Still stinging from a fiery takedown by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, CNN needed therapy and assembled a panel to digest the “threatening” remarks.
CNN political analyst Ryan Lizza judged Conway’s comments as a challenge to as came to the defense of his colleague Dana Bash. The CNN political correspondent sparked a head-to-head clash with Conway on Sunday, asking about her husband’s tweets which have sometimes been critical of President Trump.
The presidential adviser found it “fascinating to me that CNN would go there,” suggesting Bash was questioning her based on her gender and not her personal career accomplishments. Conway’s husband, prominent attorney George Conway, has been known to occasionally weigh in unfavorably on Trump’s decisions.
“It’s very good for the whole world to just witness that it’s now fair game how people’s spouses and significant others may differ with them,” Conway fired back at the CNN host, referring to Bash’s own divorce from CNN chief national correspondent John King six years ago.
“By definition, spouses have a difference of opinion when one is, I don’t know, draining the joint bank account to support things that maybe the other disagrees with. So, this is a fascinating cross the Rubicon moment. And I will leave it at that,” she said.
One could almost hear the gasps of shock and outrage at CNN that a professional woman like Conway, who was the first woman to successfully head a presidential campaign had the audacity to defend herself against liberal double standards.
Lizza reacted to Conway’s comments in the panel, hosted by anchor Fredricka Whitfield, right after the exchange by the women, beginning by bashing Trump as someone who has “never been shy” about criticizing the spouses of others.
“To me it almost sounded like a threat,” he said. “‘Well, you’re talking about a spouse, so maybe I should talk about your spouse,’ and I think that is a real misunderstanding of what the difference is between a public official who is on the government payroll and… the territory that comes along with that versus private citizens, journalists, who are trying to keep a check on those in powerful positions.”
Lizza was convinced Conway was “threatening” but had no issue with Bash pressing the irrelevant questions about her spouse, who does not have a job in the Trump administration.
“And I really was a little surprised that she sort of went up to the line of almost sounding like she was threatening people with that response,” Lizza said.
Republican strategist, Alice Stewart, offered a different response.
“She was actually really happy to have the opportunity to address these tweets which have been out there for quite some time,” Stewart, a friend of Conway’s said, adding that she was probably right to feel angered by remarks that focus on her gender.
“At the end of the day, the question was asked, it was answered,” Stewart said. “There should have been a period at the end of that conversation and moved on.”
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