News & Politics

Kellyanne Conway's 'Sofa Scandal' May be the Dumbest Trump Controversy Yet

“Get your feet off the couch!” my mother would scream at one of her seven boys 50 times a day. Who knew there were so many frustrated mamas out there on the leftynet?

President Trump met with the presidents of black colleges on Monday in the Oval Office. It was a routine “grip and grin” for the president — something he does half a dozen times a day. The White House photographer snapped some photos of the group for posterity.

All of this was completely routine and uneventful. Except that one photos showed Trump aide Kellyanne Conway on a sofa off to the side of the gathering with — and I can barely contain my outrage when reporting this — her feet curled beneath her. And…and…and…


Predictably, the lefysphere exploded in anguish at this “disrespecting” of the Oval Office. Leading the chorus of outrage at this atrocity was former famous person Keith Olbermann, who used some salty language to strike down Conway for her transgression:

New Republic Editor Jeet Heer suggested it was raaaaaacism:

Even Washington Post political reporter Chris Cillizza thought the reaction from the left was over the top:

First of all, every party not in the White House likes to express shock and outrage at the way the other side is treating this hallowed job and office. Republicans were incensed when Bill Clinton and Barack Obama treated the Oval Office with slightly less formality than did Ronald Reagan, who, famously, always wore a suit coat in the Oval Office.

Obama puts his feet on the desk! Obama throws a football!

This is all par for the Internet outrage/partisan police.

Well, that’s almost true. Last time I looked, there are several differences between Obama and Kellyanne Conway, not the least of which is that one of them lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the other one doesn’t.

But Cillizza uncovers why the outrage is not only fake, but misplaced.

Then there is the specific context of the photo above. While not captured in most of the photos that initially circulated on the Web, other snaps of the moments following the initial picture show Conway just trying to get in position to take a photo of the gathering.

Under normal circumstances, you would expect an apology from some liberals for jumping to conclusions. But the words “normal” and “liberal” are rarely used in the same sentence.

Mr. Heer, responding to a tweet criticizing him for making much ado about nothing, doubled down on his outrage:

Heer, a supposed journalist, has apparently never seen a gaggle of photographers trying to get “the shot.” They would stand on the head of their mother if it gave them a better angle.

Cillizza tries to summarize the nonsensical meme by folding it into a larger narrative of what politics has become in the age of Trump:

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.

Please excuse Mr. Cillizza. Like Rip Van Winkle, he has been asleep for 20 years — so naturally he believes Trump might have originated the fake outrage syndrome that grips the internet from time to time. He obviously snoozed through what happens to any conservative or Republican whose tiniest misstep is blown into calls for resignation, or arrest, or even execution.

But it’s nice that he has recognized the fake outrage in this instance.

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