Kellyanne Conway asks reporter: ‘What’s your ethnicity?’
Donald Trump’s White House counsellor later said ‘no disrespect’ intended with comment
The White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday questioned a reporter about his ethnicity while defending Donald Trump’s attacks on four congresswomen of colour.
“What’s your ethnicity?” Mrs Conway replied to Andrew Feinberg, a reporter for BeltwayBreakfast.com when he pressed her on the president’s controversial comments.
The journalist had asked Mrs Conway which countries the US president was referring to when he tweeted that four Democratic lawmakers - representatives Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota - should “go back” to where they “came from”.
Mr Trump’s remarks have widely been condemned as racist and on Tuesday drew a formal rebuke from the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. All four members of Congress targeted by Mr Trump are US citizens.
Addressing reporters at the White House, Ms Conway grew testy while fielding questions on Mr Trump’s motivations in singling out the four women.
When asked by Mr Feinberg why his own ethnicity was relevant to the discussion, Mrs Conway shot back: “Because I’m asking you a question.” She also offered that her ancestors were from Ireland and Italy, to which Mr Feinberg replied: “My ethnicity is not relevant to the question I’m asking you.”
Mrs Conway later wrote on Twitter that she meant “no disrespect” by asking about the reporter’s ethnicity, in a bid to spin Mr Trump’s comments as alluding to the idea that everyone has a heritage.
“We are all from somewhere else ‘originally.’ I asked the question to answer the question and volunteered my own ethnicity: Italian and Irish,” she tweeted. “Like many, I am proud of my ethnicity, love the USA & grateful to God to be an American.”
Mrs Conway has forcefully defended Mr Trump amid the controversy over his remarks, stating: “A lot of us are sick and tired in this country of America coming last.”
Her husband, George Conway, meanwhile wrote a column in the Washington Post titled: ‘Trump is a racist president’.
Mr Conway, a conservative lawyer, is a prominent critic of Trump’s who has repeatedly declared the president’s actions as unconstitutional despite his wife’s position in the West Wing.
In his op-ed, he recalled an incident from his childhood when his mother, who had immigrated to the US from the Philippines, was told: “Go back to your country.”
“No matter how much I came to dislike him, I didn’t want to think that the president of the United States is a racial bigot,”he added, “But Sunday left no doubt.”
“Naivete, resentment and outright racism, roiled in a toxic mix, have given us a racist president.” - Guardian Service