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US politics

Why is Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway leaving the White House?

Donald Trump's 2016 campaign manager has announced she will be leaving the White House at the end of the month for personal reasons.

Donald Trump shares a moment with White House counselor Kellyanne Conway as he gives remarks during the White House State Leadership Day Conference for local officials of Alaska, Hawaii and California at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 23, 20
Leah MillisREUTERS

Donald Trump suffered a blow on the eve of the Republican National Convention as one of his closest aides announced her decision to quit the White House administration with the US president trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the polls for the November presidential elections and the incumbent facing a raft of criticism for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic amid historic unemployment levels.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said she will be leaving the Trump administration at the end of August, citing the need to focus on her family.

"I will be transitioning from the White House at the end of this month", she said in a statement late on Sunday.

Conway managed Trump to victory in 2016

Her departure, about two months before Trump seeks re-election, comes at a crucial time for the president. It leaves him without one of his more passionate spokespersons about his political and policy choices.

Conway was his third campaign manager in 2016 and has been one of Trump's most loyal and outspoken defenders in public and on cable news.

She was also the first woman to successfully manage a presidential campaign to victory.

More recently, the adviser was instrumental in getting Trump to restart regular, though shorter, White House briefings about the coronavirus outbreak, a practice that officials have viewed as successful in helping to stop a drop in opinion polls the president has suffered largely because of his handling of the pandemic.

Trump critic George Conway leaves Lincoln Project

In a separate statement on Twitter, Conway's husband George said he was stepping back from his role in the Lincoln Project, a project with the stated mission to "defeat Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box".

George Conway, a conservative lawyer who had co-founded the Lincoln Project, has been a vocal critic of the US president.

In a public feud with Kellyanne Conway's spouse last year, Trump called him a "whack job" and a "husband from hell", prompting George Conway to say Trump was mentally unfit for his office.

On Sunday, Conway described her time in the administration and previously with the 2016 campaign as "heady" and "humbling".

She had survived several rounds of staff turnovers in an often chaotic and drama-ridden White House.


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