Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway defended Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after the release of a controversial hot mic recording of a vulgar 2005 conversation involving her candidate, which led to a rare apology from Trump.
Despite cancelling her weekend interviews immediately following the scandal, Conway resumed appearances after the second presidential debate. On CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” Tuesday night, Conway criticized Hillary Clinton’s campaign for focusing on the audio in the middle of a debate.
“I was really just amazed that team Hillary, after everything came out the other night, they said she just wants to talk about the issues,” Conway said.
She also criticized Clinton’s ads in an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly weeks earlier, where Kelly reminded her that “the ads that [Clinton’s] running about [Trump], when it comes to his comments on women, use his words.”
Cooper did the same. “Let’s just be clear, the reason this has been making headlines is because Donald Trump was discussing and bragging about sexual assault 11 years ago on a bus,” he reminded Conway. “It’s not Hillary Clinton who put those words in his mouth.”
Cooper also asked about a series of audio clips focusing on various interviews between Trump and radio shock jock Howard Stern. The candidate spoke vividly on his sexual activities, including infidelity, as well as his fascination with his daughter Ivanka.
Conway accused Cooper of trying to “drive a wedge” in Trump’s relationship with his daughter, then asked why CNN couldn’t cover “Obamacare and ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism.”
The host replied that the network did, and advertised one of CNN’s specials.
Following the controversy over the weekend, several Republican politicians retracted their endorsements, called for Trump to drop out, or refused to defend his comments (including his own vice presidential pick). Even campaign surrogate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said that Trump was describing sexual assault in the audio.
The Hill has compiled a thorough list of the Republicans who have pulled their support or asked Trump to step aside.