When Donald Trump and Kellyanne Conway finally connected over the phone following the release of her 500-plus page memoir, “Here’s The Deal,” Trump’s 2016 campaign manager had a simple question for the former president: “Door-stopper or show-stopper?”
For most Trump aides, that sort of question would have only further strained their relationship with the president. Conway’s question, after all, came after Trump was reportedly “livid,” according to one source close to Trump.
But that wasn’t Trump’s reaction, and it wasn’t the tone he struck with Conway during that conversation. “It’s pretty good,” he said. “Yes, pretty good. We did a lot of great things together.”
The phone call followed Trump’s note about Conway’s book, which he posted on his social media platform Truth Social on May 26. (This account was relayed to The Daily Beast from a source familiar with the conversation.)
That source and another source told The Daily Beast that, before he read the book, Trump was planning to send out a “positive” and “glowing” press release touting not only Conway but their long-standing relationship.
Instead, Trump issued a stinging attack.
“Kellyanne Conway never told me that she thought we lost the election,” Trump wrote. “If she had, I wouldn’t have dealt with her any longer—she would have been wrong—could go back to her crazy husband.”
“Writing books can make people say some very strange things,” he continued.
One of the sources close to Trump said Conway’s hardline and outspoken position that the 2020 election was not “stolen” particularly touched a nerve. “I may have been the first person Donald Trump trusted in his inner circle who told him that he had come up short this time,” Conway wrote in her book.
But for all the drama Conway’s book caused, those within Trump’s orbit say the frustration with his former adviser didn’t last.
“Kellyanne occupies unique and prime real estate in Donald Trump’s legacy and heart, and that’s why they’re in regular touch,” one of the sources familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast.
Trump apparently feels the same way.
“I have a very good relationship with Kellyanne,” the former president told The Daily Beast on Friday evening through a spokesperson. Trump didn’t address a series of other questions involving this story.
According to a third source, Trump and Conway remain in “close touch.” Conway, this person said, has a way of understanding the former president.
(Conway, for her part, declined comment on this story.)
All the same, Conway has once again found a way to thread a needle that few in Trumpworld have managed: writing a book that people bought, and remaining in Trump’s good graces.
Her semi-effusive tome on the Trump presidency made it to the top of The New York Times’ bestsellers list without the coveted Trump endorsement, and she scored guest appearances on Fox News, The View, even the Trump-ridiculing Daily Show.
And yet, even after Conway wrote that he lost the election, mulled quitting ahead during the final stretch of the 2016 election, and tore into his son-in-law Jared Kushner, she’s still close with Trump.
It’s just the latest example of Conway finding a way to float above the normal controversies that usually tarnish Trump aides. And it sets up the possibility that Conway, even after her controversial book, could be an important player in a future Trump candidacy for president.
One of the sources close to Trump noted that Conway’s relationship with the former president “always has been” directly with Trump. The duo, this source also noted, still speak “several” times a week.
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