WASHINGTON (AP) — Kellyanne Conway, one of President Donald Trump’s most influential and longest serving advisers, announced Sunday that she would be leaving the White House at the end of the month.
Conway, Trump’s campaign manager during the stretch run of the 2016 race, was the first woman to successfully steer a White House bid, then became a senior counselor to the president. She informed Trump of her decision in the Oval Office.
Conway cited a need to spend time with her four children in a resignation letter she posted Sunday night. Her husband, George, had become an outspoken Trump critic and her family a subject of Washington’s rumor mill.
“We disagree about plenty but we are united on what matters most: the kids,” she wrote. “For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama.”
She is still slated to speak at the Republican National Convention this week. Her husband, an attorney who renounced Trump after the 2016 campaign, had become a member of the Lincoln Project, an outside group of Republicans devoted to defeating Trump.
The politically adversarial marriage generated much speculation in the Beltway and online. George Conway also announced Sunday that he was taking a leave of absence from both Twitter and the Lincoln Project.
Kellyanne Conway worked for years as a Republican pollster and operative and originally supported Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican primary. She moved over to the Trump campaign and that August became campaign manager as Stephen Bannon became campaign chairman; Bannon was indicted two days ago for fraud.
Conway cited a need to help her children”s remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic as a need to step away from her position. She had remained a trusted voice within the West Wing and spearheaded several initiatives, including on combating opioid abuse.
26 PHOTOSKellyanne Conway in her White House roleSee GalleryKellyanne Conway in her White House roleWhite House counselor Kellyanne Conway winks and waves at the news media as she goes to make a TV appearance at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Leah MillisSenior advisor Kellyanne Conway (L) attends as U.S. President Donald Trump (behind desk) welcomes the leaders of dozens of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2017. Jonathan Ernst: “We’re often asked how much access we have to the Trump administration, and the answer is we have an awful lot. President Trump himself is very comfortable in the spotlight, and his aides are similarly unfazed by cameras. In this instance, senior advisor Kellyanne Conway was so comfortable in our presence she seemed not to consider the optics of kneeling on a Oval Office sofa to take pictures with her phone.” REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File PhotoSEARCH “POY TRUMP” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “REUTERS POY” FOR ALL BEST OF 2017 PACKAGES.TPX IMAGES OF THE DAYFirst Lady of the United States Melania Trump and Kellyanne Conway listen as doctors from Cincinnati Children Hospital talk about children’s health at the hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, February 5, 2018. REUTERS/ John Sommers IIWhite House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017.REUTERS/Joshua RobertsWhite House Communications Director Hope Hicks (C) departs as she and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway (L) stand on the sidelines while U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 9, 2018.REUTERS/Jonathan ErnstWhite House counselor Kellyanne Conway (L) laughs with other aides before U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered joint statements from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jim BourgWhite House counselor Kellyanne Conway whispers to Senior Advisor Jared Kushner before U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered joint statements from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 30, 2017.REUTERS/Jim BourgWhite House Counselor Kellyanne Conway arrives for a meeting with the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis in Washington, U.S., June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua RobertsVice President Mike Pence and White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway leave after attending a Republican party policy lunch meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos BarriaWhite House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway holds up a memorandum from the Justice Department’s Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein critical of Comey’s position as director of the FBI at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2017.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY(L-R) Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Senior Advisor Stephen Miller walk on the South Lawn of the White House upon their return with President Donald Trump to Washington, U.S., May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri GripasCounselor to the President Kellyanne Conway arrives at Newark International airport in Newark, NJ U.S., with President Donald Trump, June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri GripasWhite House Counselor Kellyanne Conway and Keith Schiller, deputy assistant to the president and director of Oval Office operations, follow U.S. President Donald Trump to Marine One as he departs for a day trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2017.REUTERS/Joshua RobertsWhite House Counselor Kellyanne Conway takes part in a strategic and policy CEO discussion with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Eisenhower Execution Office Building in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua RobertsWhite House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway waves as she arrives to speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017.REUTERS/Joshua RobertsSenior advisors Stephen Miller and Kellyanne Conway watch as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Jim BourgCounselor to the President Kellyanne Conway leaves after attending House Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri GripasWhite House adviser Kellyanne Conway, attended the joint press conference of President Donald Trump and President Klaus Iohannis of Romania, in the Rose Garden of the White House, on Friday, June 9, 2017. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 05: White House Senior Advisor, Kellyanne Conway (L), stand with White House Communications Director, Hope Hicks, during a news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump and King Abdullah II of Jordan, at the White House April 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump held talks on Middle East peace process and other bilateral issues with King Abdullah II.(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, listens as US President Donald Trump speaks at American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Michigan on March 15, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm(Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)Kellyanne Conway, senior counselor to US President Donald Trump, walks to a House Republican conference meeting at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2017.US President Donald Trump held last-minute negotiations with fellow Republicans to avoid a humiliating defeat Thursday in his biggest legislative test to date, as lawmakers vote on an Obamacare replacement plan which conservatives threaten to sink. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM(Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)UNITED STATES – MARCH 21: Kellyanne Conway, aide to President Donald Trump, arrives in the Capitol for Trump’s meeting with the House Republican Conference on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 10:Counselor to the President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway attends the swearing in ceremony of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to be the new Health and Human Services Secretary., on February 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Conway has been under fire for her comments about Ivanka Trump’s clothing line during a TV interview.(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)White House counselor Kellyanne Conway poses with a guest prior toa “celebration of America” event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 5, 2018. The event was arranged after Trump canceled the planned visit of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to the White House. REUTERS/Carlos BarriaWhite House adviser Kellyanne Conway, recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Leader Award by the Susan B. Anthony List, listens as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Susan B. Anthony List 11th Annual Campaign for Life Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington, U.S., May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Al DragoWhite House Counselor Kellyanne Conway speaks with a guest before U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks regarding the Administration’s National Security Strategy at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington D.C, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua RobertsUp Next
She was also known for her robust defense of the president in media appearances, at times delivering dizzying rebuttals while once extolling the virtues of “alternative facts” to support her case. Conway was also an informal adviser to the president’s reelection effort but resisted moving over to the campaign.
Her departure comes at an inopportune time for Trump, who faces a deficit in the polls as the Republican National Convention begins on Monday. Her exit was first reported by The Washington Post.
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