Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday became the first female to ever run a Republican general election presidential campaign. But the networks did not excitedly tout this as progress, instead they glossed over this point. On ABC’s Good Morning America, reporter Tom Llamas blandly explained, “Overnight, Donald Trump shaking up his campaign promoting pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager.”
On NBC’s Today, Savannah Guthrie began, “with less than three months until election day, Donald Trump's campaign undergoing a major staff shake-up this morning.” Hallie Jackson then echoed, “Kellyanne Conway, who’s already been a senior adviser, will now become campaign manager.”
Over on CBS This Morning, fellow pollster Frank Luntz had some nice words for Conway, but didn’t notice her nature as the first female Republican to helm such a campaign:
GAYLE KING: What about Kelly Ann Conway? She has worked with other political campaigns.
FRANK LUNTZ: Yes. And I have known her for 30 years. At the this is someone who understands the role of polling and focus groups and messaging. The question is will Donald Trump listen to her and does he listen to anyone? His message still resonates. His message is stronger this Hillary Clinton, but his persona is upsetting to so many people. That’s what’s holding him back. And if you take a look over the polling the last two weeks. When Donald Trump finished the convention he was up by two points and now down by eight and it’s all because of his persona and not his policies and not the issues he has talked about.
Later, Major Garrett said of Conway and new campaign CEO Steven Bannon: “They are being asked to step into roles they are utterly unfamiliar with, on the fly in high-pressure situations, when the Trump campaign has never faced more peril... Tough job. Tough assignment."
During the 2016 campaign, two women were in charge of primary campaigns, Sarah Huckabee Sanders for Mike Huckabee and Beth Hansen for John Kasich. Women have run Democratic campaigns in 2004, 2000 and 1988.
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