The Times Kellyanne Conway Was Caught In A Lie

A true master in the art of public relations, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to former President Donald Trump from 2017-2020, could dodge, deflect, and deny with the best of the lot. She'd already proven her moxie during the 2016 election when she became the first female campaign manager to get a person into the White House's most coveted seat. But placating her controversial boss required a whole new manual of skills while trying to paint him in the best possible light. 

That was no easy task, given that the U.S. was navigating one of the most divisive periods in the country's history. But it was a frothing zeal to take on the challenge that might have been Conway's most disturbing attribute. She frequently chastised the media in their reporting of contentious issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, racial unrest, and the Ukraine scandal that led to Trump's first impeachment. 

Then there were other claims, from a nonexistent massacre to an arcane example of spy technology, that were so outrageous, insiders wondered whether Conway could be taken seriously. Given her elevated position in the administration, she couldn't easily be dismissed, compelling the media to find ways to confront her about some of those lies. 

In many cases, exposing the fibs was remarkably easy. Here's a record of the times Kellyanne Conway was caught in a lie.

Kellyanne Conway exaggerated the size of the audience at Donald Trump's presidential inauguration

While Donald Trump threw around the term "fake news" the way an obstinate child would toss a rag doll, Kellyanne Conway delivered frequently illogical and inaccurate media sound bites, coining the term "alternative facts"  in the process. That infamous buzz-phrase was first uttered in the wake of the former president's 2017 inauguration, when former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer declared that the ceremony was the most attended event of its kind in American history. It didn't take long for the media to retrieve aerial photography that demonstrated Trump's audience was considerably smaller than the turnout for Barack Obama's swearing-in festivities. 

The press backlash didn't sit too well with Conway, who went on NBC's "Meet The Press" to argue with reporter Chuck Todd that the media was out of line in assessing crowd size. Todd fired the first shot, accusing the administration of declaring a falsehood that "undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office." 

"Don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck," said Conway with disdain. "You're saying it's a falsehood. ... Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that." Overnight, "alternative facts" became a Twitter hashtag and a term that would dog Conway during her tenure in the White House.

She rewrote history to her argue her point

Once Donald Trump was officially the president, he wasted no time in signing a slew of Executive Orders, one of them barring citizens of Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen and Syria from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days, sparking lawsuits and protests across the country over what objecting Americans called the "Muslim ban." Once again, Kellyanne Conway stepped into the fray to defend Trump's actions, claiming the order was signed in the name of public safety.

In an interview on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," she cited an action conducted by a previous administration. "I bet it's brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized — and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre," said Conway. "I mean, most people don't know that because it didn't get covered."

There's a very good reason why the Bowling Green Massacre wasn't covered. It never happened.

Conway eventually had to walk back her comment when the Twitterverse pointed out her mistake. But she still defended herself, claiming she had the fake massacre mixed up with the arrest and conviction of two Iraqi citizens working for Al Qaeda in 2011. Even though they were nabbed in Bowling Green, Kentucky, no fatalities were ever reported.

Kellyanne Conway claimed microwaves can turn into spy cameras

While the entire term with Donald Trump in power was chaotic at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, there were occasions when paranoia was also rampant. The former president raised allegations within the first few months in office that the Obama administration was spying on him at Trump Tower in New York during the 2016 election. Kellyanne Conway suggested that the wiretapping went a few steps further.

In an interview with the Record's Mike Kelly, Conway declared that surveillance was conducted on the Trumps not only via phones and through their televisions, but via "microwaves that turn into cameras."

While that method sounds a bit sci-fi, Conway added, "We know this is a fact of modern life." It was also a "fact" that led to a great deal of lampooning, with the likes of CNN revealing memes about her outrageous revelation and "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert mocking Conway's theory by demonstrating his shows were broadcast via microwave ovens on tripods. It was all getting a bit silly, until CNN reporter Chris Cuomo interviewed Conway to get to the bottom of her scandalous comment. Conway said, "I'm not Inspector Gadget. I don't believe people were using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign" (via The Washington Post).

Kellyanne Conway almost goes down the Hatch

Federal employees have to follow a stringent and extensive set of rules, including a 1939 statute called the Hatch Act. Essentially, it's a law that forbids certain workers (while under their official titles) from publicly favoring one candidate over another. It's an act taken seriously, especially during elections, and violators could be fined or fired.

What does the Hatch Act have to do with Kellyanne Conway? Well, according to the Office of Special Counsel in 2017, plenty. It was then that Conway, recognized as the former president's special adviser, went on Fox News and CNN to publicly reject Democratic Candidate Doug Jones (as cited in an OSC report), who was running against Republican Roy Moore for an Alabama seat in the Senate. The Office of Special Counsel continued investigating.

Reporters brought up the subject of the Hatch Act in 2019, when Conway was holding court at a news conference. She had already blasted the record of Joe Biden, who, at the time, was a likely opponent to run against Donald Trump for president in 2020. "Blah, blah, blah," Conway told a reporter. She brazenly stated, "If you're trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it's not going to work," adding, "Let me know when the jail sentence starts" (via The Washington Post). Fortunately for Conway, she dodged a bullet when the OSC submitted its report to the former president. The findings were rejected, as Donald Trump chose not to fire her.

The counselor lied about COVID containment, then got infected herself

When the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic in 2020, Donald Trump was often blamed for a slow response to the crisis. In March that year, while the former president blamed the Democrats for hatching a COVID-19 hoax, Kellyanne Conway got her two cents in by stating that the virus was "being contained" (via C-SPAN), when the media pointed out that testing wasn't readily available. Despite Conway's claim, the number of infections and deaths escalated.

Conway's limp grasp of the medical crisis reached a ridiculous zenith when she criticized the competence of the World Health Organization during a live appearance on Fox News (via CNN). "This is COVID-19, not COVID-1, folks," she blurted out. "You would think that people charged with the World Health Organization facts and figures would be on top of that."

The problem is, Kellyanne Conway wasn't on top of how the WHO labels viruses. COVID is short for coronavirus disease, while the number 19 indicates the year the virus was discovered. Conway's suggestion that the WHO had 18 previous times to wipe out the virus and still failed to get it right didn't sit well with her detractors, who were eager to point out the inaccuracy of her declaration. In October 2021, two years after leaving her White House Job, Conway tested positive for the virus. She berated her daughter, Claudia, for leaking the news on TikTok (via Vox).

Kellyanne Conway leveraged Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy before Donald Trump's impeachment

Before the coronavirus floated into radar range, Donald Trump was busy contending with the likelihood that he'd be impeached by Congress for withholding military aid to Ukraine, if the nation opted against investigating political rival Joe Biden's son, Hunter. Although the former president was eventually impeached on charges of obstructing Congress and abusing his power, it wasn't without a fight from the Trump administration, which claimed those charges were bogus. 

Kellyanne Conway was right in the thick of things, fighting political opponents and the media over the accusations, even going so far as to bring up the name of a renowned civil rights leader in the process. "I don't think it was within Dr. King's vision to have Americans dragged through a process where the president is not going to be removed from office, is not being charged with bribery, extortion, high crimes or misdemeanors," she told NBC News on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2020, a day before the impeachment trials began.

It was a particularly bold and foolhardy move to make, especially in light of Trump's lengthy history of racist behavior

CNN caught Kellyanne Conway dancing around the truth of the Ukraine scandal

The Ukraine scandal that led to the impeachment of Donald Trump began on July 25, 2019. Trump phoned Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky about a favor to investigate economic deals involving a Ukrainian natural gas company and Hunter Biden, son of political rival Joe Biden. The call, which followed Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine, was made public and deemed illegal by Democrats on grounds that the president cannot ask a foreign power to interfere in an election that would see Trump square off against Joe Biden.

Quick to defend her boss in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Kellyanne Conway challenged reporter Dana Bash to point out any evidence in the transcript of the call. She denied that the president did anything impeachable, stating, "We don't need Ukraine's help to beat Joe Biden, anymore than we needed help to help beat Hillary Clinton."

Conway showed no signs of backing down, especially when former President Trump was facing the likelihood of a career-ender. Her position also flew in the face of a national security expert who testified (per CNN) that Trump was planning to withhold all military hardware unless Ukraine complied with his request. In the end, despite the impeachment, the Senate cleared Donald Trump of any wrongdoing, and Conway would spin further issues for several more months.

Kellyanne Conway denied knowing a key player in the Ukraine scandal

There were suspicions that Kellyanne Conway was closer to the Ukraine scandal than she ever let on, and those suspicions involved Lev Parnas (an associate of Rudy Guiliani), who was hired to dig up dirt on the Bidens. With Parnas having a major role in the scandal, CNN's Chris Cuomo pressed Conway in a January 2020 "Cuomo Prime Time" interview to unearth more about this person of interest. 

"Speak to what Lev Parnas says and what the documents show ... and what the president shows, and what the witness showed," said Cuomo. 

"I don't know Lev Parnas," protested Conway in return. "What documents?"

Never mind the documents in this case, as it turns out that Conway actually knew Parnas. That truth surfaced soon after the interview, when Parnas' lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, tweeted a photo of his client posing with Conway.

Which raises another question: how much does Kellyanne Conway know about the Ukraine scandal that almost did in her boss?

How did Kellyanne Conway respond to Donald Trump's payment to Stormy Daniels?

When Donald Trump was on the campaign trail that resulted in his 2016 presidential win, he allegedly had an affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels and enlisted the help of his personal attorney at the time, Michael Cohen, to keep a lid on it. Cohen complied by arranging to pay off the star for $130,000. This transaction should have been a red flag for Kellyanne Conway, who was Trump's campaign manager at the time. "This never crossed my desk. I was never made aware of this," Conway said to Margaret Brennan on "Face the Nation" in 2018. "I found this out many, many longtime afterwards, long after I got into the White House."

She was also believed the payoffs were not made with campaign money. As Trump claimed he didn't have knowledge of the payoff and deferred to Michael Cohen in footage from Air Force One, Conway commented that she had "some visibility" into the situation before telling Brennan, "But I don't deal with this every day when I walk into the White House." 

By pleading ignorance, Conway may have lost some of her credibility. On the other hand, Cohen pleaded guilty to fraud charges and was given a three-year prison sentence.

Kellyanne Conway makes false claim about Antifa moniker

One particular gaggle of morning show hosts on "Fox & Friends" was always so obliging in helping Kellyanne Conway stage her comments, remarks, and insight on contemporary issues that reflected the psyche of Donald Trump.

Newsweek reported on a 2019 show where Conway commented on the escalating violence surrounding activist group Antifa, an anti-fascist group that supported left-wing causes at public rallies. In particular, she took aim at the group not long after a public fracas in Portland between them and the considerably right-wing group the Proud Boys. 

"Do we know what 'Antifa' stands for? It's 'anti-First Amendment,'" declared Conway, claiming to disavow violence. Inexplicably, she ignored one element in that the Proud Boys probably had something to do with the chaos on the streets

As for Conway's pacifism, she seemed to have a short memory when appearing on "Fox & Friends" two months before the 2020 presidential election. "The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who's best on public safety and law and order," Conway said on the show (in an obvious Trump endorsement). 

She got her economic numbers wrong

There's no doubt that Kellyanne Conway demonstrates a great deal of panache in her pushback against the media (and the left in general) regarding social issues. But when it comes to numbers, she hasn't exactly been on the ball. Case in point was an April 2019 "CNN Newsroom" interview in which Conway proudly proclaimed that the U.S. economic growth had increased by over 4%, while unemployment dipped to less than 4%. 

Those "facts" were quickly shot down by the Annenberg Public Policy Center's Fact Check website, which revealed that Conway's numbers were overly optimistic. The real numbers indicated that, while one quarter of Donald Trump's presidency in 2018 saw 4.2% growth, "GDP growth [had] not been higher than 2.9 percent since President Donald Trump took office." Conway was closer in the unemployment category, which registered at 3.8% at the time.

Conway flatly denied a weakening economy. The former counselor proclaimed to reporters in 2019, "The fact is, the fundamentals of our economy are very strong" (via AP News).

Donald Trump's controversial Bible pose was no problem for Kellyanne Conway

Two months before Kellyanne Conway left her White House post in 2020, she was only too eager to pose for a photo-op outside a fire-damaged church near the White House. The plan was to get Donald Trump and high-ranking members of his entourage to pose in front of St. John's Episcopal Church with a Bible in the president's hand to demonstrate to the country that, despite the riots over racial inequality that were tearing the U.S. apart, Trump was still in charge. But the blowback over this photo-op was massive, especially when it was revealed that the National Guard used tear gas, rubble bullets and other artillery to move a group of protesters out of the way.

"Is it a 'photo-op' because a photo was taken?" Salon reported Conway flippantly saying to the media. "I know it ended up being a 'Sesame Street' Grover word of the day, but that doesn't make it right — and it doesn't make it true."

She also had some choice words for the church's bishop, Mariann Budde, who was outraged at Donald Trump's controversial actions. "That is not 'her church,' that is not 'her Bible,'" Conway said on Fox News, before taking shots at "arsonists and anarchists," adding, "We won't allow them to dissuade us from practicing our religion."

Perhaps for a moment, she had an altered vision of the Almighty.