Fox’s Martha MacCallum and Kellyanne Conway exchange over polls gets testy

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White House counselor Kellyanne Conway dismissed concerns about President Trump’s poll numbers following weeks of civil unrest and a global pandemic.

Conway was confronted by Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on Friday about national polls showing Trump behind presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and a piece by the Wall Street Journal editorial board criticizing the president because he “refuses to acknowledge what every poll now says is true.”

(source: Fox News)

“You hear those editorials, a lot of that sentiment out there today that says that the president sort of needs to shift, needs to understand that the moment has changed, and to meet people where they are in the country right now. What do you say to that?” MacCallum asked, referring to the Wall Street Journal column.

The piece claimed that Trump has “reverted to his worst form,” and that he is heading for a “historic repudiation that would take the Republican Senate down with him.”

“Lately he has all but given up even talking about the pandemic when he might offer realism and hope about the road ahead even as the country reopens,” The Journal editorial board wrote, adding that instead of “empathetic leadership after the death of George Floyd,” which the country needs, the president only “offers combative tweets that inflame.”

Conway responded to MacCallum’s question and the editorial, expressing that the poll numbers are not surprising given the turmoil facing the country in the last few weeks and months.

“Three things are happening right now. We had a global pandemic that still is with us, coronavirus cases. We have an economic crisis that the president is handling, and also we have some social unrest, people calling for racial justice and the like,” Conway said, adding that the president “is on top of all three.”

She noted that Biden “is completely absent from the conversation, which is why his polls are high,” and added that people are “putting onto Joe Biden exactly what they want him to be, what they expect him to be.”

“They’re going to be sorely disappointed once they see him and they hear him time and again. There will be debates, there will be conventions, there will be opportunities for people to question Joe Biden about what exactly he would do on all these crises, rather than just attack Donald Trump,” she added.

“You can’t just say, raise my hand, I’m not Donald Trump. Joe Biden had 40 years to make some significant changes that would’ve put us in a better position to deal with all this and Donald Trump has done a better job in less than four years,” Conway noted as she went on to talk about the president’s recent events related to jobs in the country.

But MacCallum interjected to refocus on the question she initially posed about Trump’s polling and the sentiment in the nation.

“Everything you’re saying lays out the argument for why you think the president is doing an excellent job in these areas, but it doesn’t change what we are seeing in the polls, which is a disconnect,” the Fox News host said.

“And this is something people are talking about a lot in the country, and in many cases I’ve had people say to me, why doesn’t the president do an Oval Office address where we can sort of see his heart on these issues when it comes to racial injustice, when it comes to the fear that people have that the coronavirus is coming back, that it is emerging in places that people hoped it would not emerge at this point?” MacCallum added. “They want a connection with the president that in many ways they feel they are not getting and we’re seeing it in a lot of this polling that we are seeing.”

Conway responded, saying the polls are “about horse race numbers,” adding that the polls are “precisely where I think they would be right now” but that the methodology of polling needed to be looked at in each case.

“As a career pollster, does the approval number give you concern,” MacCallum interjected, referring to former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter who did not get second terms after a drop in the polls.

“I would expect a president’s approval rating to be lower than normal when we are in so many crises in this country. That doesn’t surprise me at all,” Conway replied. “People want to point the finger somewhere and they certainly are pointing at Congress. Congress’ approvals rating is basically half of that and I think it’s because people see they don’t even show up to work, they’re not even working with us.”

“A lot of people talking about a shift that is needed in tone,” MacCallum concluded, wrapping up the segment. “We will see if that resonates ultimately or if it matters.”



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