— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 14, 2017
Between the ongoing controversy regarding her “Bowling Green massacre” comment and Saturday Night Live‘s awkward skit featuring a Fatal Attraction-inspired spat between her and CNN’s Jake Tapper, Kellyanne Conway is facing a rather tough week at work. To make matters worse, Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation from the national security advisor post following backlash over his allegedly improper behavior with Russian officials is only extending the presidential counselor’s “case of the Mondays” into Tuesday morning with her appearance on Today with Matt Lauer. Needless to say, her attempted explanation of the matter didn’t sit well with the morning show co-host.
“Yesterday on MSNBC you said that Michael Flynn enjoyed the full confidence of the president, Sean Spicer later said the president was evaluating the situation, and then Michael Flynn resigns overnight,” Lauer began before directing his attention back to Conway. “Were you out of the loop on this?” Despite its abruptness (and Lauer’s past prowess as a town hall moderator), the Today host’s question was fair. After all, Conway was ready for it:
“No, not at all. Both were true. The president is very loyal, he’s a very loyal person, and by night’s end Michael Flynn had decided it was best to resign. He knew he’d become a lightening rod and he made that decision.”
Yet her answer suggested Flynn’s resignation was completely of his own volition, which contradicted reports identifying his dishonesty with the administration — especially Vice President Mike Pence — as the ultimate reason for his departure. Lauer broached this with Conway, who explained “that fact is what became unsustainable, actually.” Continuing, she said “misleading the vice president really was the key here” while repeating her previous statement regarding the resignation ultimately being Flynn’s decision. Lauer didn’t buy it.
“You’re saying that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back, but the White House knew about that last month when the Justice Department warned the White House that [Flynn] had not been completely honest,” he said. Conway talked over the point as “one characterization” and began discussing other items, at which point Lauer interjected:
“Kellyanne, that makes no sense! Last month the Justice Department warned the White House that General Flynn misled them! And that as a result he was vulnerable to blackmail and at that moment he still had the complete trust of the president?”
Nevertheless Conway persisted, acknowledging Flynn’s resignation and Trump’s well wishes for him and mentioning three possible national security adviser candidates currently being vetted by the White House. Lauer made subsequent attempts to return to his point, but that aspect of the interview progressed no further.