President Donald Trump’s defender-in-chief, Kellyanne Conway, is coming to Spokane, just as Trump may need a defender like never before.
Conway, counselor to the president, will speak Friday at a private campaign fundraising event for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
The attorney, pundit and pollster who gained fame in the 1990s on cable TV became a household name after Trump hired her as his campaign manager following the resignation of Paul Manafort. She is the first woman to have led a winning presidential campaign. She also was placed in charge of the president’s efforts to combat increases in opioid overdose deaths.
McMorris Rodgers spokesman Jared Powell said the two had been in talks for a Spokane visit.
“She was interested in coming, and we invited her out,” he said.
Conway has sparked controversy at times with dubious claims.
And she has been the target of withering ridicule among Trump opponents. She is credited for single-handedly sparking skyrocketing sales of George Orwell’s “1984” when she used the term “alternative facts” in an interview shortly after Trump’s inauguration. While still a favorite guest on some cable news programs, she’s been sidelined on others for making false statements.
This is the second high-profile Trump loyalist McMorris Rodgers has brought to town this summer for campaign fundraisers. Her re-election bid against Democrat Lisa Brown is expected to be the closest race she’s faced.
The event will be held Friday evening at a private Spokane home and cost $50 to attend. It will be open to media outlets, but video recording is not currently being considered, according to the campaign. That’s a departure from the appearance – closed to the media – by U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., late last month. A recording of that event eventually made its way to MSNBC, prompting the congresswoman to answer questions about the job security of the man overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Conway’s visit is coinciding with what may be the most perilous moment in Trump’s presidency thus far. On Tuesday, a jury convicted Manafort of financial crimes. And Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws.
Cohen’s case is the bigger headache for the president. He implicated Trump under oath in an alleged scheme to keep two women silent before the 2016 election about affairs they said they had with Trump.
McMorris Rodgers said Wednesday she hadn’t been able to review Cohen’s statements to a judge during his plea hearing to determine if they require a Congressional response.
“I haven’t reviewed it to see if the evidence would meet that criteria,” she said.
Conway has remained a loud voice critical of the unrelated, but ongoing Russia investigation led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
In a Fox News interview on Tuesday, Conway noted that Trump has cooperated with the investigators, but pointed to several federal officials who Trump has accused of being biased and unfair, including former FBI Director James Comey and Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who helped lead the investigation but was fired as a result of anti-Trump texts.
She also referred to the dossier prepared by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele that was funded by the Democratic Party.
“May I remind your audience it’s just a fancy French word for ‘a load of crap,’” she said in the Fox News interview, regarding the word “dossier.”