asserting that “he endures persecution and eludes prosecution like no other public figure ... that cat has nine lives”.

But she added that thinking that Mr Trump will easily get back to the White House would also be “foolish”.

“This is not 2016, when he and his team had the hunger, swagger and scrappiness of an insurgent’s campaign,” she wrote, but noted that his “track record reminds Republican primary voters of better days”.

She argued that Mr Trump’s “accomplishments on the economy, energy, national security, trade deals and peace deals, the drug crisis and the southern border,” would resonate with Republican primary voters as they choose their 2024 nominee.

Ms Conway went on to argue that the former president would be able to campaign on the “unfairness and hypocrisy” of censorship on social media as well as “alleged big tech collusion”.

She claimed that Mr Trump, in his role as a previous commander-in-chief, could be “persuasive” with GOP voters and “some independents” when bashing the Biden White House on the economy, spending, and their “lack of urgency and competence on border control and crime”.

But she noted that Mr Trump has “political baggage holding him back,” arguing that for him to be able to win he has to spend less time on insults and more on “insights” and look ahead instead of obsessing about the past. She added that he has to speak to “people’s grievances and not his own”.

Ms Conway went on to state that Mr Trump would claim that it was his brash personality in combination with his policies that made what Republicans argue are the achievements of his administration possible.

The former Trump adviser mentioned the southern border, trade agreements, Covid vaccines, his relationship with Kim Jong-Un, his tough China stance, actions against ISIS, and the assassination of Iranian military leader Qassim Suleimani as some of his achievements.

Kellyanne Conway joins President Donald Trump at a Keep America Great Rally on January 28, 2020 in Wildwood, New Jersey (Getty Images)
Kellyanne Conway joins President Donald Trump at a Keep America Great Rally on January 28, 2020 in Wildwood, New Jersey (Getty Images)

She also claimed that Mr Trump “forced NATO countries to increase their defense spending and stared down Mr Putin before he felt free to invade Ukraine”.

“The case against Trump 2024 rests in some combination of fatigue with self-inflicted sabotage, fear that he cannot outrun the mountain of legal woes, the call to move on, a feeling that he is to blame for underwhelming Republican candidates in 2022 and the perception that other Republicans are less to blame for 2022 and have more recent records as conservative reformers,” Ms Conway wrote.

She added that “Republicans must also invest in and be vocal about early voting”. She wrote that it was “ridiculous” to vote two months before 3 November and then count the votes for the next three weeks.

“Some of the state-based Covid-compelled measures for voting are now permanent. If these are the rules, adapt or die politically,” she said.

Ms Conway seemed to criticise Mr Trump’s lies about, and obsession with, the 2020 election.

“Success lies in having advisers who tell you what you need to know, not just what you want to hear. And in listening to the people, who have the final say,” she concluded.