We know from the primary season how much Donald Trump loved to play the media. It’s one of the things that I liked about Trump.
Remember when he baited the media by announcing he was giving a press conference pertaining to Barack Obama’s birth certificate? Then, once all the media showed up to the press conference, expecting some apology or shocking statement from Trump, the media was instead treated to a round of military veterans all expressing their support for Trump. And then, finally, at the very end, he made a tiny statement about Obama’s birth certificate.
He’s dealt with the press his entire adult life. He knows what they’re really after, and to him, they’re perfectly predictable.
I knew there was something fishy about Kellyanne Conway making the rounds on the news networks openly criticizing Mitt Romney. I didn’t go as far as the media did in thinking that she “trashed” him. But it was clear that she echoed many of the same concerns that a lot of conservatives have about Trump appointing Romney to be Secretary of State.
Shortly after her interviews and critical comments, the media reported that anonymous people inside the Trump transition team were saying that Trump was ‘furious’ with Kellyanne Conway. In addition, the media were saying that Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus both had problems with Conway and wanted her gone. The whole thing fed into the overall narrative being pushed by the media that the Trump transition team was characterized by infighting and chaos.
According to New York Times’ national correspondent Mark Leibovich, Trump may have been playing the media again, overdramatizing the transition process.
Norah O’Donnell, CBS News: …Were Kellyanne Conway’s remarks about Mitt Romney, were they sanctioned or is Trump now angry with her about making those?
Mark Leibovich: To me, it’s one of those two choices. I think the more interesting — I think what is entirely likely here, given how we’ve seen the Trump team operated is that Donald Trump is essentially telling her to go out and make public statements that would denigrate one of the candidates in a way to sort of add drama to the process, but also to if he ultimately picks Mitt Romney, they could seem more, you know, magnanimous in a way. It’s unclear what Mitt Romney’s role in all of this, what he knows and why he went along with it.
Gayle King, CBS News: But do you believe that Kellyanne Conway would not be speaking out so publicly if she thought it would be upsetting to Donald Trump. You are saying that, correct?
Leibovich: My sense is yes. I think it would somewhat unlikely especially since she has gone all over TV consistently over the last few days telling not so much a party line but being very, very strenuous in her support of everything else Donald Trump has done. So it’s a bit strange to see a divergence there.
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