Bannon credits Kellyanne Conway for saving Trump campaign after lewd tape scandal
President Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon has credited Kellyanne Conway for helping to save the businessman's campaign after the release of the Access Hollywood tape where Donald Trump could be heard making obscene comments about women.
In a recent profile on Conway by The Atlantic, Bannon is quoted as saying, "If Kellyanne had not been there when the firestorm hit, I don't know if we would have made it. She literally became a cult figure during that time period, just because of her relentless advocacy for Trump on TV."
The media broke news about the tape on October 7.
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Later that month, CNN reported that "Conway publicly expressed her dismay in her own way — canceling her Sunday TV appearances. But behind the scenes she was in the thick of it helping with damage control."
The piece quotes her as saying, "I told Mr. Trump in private what I've also said in public or a variation thereof. I found the comments to be horrible and indefensible."
She also defended him, saying, "I'm glad he apologized. I was there when he made his apology. I will tell all the people who think he was not sincere and he wasn't truly contrite, or he wasn't contrite enough — you're wrong. He was. I was there. And he's also resolved to see this fight through. And I think the same reason he wouldn't quit the race is the same reason I wouldn't quit for him, and it's very simple."
In the Atlantic piece, Republican polling expert Frank Luntz agreed with Bannon, saying about Trump, "He owes her for standing up for him...In every possible sense, she won. I do not believe he would be president without her."
Conway had been Trump's campaign manager and is currently White House counselor; in his statement announcing the appointment, Trump called her "a trusted adviser and strategist who played a crucial role in my victory."