WASHINGTON - White House counselor Kellyanne Conway stood by her statements during a heated phone conversation with a Washington Examiner reporter that went viral on Thursday.
During the confrontational conversation, Conway expressed frustration that Caitlin Yilek wrote about her husband George Conway's anti-Trump tweets and commentary in an article about Bloomberg reporting that said President Donald Trump may be considering Conway as his next chief of staff.
Yilek released audio and a transcript of the phone call.
"I just am wondering why in God's earth you would need to mention anything about George Conway's tweets in an article that talks about me as possibly being chief of staff," Conway said to Yilek.
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"Respectfully, of course, it's just lazy to talk about somebody's Twitter feed. Do you talk about other people's spouses in your pieces, because I've been looking around, I haven't learned a single thing from any of your pieces, and I'm just wondering if you routinely talk about people's spouses?" Conway continued. "Why is it relevant here? George's position is what?"
She boasted, "He gets his power through me, if you haven't noticed. Not the other way around."
In the phone call, Conway argued that Trump hadn't addressed her husband, who calls for the president's impeachment almost daily and constantly questions his mental health. Trump labeled George Conway, a conservative lawyer, the "husband from Hell," earlier this year.
According to the Examiner, Conway's assistant, Tom Joannou, contacted Yilek on Tuesday night for her phone number, and called her Wednesday morning, initiating an off-the-record call before Conway "took over the call."
"Listen, if you're going to cover my personal life, then we're welcome to do the same around here," Conway told the reporter in the phone call. "If it has nothing to do with my job, which it doesn't, that's obvious, then we're either going to expect you to cover everybody's personal life or we're going to start covering them over here."
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Conway continued to criticize Yilek, ingloriously telling her, "OK, then let's talk about your job. What is your job exactly? Is your job to rely upon derivative reporting without picking up the phone and trying to ask questions or write things that are relevant?"
Kellyanne Conway disparagingly told me it was improper to write about her husband and threatened to investigate my personal life in a conversation she thought was off the record. It wasn't. https://t.co/0FTz9jj5Cf
- Caitlin Yilek (@hausofcait) October 24, 2019
After an extensive back and forth about the article and the reasoning for mentioning Conway's husband, Yilek replied, "I don't know that I have to explain that to you. I'm just trying to do my job and what my editor tells me to do."
Conway shot back, "You don't have to rely upon the men in your life and pretend somehow by way of reporting that I rely on the men in my life, which clearly isn't the case."
In a statement, Conway acknowledged how it is unusual "in Washington and especially in Republican politics - for a man to gain newfound fame and power through his wife ... Like every couple I know, George and I disagree on many big things and agree on many big things."
"Exactly none of it affects my position as Counselor to the President. Exactly none of it is anyone's business," she concluded.This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kellyanne Conway, Washington Examiner reporter clash over phone call