Kellyanne Conway advises Trump to wait ‘right after midterms’ if he announces White House candidacy

Former President Donald Trump is “hamstringing” to announce his third presidential bid, his former adviser and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has said. But she advised him to wait.

“My advice to the president privately is my advice to him publicly, which is, ‘If you want to announce, wait until after midterms,'” she told CBS News’ Catherine Herridge in an interview on Friday.

Asked if she thought Trump would announce his candidacy, Conway retorted, “He wished he had already.” She said she had been hanging out with the former president this week, and she told Herridge that if he showed up, “I’ll be a part of it.”

“This nomination is up to President Trump if he wants it, and very little will stand in the way of it, but it’s a very personal choice for him,” Conway said.

That said, Conway understands that even if Trump does run, “there will be others who will run – it won’t be unchallenged.”

She told him to watch Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the House select committee investigating Jan. 6, to announce her own run for president, though “it’s not even clear she can. to be re-elected in Wyoming”. Currently, Cheney appears to be trailing Trump-backed primary challenger Harriet Hageman – a recent survey showed her losing by 22 points.

Conway predicts “dozens of people” will show up if Trump backs out of another presidential campaign and “very, very few people show up” if he decides to run. One of the biggest challengers is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Conway offers him this advice: “I would say ‘go be an amazing two-term governor, Florida’s best two-term governor of modern times, if ever,’ and then he can run for president before he even turns 50. year. .”

She called former Vice President Mike Pence, who she also spent time with this week, the “joker.”

“He’s the guy who was right there with President Trump. It didn’t end on the best of terms,” ​​she said, adding that for four years they sang “from the same songsheet,” a “president and vice president who complemented each other’s styles, but were of one mind on substance.”

While Pence still touts the policies of the Trump administration, he quietly says the two “may differ on focus.” He hinted this week that Trump’s continued focus on the 2020 election is misplaced. “Elections are about the future,” Pence noted at a conference in Washington.

Conway also considered the potential impact of the January 6 hearings on Trump. Sure, there will be people who will be “enraged” and vote against him, she said, but the hearings could also make him “a bit of a martyr.” As voters, she said, “we protest and pontificate as a group,” but we vote as individuals, “and we’re pretty self-serving when we do.”

The truism she landed on in 2016 and brought up again was that “Voters vote based on what affects them, not just what offends them.”

But when it comes to Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, Conway says she’s “not sure what he was doing” for those 187 minutes when his followers invaded the Capitol, before he asked them to stop.

Trump frequently communicated directly with his tens of millions of social media followers. “I wish he had done it sooner,” Conway said.

She recalled that on January 6, 2021, she called the White House. Conway had quit his job adviser to the president a few months earlier to spend more time with her family.

“I called the White House to ask them to talk to people and do more,” she said. “And I’m glad he finally did and told them to go home and go in peace.”

When asked if she managed to contact him, Conway explained how she reached Trump that day.

“I would normally call the president on one of his cell phones or usually through the switchboard, so it’s a secure call. I knew the switchboard would take – it would take too long because they’re doing their job,” Conway said.

Instead, “I called the cell phone of someone I knew was right next to the president. I didn’t even have that cell phone in my phone. I had to call my people who were working with me in my office” for the number, she said.

“I made the call. This person said, ‘Do you want to speak to the president?’ I said, “No, I wouldn’t want to talk to the president. I would like him to tell people to get out of there, and I’ll call him later. “I talked to him,” Conway recalled, “later or maybe early the next day.”

She said she knew her message had been delivered to Trump, “and I was not alone.” Others also convinced the president to act. “‘Add my name to the chorus of people no doubt running out there and burning the phone lines saying, ‘Please get the people out of there.'”

It remains unclear exactly who spoke to Trump during this time. Internal White House records from January 6, 2021 that were turned over to the House Select Committee show a gap in Trump’s phone logs of seven hours and 37 minutesincluding the period when the Capitol was attacked, CBS News’ Robert Costa and Bob Woodward reported earlier this year.

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