Kellyanne Conway struggles to name a single black White House advisor

'What does that say to not have a single senior advisor in the West Wing who is African-American?' a news anchor asked the president's counsellor. 

Kimberley Richards
New York
Monday 01 October 2018 01:01 BST
Kellyanne Conway struggles to name a single senior African American working in the West Wing

Donald Trump aide Kellyanne Conway has struggled to name one black senior advisor on the president's staff amid a controversy over a new book by black former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault-Newman;

When asked on ABC’s This Week to name a prominent high-level advisor to the president in the West Wing of the White House, Ms Conway struggled to answer. Instead, the president’s counsellor redirected the conversation to Ben Carson, who is the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development – and not a member of the White House staff.

Ms Conway’s appearance on This Week comes amid recent news surrounding Ms Newman, who has been promoting her new book Unhinged. Ms Manigault-Newman, who was in charge of Mr Trump’s White House African-American outreach, was fired from the White House last December.

Ms Manigault-Newman, once an ardent supporter of the US president, has recently released recordings of her conversations with Mr Trump and White House chief of staff John Kelly to the media. The former White House aide had notably said it was “uncomfortable” being the “only African-American woman” in the White house as a senior advisor upon her exit.

Mr Trump has since lashed out at Ms Manigault-Newman on Twitter writing, “people in the White House hated her” and calling her “wacky Omarosa”.

When This Week anchor Jonathan Karl pushed Ms Conway further to name a black senior-level advisor in the White House Ms Conway named someone by their first name, Ja'Ron, who she said has been involved with Jared Kushner and the president's efforts on prison reform.

"He's been there from the beginning," Ms Conway said.

Kellyanne Conway: 'I have never a single time heard President Trump use a racial slur about anyone'

Mr Karl then pointed out Ja'Ron, whose full name is Ja'Ron Smith does not have a position in the West Wing – and particularly as a senior advisor. According to a White House briefing statement, Mr Smith serves as a special assistant to the president.

"What does that say to not have a single senior advisor in the West Wing who is African-American?" Mr Karl asked.

Ms Conway responded by saying: “there are plenty of people”.

“There are plenty of people … if you’re going by that and not by the actions of the president, which you probably should, then you should look at the fact that we have a number of different minorities, and the fact is that this president is doing well for all Americans,” she said.

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