White House chief of staff Mark Meadows acknowledged Monday that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s upcoming departure from the administration represented a “big blow” to President Donald Trump’s team.
“It’ll be a big hole, a big blow to us,” Meadows said in an interview on “CBS This Morning.”
“We certainly will be praying for her as she made this decision that some people will see … as a difficult decision,” he added. “But I believe if you ask Kellyanne Conway, she believes she made the right decision for her family.”
Conway announced late Sunday that she would leave the White House at the end of August, citing the need to spend more time with her children as they continue remote learning in the fall semester.
“For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama,” Conway said in a statement on Sunday.
Her husband, George Conway III, also announced Sunday that he was withdrawing from the Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republican operatives working to deny the president a second term.
The couple’s public, Trump-focused feud had provoked media scrutiny of their marriage in recent years and put pressure on their four children — including their 15-year-old daughter Claudia, who had posted about her parents and criticized the president on social media.
“Kellyanne is going to be missed. America loves her,” Meadows said Monday. “We certainly will miss her here at the White House. But listen, this is all about making a priority for family. That’s what this president’s about, and that’s what Kellyanne Conway’s about.”
Conway’s resignation means Trump will be losing one of his longest-serving aides at a particularly tumultuous moment in his presidency.
Less than three months from Election Day, he faces a continued coronavirus pandemic, a cratered U.S. economy and dismal public polling showing him trailing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden nationally and in swing states.
But Meadows on Monday rejected the suggestion that Conway had jumped ship as the president’s reelection prospects appear increasingly imperiled.
“That is cynical, and anybody who knows Kellyanne Conway knows that she has never shied away from a fight,” he said. “And so to suggest that is just not based on the facts.”
Conway, who served as Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, is scheduled to speak Wednesday on the third night of the largely virtual Republican National Convention, based out of Charlotte, N.C.