White House counselor Kellyanne Conway lambasted a reporter for mentioning her husband, George Conway, in a recent article during a phone call that lasted roughly seven minutes.
Conway also threatened to dig up personal information on the reporter.
A recording of the call was released by the Washington Examiner on Thursday afternoon. In a statement, the Examiner's editor-in-chief Hugo Gurdon defended releasing the recording based on what he characterized as Conway's "abusing, bullying and threatening" a reporter. Conway thought the conversation was off-the-record.
The article at the center off the call, written by the Washington Examiner's Caitlin Yilek, was based off of a Bloomberg report suggesting President Donald Trump was considering making Conway his White House chief of staff. Trump has denied such reports.
Yilek's article also referenced the fact George has repeatedly criticized Trump and the president has gone after him because of it.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2019
"I just am wondering why in God's earth you would need to mention anything about George Conway's tweets in an article that talks about me as possibly being chief of staff," Conway said during the phone call. "Other than it looks to me like there's no original reporting here, you just read Twitter and other people's stuff, which I guess is why you don't pick up the phone when people call from the White House because if it's not on Twitter or it's not on cable TV, it's not real."
"I know it's just for clicks, but you're going to have to give me, like, a journalistic reason here, especially if you admit that you just are repeating what another news source said and the president disputed that anyway. So, it's sort of, like, doubly embarrassing. There's no original reporting," Conway went on to say. "If you're going to call yourself a reporter, let's see some reporting. There's no original reporting, and then, it's just lazy."
Yilek defended her reporting, stating that mentioning George was relevant context.
The top White House aide's husband has continuously ripped into Trump via Twitter as well as in a number of op-eds for publications such as the Washington Post. In a July op-ed for the Post, for example, George referred to Trump as a "racist president."
'If you're going to cover my personal life, then we're welcome to do the same around here'
During the angry phone call, Yilek offered to put Conway in touch with her editors. But Conway was apparently not satisfied with this and suggested that the reporter was trying to "rely on the men in your life."
"Let me tell you something, from a powerful woman. Don't pull the crap where you're trying to undercut another woman based on who she's married to. He gets his power through me, if you haven't noticed. Not the other way around," Conway said.
Conway accused Yilek of attempting to characterize her feelings on the highly public spat between her husband and the president, and asked why she felt compelled to do that.
"You can answer that question without your editors. You don't have to rely upon the men in your life and pretend somehow by way of reporting that I rely on the men in my life, which clearly isn't the case," Conway said.
The White House counselor toward the end of the call threatened to find personal information on Yilek: "Listen, if you're going to cover my personal life, then we're welcome to do the same around here. If it has nothing to do with my job, which it doesn't, that's obvious, then we're either going to expect you to cover everybody's personal life or we're going to start covering them over here."
—Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) October 24, 2019
Conway has been asked about her husband's sharp criticism of Trump in the past, and at one point suggested to the Washington Post that her husband's tweets against the president were "disrespectful" to her.
"I feel there's a part of him that thinks I chose Donald Trump over him," Kellyanne told the Post in August 2018. "Which is ridiculous. One is my work and one is my marriage."
Less than an hour after the Washington Examiner released a recording of Conway's call with Yilek, her husband tweeted: "I've learned a lot about narcissism over the past couple of years that I didn't know previously. In fact, I didn't know it had a label, although I had seen it without knowing it."