Analysis | The ‘Kellyanne Conway on the couch’ controversy is so incredibly dumb

One photo from the event shows her scrolling through pictures on her phone. I’ve seen captions that suggest she is ignoring the people in he room, retreating to her social media bubble for comfort and self-affirmation. This photo shows she had placed herself in that awkward position to get a picture. There are scores or hundreds of legitimate reasons to criticize Kellyanne Conway. Her position on a couch is a silly reason.

We have reached a point in our politics — and Trump was the agitator if not the originator of this latest flash of polarization — in which even the most mundane of events is somehow invested with nefarious symbolism.

This is not only dumb, but it distracts from more serious and consequential debates like Trump’s travel ban, his campaign’s contacts with Russian intelligence officials and his war against leaks. We’re WAY better than this. We need to act like it. –Chris Cillizza, Washington Post

16 thoughts on “Analysis | The ‘Kellyanne Conway on the couch’ controversy is so incredibly dumb

    • Yes David, that is gross. But, is he doing this during a meeting? Is he wearing heels? Is the desk at risk of being punctured by those heels?

      It is gross to put shoes on a work surface.

      But is he demonstrating the same level of WTF as people see in KW?

      There was also a thing of him having his shoes on a conference table – the shoes were worn very badly. And he was roundly criticized for that as well.

  1. She’s inappropriate, I can only guess she’s being “cute” and showing everyone she’s in the inner circle, but her shoes don’t belong where they are. That being said, I think I’d chose to call her out about her kying first, decorum later.

    • I think we know which rooms in the WH were used for what. Unless LBJ showed us his scar on that couch I think you are making a gratuitous reference to something that was not part of the Starr findings. We have an exhaustive (and expensive) report of what was done where.

      I’m sticking to my guns that heels do not belong on upholstery. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to replace furniture that has been damaged by heels. That fabric cost more than I imagine most people pay rent in two months. Well built furniture lasts generations and it doesn’t do that when children use it as ladders, perches, trampolines, etc.

      Heels and upholstery don’t mix and I can’t imagine her inviting people over to walk on her couch, bed and chairs with heels on.

    • Interesting that you assume I was talking about Clinton, person that I do not know. He was actually last on my mind. There have been all manner of untoward activities by NUMEROUS presidents…furthermore, infidelity and sexual conquest are a mere sliver of the tall of inappropriate activities engaged in by past occupants of the White House. Reagan may have conducted talks on the Iran Contra deal here. If you’re into conspiracies, Bush 43 and Roosevelt may have conspired to bring the nation to war by concealing information on pending foreign attacks. If we must talk extramarital activiities, why not Grover Cleveland, Harding, or Johnson. Point being…shoes on the couch are hardly a blip in Oval Office history.

    • Actually, David, I’m thinking microbiology and the dreaded feces-to-mouth route. I don’t care who you are, your shoes come in contact with an enormous amount of fecal matter in any given day. Just part of being in the world with a whole lot of species. You don’t have to see them for them to have a place on your shoes. Unless she is living in a world with no birds, rodents, dogs, cats, horses, raccoons, deer, insects or any of the other species we share our city lawns, sidewalks and water with, she has poop on the bottom of her shoes. Everyone does. It’s just part of the wonder of being in the world. It’s one of the reasons we don’t lick the soles of our shoes… and why we lose our minds watching toddlers lick anything we leave on the floor. And while it does not kill us, it does cause some problems for some individuals. And that is why we just do not do what she has done.

      It’s not done. Not by anyone who has the least bit of professionalism, training in etiquette, diplomacy, manners, whatever you want to call it.

      So you see, my train of thought was biological and cleanliness. Which is why I thought you were going the route I alluded to.

      It never occurred to me that you were drawing a parallel or equivalency between bad or nonexistent manners and crimes committed by commanders in chief and their staffs in that room. I think you make an interesting point about the history of that room but I am not equating poor manners with criminal abuse of the office.

      And clearly, what she has done to the couch is not criminal. It’s just gross and speaks to a feeling that those occupying this white house have no sense of how to conduct themselves. I know it’s not quite peeing on the roses in the Rose Garden, but it’s not something someone does after the age of, let’s say, 9 or 10.

      (Frankly, I can’t imagine anyone blocking the drunks in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” to do such a thing. It’s just not done.)

      I think people, and I know I am, are talking about basic, fundamental etiquette in regards to the people in the room, and barring that, because of it being a circumstance of photographing, then the respect we give to architectural features and furniture in these historic buildings outweighing an individual’s desire to get a quick shot on their personal phone (nd hopefully any place we occupy that is not our own).

      The photograph is NOT more important than that room. There are official White House photographers. The job is covered. This is just Kellyanne getting a picture on her phone. It’s not more important than the contents of the room and I think people are entitled to find this breach of etiquette remarkable.

      Also, if Trump is the germaphobe we have been told he is, I don’t quite follow why this is okay. I suppose he is a germaphobe who never took any basic biology courses…. Then there is the physical damage this represents to a piece of furniture that is not hers.

      The contents and furniture within the oval office are remarkable. They are not Art Van furniture selections. If furniture is not an area of art and design that interests you, then perhaps you don’t have an idea of what it would take to clean or restore that asset. It’s considerable and there is a legacy to those furnishings that is supposed to be protected.

      She is not entitled to do what she has done. It’s not only disgusting, it’s just terribly odd that it would even occur to her to do such a thing.

      She needs to get some education from the public about what it takes to be a public servant and how one displays respect for the history of the places she will occupy while in this administration.

    • Once again, the assumptions and ad hominem attacks when you don’t know the first thing about me. (“If furniture is not an area of art and design that interests you, then perhaps you don’t have an idea of what it would take to clean or restore that asset. It’s considerable and there is a legacy to those furnishings that is supposed to be protected.”) I’d say that I’d agree to disagree, but I think we’re looking at this through two very different lenses, so to say I disagree with you wouldn’t even be accurate. I’m just not speaking to the same point as you, and thats ok.

    • David, it’s not an attack to say “if.” I don’t know you. I don’t know what your interests are. I don’t know if you are prop designer, an inventor, a sales and marketing director, a poet, a professor of ethics, or a marine biologist. I don’t know. And so I say, “if.” Perhaps you have a passion for the history of American furniture makers and perhaps it is an area of tedium and boredom for you. I don’t know how the White House furniture is stored, archived, restored or sorted for retirement. I have an inkling of these issues from other reading. I have some idea of why some furniture is important and some knowledge of fabric, fabric restoration, etc. But is certainly is not exhaustive. Knowing I have a limited awareness of it, I say ‘if” because I may be speaking to someone who has expertise. I may be speaking to someone who has never really considered the issue of White House, Congressional, Parks and Monuments furniture. I don’t know. So I say “if.”

      I’m not ranking areas of interest. It’s not an attack. I genuinely don’t know why it would appear to be an attack. I am explaining my point of view.

      I think her behavior was gross. I think it was undisciplined. I think it was disrespectful and exemplifies the lack of understanding this administration has for world they insisted they could run better while knowing nothing about it.

      (Clearly someone saying they didn’t imagine how complicated healthcare is, as her boss has, demonstrates that they have no sense of how they present themselves and that it doesn’t occur to them that they are woefully ill prepared for the work they assumed those before them were not doing properly.)

      I am not attacking you. I am explaining why this is a big deal from my point of view.

    • Yes David, we are seeing as two different issues. I do not see her etiquette failure as something that falls on the spectrum of things presidents have done that they hoped we would never know. I see it more in the category of farting without awareness at a meeting with congressional representatives. It’s rude, not criminal.

  2. Perhaps, but she has those heels stuffed into the couch – is that how we treat White House furniture? And is Kellyanne the White House photographer? Exactly why is her pic so important that she is on a silk couch with her heels? It’s not a naugahyde or pleather couch in the middle of a dorm lounge area.

    So, I think we are correct to ask, WTF is she doingm and why does someone in the White House not know better?

    From here it looks like she does not have the decorum required to be in that room. Maybe that’s okay at a suite in Trumpland, but that is the Oval Office, not the sitting room of a hotel, the work room of marketing team or the writers’ room for a sitcom.

    She is now, and apparently always, inappropriate.

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