Cliff Sims, a former campaign aide and special assistant to President Donald Trump, is about to debut a new memoir titled: Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House, which will detail what he describes as an “out of control” White House.
Last week, Sims published an exclusive excerpt from his book in Vanity Fair, which gives us a brief glimpse of what the memoir will entail and it doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of Trump counselor, Kellyanne Conway, who Sims describes as a “cartoon villain brought to life,” while he tells about the “leaking, the gossiping, and the infighting that made Kellyanne Conway such a formidable player in the White House.”
‘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. Her agenda—which was her survival over all others, including the president—became more and more transparent. 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. She seemed to be perennially cloaked in an invisible fur coat, casting an all-knowing smile, as if she’d collected 98 Dalmatians with only 3 more to go.’
For some reason, Conway has been able to plant herself in a pretty nice position in the White House and Sims recalls her not having any specific duties except as a more public mouthpiece, appearing frequently on many of the cable and prime time news shows.
‘As counselor to the president, Kellyanne managed to land a job with no fixed responsibilities, So she was able to continue being the president’s pit bull on TV—a job that never goes out of fashion in Trumpworld—and otherwise just dabble in areas that piqued her interest.’
Sims goes on to say that:
‘early on she was content—very content—to sit back, go on TV, and let rivals eat one another alive. And she was predictably resentful of both Ivanka and Jared’s immovable status in Trump’s orbit.’
In the book, Sims also recalls a time when Kellyanne asked for his help in responding to a report by MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where they accused her of being “two-faced” when it comes to Trump, and based on what Sims writes next, it appears that Morning Joe might have been right.
‘in May 2017, the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe appeared on-air to accuse Kellyanne of being two-faced when it came to Donald Trump. Mika Brzezinski claimed that when Kellyanne came on their show during the campaign, she would lavish Trump with praise, and then “the camera would be turned off, the microphone would be taken off, and she would say, ‘Blech, I need to take a shower,’ because she disliked her candidate so much.” Joe Scarborough asserted that Kellyanne had only taken the Trump gig because it would pay off financially. And they both said they had decided to no longer book her on the show because she lacked credibility.
‘Kellyanne had developed pretty thick skin, and normally she would let this kind of stuff go. So I was a little surprised when she called me upstairs to her office to discuss issuing a response. I assumed this was because she feared Trump would believe the charges, which might threaten her plum White House position of doing whatever it was she wanted whenever she felt like it.’
Sims goes on to write:
‘I had not brought my work laptop upstairs with me when she called, so Kellyanne pointed over to her personal MacBook sitting on the conference table on the other side of the room. “Just use that and type something up for me,” she said.
‘Over the course of 20 minutes or so, she was having simultaneous conversations with no fewer than a half-dozen reporters, most of them from outlets the White House frequently trashed for publishing “fake news.” Journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Politico, and Bloomberg were all popping up on the screen. And these weren’t policy conversations, or attempts to fend off attacks on the president. As I sat there trying to type, she bashed Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, and Sean Spicer, all by name. (“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 said in a statement shortly after publication. According to a source familiar with the situation, the statement was drafted in consultation with her husband, George Conway.)
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. She wasn’t totally trashing the president, at least as the Morning Joe crew described it, but she definitely wasn’t painting him in the most favorable light. She was talking about him like a child she had to set straight. I was sitting there, watching this, totally bewildered. I was supposed to be writing a statement, defending her against accusations that she had done almost exactly what I was watching her do that very moment.
When Fox & Friends co-host Abby Huntsman later asked Kellyanne about allegations that she was the “No. 1 leaker” in the administration, she sidestepped the question, only saying that “leakers get great press,” and adding that “one day, Abby, I will have my say.”
From what I saw on her computer, she was having her say all day long. 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. It didn’t hurt matters with the latter group that her husband, George, was an increasingly frequent critic of the president on Twitter. If the Trump administration was the Titanic, as many outsiders routinely claimed, then Kellyanne seemed determined to play the role of the Unsinkable Molly Brown. She wasn’t going to go down with this ship.
Sims concludes this excerpt by saying that “posterity will look back on this bizarre time in history as if we were living in the pages of a Dickens novel. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”
You can read the entire excerpt published by Vanity Fair here.
Featured image via YouTube.