Honestly we all saw this coming but holy shit is it insufferable to hear President Donald Trump talk about why he won’t fire White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
Speaking to the Fox & Friends team on Friday for a much-anticipated phone interview, Trump said he wasn’t going to fire Conway, despite the Office of Special Counsel’s recommendation that she be removed from her post for violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits employees of the federal government from actively engaging in political activity, multiple times.
“No, I’m not gonna fire her. I think she’s a terrific person. She’s a tremendous spokesperson,” Trump said. “She’s been loyal, she’s just a great person...They have tried to take away her speech, and I think you’re entitled to free speech in this country.”
Trump’s reluctance to act on Conway’s flagrant violations comes less than a day after he announced that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would finally be leaving at the end of the month. So I totally get it—how could Trump let go of one of his most strident liars and defenders when one of them is already parting ways?
The Office of Special Counsel’s Harry Kerner, nominated by Trump in 2017 (and a permanent position different from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller), recommended Conway’s firing, but didn’t seem to care what Trump decided despite the White House attempting to smear him as buckling to pressure from the radical left just yesterday.
“We respect his decision and, of course, the president has any option he’d like—to reprimand or not to reprimand,” Kerner told Fox News in a Thursday interview. “It is up to the president’s discretion and we respect that.
“I am a Trump appointee—I have no animus toward Kellyanne whatsoever,” Kerner continued. “My job is to make sure the federal workforce stay as depoliticized and as fair as possible.”
However, Kerner did make it clear in his report to Trump: Conway is a “repeat offender,” and if she’s not disciplined for these multiple violations, her actions would “send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide” to the federal law, and thereby “erode the principal foundation of our democratic system—the rule of law.”
If you can believe it, Trump’s not interested.
“It doesn’t work that way,” Trump told Fox & Friends, blathering on about how Conway is just trying to defend him. “Basically...a person wouldn’t be able to express themselves, and I just don’t see it. I’m going to get a briefing on it, but it seems to me to be very unfair. It’s called freedom of speech.”
Yup, sounds right.