Though I highly recommend taking any ex-Team Trump publicity tour with an Omarosa-sized grain of salt, former Trump aide Cliff Sims released a tasty excerpt of his new memoir, Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House, in Vanity Fair on Wednesday evening.
In it, he confirms what we’ve long known: that Kellyanne Conway is leaky as shit. He also reveals what we did not know: Kellyanne Conway does not appear to know how to use iMessage. I expect Vanity Fair will be behind a paywall any minute now, so let’s dig in quickly while we can.
Sims, an allegedly real former Trump staffer who allegedly spent 18 real months at the White House before scoring a $1 million book deal, spends a lot of the excerpt trying to paint his colleagues as righteous right-wing idealists who got drunk on Donald Trump’s intoxicating (lol) power. That part is boring. Also sort of boring: this description of Conway, ripped right from my freshman Intro to Fiction class:
She seemed to be perennially cloaked in an invisible fur coat, casting an all-knowing smile, as if she’d collected 98 Dalmatians with only 3 more to go.
Less boring: the revelation that Sims allegedly found out Conway was Queen Leak about the same way everyone in this godforsaken decade finds out their boyfriend is cheating on them. (Emphasis mine.)
I was already getting off to a slow start, but I was also getting distracted by the nonstop stream of iMessages popping up on the screen. At that point, personal phones had not yet been banned in the West Wing, so Kellyanne was sitting at her desk texting away. And since her iMessage account was tied to both her phone and her laptop, which she must not have even considered, I could inadvertently see every conversation she was having.
Over the course of 20 minutes or so, she was having simultaneous conversations with no fewer than a half-dozen reporters, most of them from outlets the White House frequently trashed for publishing “fake news.” Journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Politico, and Bloomberg were all popping up on the screen. And these weren’t policy conversations, or attempts to fend off attacks on the president. As I sat there trying to type, she bashed Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, and Sean Spicer, all by name.
She also recounted private conversations she’d had with the president, during which, at least in her telling, she’d convinced him to see things her way, which she said was a challenge when you’re dealing with someone so unpredictable and unrestrained. She wasn’t totally trashing the president, at least as the Morning Joe crew described it, but she definitely wasn’t painting him in the most favorable light.
Sims—who, again, got paid $1 million to write the words, “Some of us on both sides of that blurry divide were young, wide-eyed, and seeing the real world for the first time,”—says it was clear Conway wanted to play both sides to spare herself from getting sunk with the rest of the Trump administration. That makes sense, but she needn’t have bothered.