- Jim Young/Reuters
- Ex-Trump aide Cliff Sims said Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway puts her “survival over all others, including the president” in a new tell-all book.
- The book, “Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the White House,” is set to be released on January 29.
- In the book, Sims portrayed Conway as a ruthlessly ambitious member of the Trump administration and said he witnessed her bad-mouthing her colleagues to the press behind their backs.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is like a “cartoon villain brought to life,” according to ex-Trump aide Cliff Sims.
In a new tell-all book, “Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the White House,” Sims portrayed Conway as perhaps the most ruthless member of an administration full of nakedly ambitious backstabbers.
“As I watched Kellyanne in operation over our time in the White House, my view of her sharpened. It became hard to look long at her without getting the sense that she was a cartoon villain brought to life,” Sims wrote in an excerpt of the book obtained by Vanity Fair ahead of its January 29 release. He likened Conway to Cruella de Vil.
“Her agenda … was her survival over all others, including the president … Once you figured that out, everything about her seemed so calculated; every statement, even a seemingly innocuous one, seemed poll-tested by a focus group that existed inside her mind,” Sims added.
Part of Conway’s efforts to outlast her colleagues in the Trump administration involved bad-mouthing them to the press, including many of the mainstream outlets President Donald Trump refers to as “fake news,” Sims wrote.
While working on a statement for Conway in her office one day, Sims said he witnessed her having “conversations with no fewer than a half-dozen reporters, most of them from outlets the White House frequently trashed for publishing ‘fake news.'”
Sims had forgotten his work laptop, so Conway let him use hers as she was apparently texting reporters. He said he could “inadvertently see every conversation she was having” because her iMessage account was tied to both her phone and laptop. Sims wasn’t sure if Conway had considered this as she bashed “Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, and Sean Spicer, all by name.”
Sims added, “She also recounted private conversations she’d had with the president, during which, at least in her telling, she’d convinced him to see things her way, which she said was a challenge when you’re dealing with someone so unpredictable and unrestrained.”
He said she wasn’t “totally trashing the president” but “definitely wasn’t painting him in the most favorable light.”
Conway talked about Trump “like a child she had to set straight,” Sims wrote.
“Kellyanne was playing a double game – putting a foot in both worlds – telling Trump and his supporters on Fox one thing, while bad-mouthing them to the ‘mainstream’ media in private,” he said.
In a statement to Vanity Fair on the excerpt from Sims’ book, Conway said, “The real leakers, past and present, get much more positive press than I do. While it’s rare, I prefer to knife people from the front, so they see it coming.”
Conway reportedly drafted the statement in consultation with her husband, George Conway, a frequent critic of the president.
In a tweet on Wednesday night, George Conway denied helping with the statement.
“I never saw this statement, let alone helped draft it; nor was I aware of the book excerpt to which it responds until a short while ago,” he said.