Conway given top adviser role at White House
President-elect Donald Trump named campaign manager Kellyanne Conway to a top adviser’s role at the White House and filled out his media team Thursday, picking Republican Party spokesman Sean Spicer as his press secretary.
Mr. Trump also said Jason Miller and Hope Hicks, who handled press for his campaign, will be his communications director and director of strategic communications, and said Dan Scavino will be his social media director.
Mr. Trump called Ms. Conway a “tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda” and said she “has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message.”
Ms. Conway said she was offered the press secretary’s job, which would have made her the daily face of the White House, but turned it down, and instead managed to secure a more influential post as counselor to the president.
She said she didn’t want to compare herself to others, but likened the role she could occupy to that of Valerie Jarrett, who is seen as one of President Obama’s more trusted and influential advisers despite largely avoiding the public limelight.
The transition team said Ms. Conway’s role will entail working with senior leadership “to effectively message and execute the administration’s legislative priorities and actions.”
Ms. Conway joined the Trump campaign team in the middle of this year, taking over as it was struggling to regain its footing. She helped Mr. Trump to stay closer to his campaign’s planned messages, and honed his approach to policy, even as she made the campaign more accessible to the press.
In Mr. Trump’s victory, she also became the first female campaign manager to successfully guide a candidate into the White House.
Ms. Conway is also a longtime pollster with a specialty in trying to help male GOP candidates communicate effectively to women. She cheekily predicted Thursday that her gender actually might come in handy in navigating what has long been seen as the boy’s club of politics.
“I would say that I don’t play golf and I don’t have a mistress, so I have a lot of time that a lot of these other men don’t,” she said on Fox Business Network.
For his part, Mr. Spicer was deployed from the Republican National Committee over to the Trump campaign in the later stages of the race, and helped smooth out some of the wrinkles that had developed between the two operations.
Since the election, he’s been a major voice in the Trump transition team.
Ms. Conway joins incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and top strategist Stephen K. Bannon as part of an inner circle of advisers who will closely guide and shape Mr. Trump and the decisions he makes while in office.
Mr. Priebus and Mr. Bannon were two of the first hires Mr. Trump announced after his victory last month, and they have been billed as “equal partners.”
Mr. Priebus, who as RNC chairman works closely with Mr. Spicer, consistently stuck by Mr. Trump after the president-elect emerged from the often chaotic GOP presidential nominating process. Mr. Priebus also helped oversee the party’s much-touted ground game in the wake of an admittedly lackluster effort on that front in 2012.
Mr. Bannon, the former Breitbart News executive, was brought on to serve as the campaign’s CEO in August soon before former chairman Paul Manafort left the campaign. Mr. Bannon’s arrival was announced at the same time Ms. Conway was promoted to campaign manager.