Early Monday, MSNBC reported that President-elect Donald Trump was furious about Kellyanne Conway's comments regarding the possibility of Mitt Romney being appointed to his cabinet. Conway said on Sunday that many of Trump's supporters would feel "betrayed" if he selected Romney, who once called Trump "dangerous." On Monday, Conway called MSNBC's reporting "sexist" following claims that she was "pushing her own agenda." In addition, Conway asserted that what MSNBC had reported was "all false," and she continued on to say that "[Trump] wants me by his side."
In the original report, MSNBC cited sources who said that Conway "went rogue at Donald Trump's expense at the worst possible time." These sources also told MSNBC that Conway's reported inability to be a team player during the transition process was a cause of frustration for Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, the incoming chief of staff and chief strategist respectively.
However, Conway isn't the only one who is against Romney's appointment. In light of Romney being considered as a potential secretary of state, Conway and other Trump allies have attempted to block his nomination. That being said, Conway's lack of discretion does not have much precedent. In one television interview on Sunday, Conway said that Romney would be "nothing but awful" for a Trump administration, and she criticized him for questioning "the character and the intellect and the integrity of Donald Trump." According to MSNBC, these remarks left top Trump aides "baffled," and one of the aides said that Conway's decision to push her own agenda instead of foster party unity was "dangerous."
Conway, in turn, texted Joe Scarborough — host of MSNBC's Morning Joe — shortly thereafter to call these claims and MSNBC's reporting "sexist." Conway also said she could get whatever job she wants, and Scarborough read her message out loud on the air so that the panel could respond. Scarborough questioned whether Conway was "suggesting that the people that she's working with, the three people at the top of the Trump transition campaign, are sexist." He responded to Conway by saying that the information cited in the original MSNBC report came from sources close to Donald Trump.
Scarborough's panelists argued that the reporting was not sexist, saying that had Priebus gone on television interviews and said similar things, critics would be asking similar questions. However, it does not seem likely that Priebus would have been accused of going "rogue" or pushing his own "agenda," and Conway was not completely off the mark when she commented on MSNBC's sexism. Priebus and Conway may occupy different positions post-election, but while Priebus would have also received similar criticism in such a scenario, the language used by critics would be much different.
Whether or not Trump is furious about Conway's comments — and it is likely that he is — the president-elect's task may well be, as former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer pointed out on Morning Joe, to create a cohesive team around him so he doesn't become embroiled in more media clashes like this one.