Kellyanne Conway assault, Conway alleged in an interview Friday.
Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway alleged in an interview Friday that she was assaulted by a woman in a Washington-area restaurant last year while her daughter and daughter’s friends watched.
In an interview that aired Friday with CNN’s Dana Bash, Conway detailed the experience for what she said was the first time. Conway told Bash the incident happened in a Maryland suburb of Washington by a woman she characterized as “unhinged” and “out of control.”
“I was standing next to my daughter and many of her friends at dinner and she was right here, right next to me. And her friends were too. And somebody was grabbing me from behind, grabbed my arms and was shaking me to the point where I thought maybe somebody was hugging me, one of the other parents coming to pick up his or her daughter,” she said. “And then as I turned around it just felt weird, it felt like that’s a little aggressive. I turned around and the woman had grabbed my hand.”
Conway contended the woman then refused to leave the restaurant, and it was at that point she called the police.
“She ought to pay for that because she has no right to touch anybody,” Conway said. “She put her hands on me. I said, ‘Get your hands off me.’ She put her hands on me, was shaking me and doing it from the front with my daughter right there who then videotaped her.”
CNN reported that Conway’s alleged assailant has been charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct with a trial set for next month. The woman’s attorney, in a statement to CNN, said there was no assault and that his client was exercising her First Amendment right to freedom of expression.
“She did not assault Ms. Conway. Facts at trial will show this to be true and show Ms. Conway’s account to be false,” the attorney said.
Conway was reluctant to talk about the incident publicly because it happened in front of her daughter. She told Bash that “I don’t want it to become a thing, I just want it to become a teachable moment for everyone.”
Conway’s revelation would add her name to the list of Trump administration officials who have faced harassment in the Washington area for their work at the White House.
Last year, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted in a D.C. Mexican restaurant by activists protesting the administration’s so-called zero-tolerance policy that resulted in the separation of migrant families at the border. Stephen Miller, an immigration hard-liner and an adviser to President Donald Trump, has also reportedly told colleagues about being publicly chastised for his role in crafting the family separation policy.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant last year by its owner, citing Trump’s policies. That incident prompted a backlash so intense the restaurant was forced to temporarily close.
And the scandal-plagued Environmental Protect Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt was also confronted in a restaurant shortly before he resigned from that post last summer.
Conway rejected the idea that Trump’s divisive rhetoric could have played a role in her confrontation, Dash said, arguing that the blame lies solely on her alleged assailant.