Trump White House counselor Kellyanne Conway ran into trouble this weekend when she couldn’t name a single West Wing staffer who is African-American.
On Sunday morning’s edition of ABC News’ “This Week,” host Jonathan Karl noted that ousted adviser Omarosa Manigault had been the most senior black person in Trump’s White House before she was forced to resign.
“Who, now, is that person?” Karl asked Conway. “Who is the most prominent, high level adviser to the president on the West Wing staff right now?”
“African American?” Conway asked in clarification, which Karl confirmed.
Then Conway tried to use Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson as an example of a high-level black adviser in the Trump administration.
But Karl interrupted to point out that this wasn’t the question he asked — Carson is not a member of the White House staff, and Karl wanted to know about people who work alongside the president every day in the West Wing like Omarosa had.
“I’m asking you about the White House staff,” Karl said, over Conway’s evasions. “Who — who there is in the White House staff right now?
“We have Ja’Ron,” Conway replied, unable to remember the last name of Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs Ja’Ron Smith.
“He’s been very involved with Jared Kushner and President Trump on prison reform from the beginning,” Conway added.
“Does he have an office in the West Wing, Kellyanne?” Karl asked.
“He has an office on the — in the EOP, absolutely, the Executive Office of the President, yes,” Conway replied, referring to non-West Wing staff who are generally housed in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House.
“But not in the West Wing,” Karl said. “What does that say to have not a single senior advisor in the West Wing who’s African-American?”
Conway stammered that she wasn’t saying that. But she was still unable to name a single black person on the West Wing staff, instead claiming that “we have a number of different minorities.”
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) August 12, 2018
Omarosa’s departure from the White House in December is coming back to haunt Trump this week, as the former “Apprentice” contestant is now promoting a tell-all book.
Omarosa certainly didn’t cover herself in glory during her time with Trump — but her reemergence raises at least one telling point.
It’s been eight months since Sarah Huckabee Sanders couldn’t name a single black White House senior staffer after Omarosa’s firing.
And in all that time, the Trump administration not only hasn’t hired another prominent black person to work in the West Wing — they don’t even appear to have learned the name of the one African-American they have working next door.