Kellyanne Conway's role of twisting Donald Trump's less savory statements and actions into more positive ones has now been extended another four years. Her appointment to the counselor to the president position was announced on Thursday morning. According to a statement from the Trump transition team, her new role will be to "work with White House senior leadership on messaging and to help execute the administration's legislative priorities." And as her response shows, she is ready and willing to continue as Trump's mouthpiece and first line of defense against media criticism.
In an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo shortly after the announcement, Conway stated that she is "really pleased and frankly humbled" to take on the new role. She went on to add:
Considering Conway's critical communications role during Trump's election campaign, no one is better suited to serve as a messenger during Trump's administration. And her "very much" believing in Trump's controversial agenda will be key, as she will repeatedly be called on to defend it over the next four years.
Trump doesn't seem too keen on giving press conferences, so Conway may bear the brunt of making potential agenda items, such as making Mexico pay for a wall at the southern border and bringing stop-and-frisk nationwide, palatable to the American public. She may also be called on to downplay some of Trump's indiscretions such as his many pending legal battles, conflicts of interest, and any other revelations damaging to the Trump brand and presidency. As such, she may soon become the most visible outlet for the "normalization" of xenophobia, misogyny, and racism that many feared would follow Trump's election.
During the campaign season, Conway proved her unwavering ability to defend the now president-elect's communication blunders and agenda items. And she has already begun to do so on the heels of her new appointment. In speaking to Cuomo, who said Trump has gone back and forth on whether or not he will ban Muslims from entering the United States, Conway denied that Trump ever wavered on his position or that people would be banned from the country on the basis of their religion. This, despite the fact that on Wednesday, in response to Berlin's Christmas market attack, Trump implied he remained resolute in his intention to go forward with the proposed ban.
Conway has a big job ahead of her as the Trump administration's agenda plans move into concrete action and legislation. And the rhetoric she uses will have a great effect on how everyday Americans respond. Journalists may ramp up their criticisms of and challenges to the new presidential administration, and they will have a skilled antagonist in Conway. And as the fight against normalization of white nationalism and bigotry continues, those who wish to combat such normalization may have to up the ante to keep up with her.