There’s never a dull moment in the White House. On August 23, counsellor Kellyanne Conway announced that she will be resigning from her position in the Trump administration at the end of the month. In a statement released on her social media accounts, Conway explained her decision, writing: “I will be transitioning from the White House at the end of this month. George is also making changes. We disagree about plenty but we are united on what matters most: the kids. Our four children are teens and ‘tweens starting a new academic year, in middle school and high school, remotely from home for at least a few months. As millions of parents nationwide know, kids ‘doing school from home’ requires a level of attention and vigilance that is as unusual as these times.”
I'm Leaving the White House. Gratefully & Humbly.
Here is my statement:https://t.co/MpYxVfrY2N
God Bless You All.
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) August 24, 2020
Conway wrote that she was leaving her position “gratefully & humbly.”
“This is completely my choice and my voice. In time, I will announce future plans,” she continued. “For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama.” Conway was set to speak during the Republican National Convention; there has been no word if that has changed given her resignation. Her announcement came only minutes after the advisor’s husband—George Conway, a lawyer who is very publicly anti-Trump—announced that he’d be withdrawing from the Lincoln Project—a group formed by anti-Trump Republicans—to “devote more time to family matters.”
The announcement from Kellyanne Conway is big for many reasons, paramount among them the fact that the advisor has been one of the current president’s most vocal and staunch supporters and defenders, working with him since 2016 and becoming the first female campaign manager to win a presidential race, per CNN. But it’s also significant for another reason: It very well may have been influenced by her teenage daughter. On August 22, Conway’s 15-year-old daughter Claudia tweeted that she wants to formally emancipate from her parents, an announcement that comes after months of her publicly speaking out against her mom, President Trump and the Republican party on social media—specifically on TikTok and Twitter.
i’m officially pushing for emancipation. buckle up because this is probably going to be public one way or another, unfortunately. welcome to my life
— CLAUDIA CONWAY (@claudiamconwayy) August 23, 2020
But there’s *a lot* more to the story. Here, everything we know about Claudia Conway’s emancipation announcement, Kellyanne Conway’s resignation and what TikTok has to do with all of this.
Kellyanne Conway’s departure comes on the heels of some serious allegations
A day after tweeting about her intention to seek emancipation (i.e. ending the legal authority a parent has over a child under the age of 18), and just before her mom announced her resignation from the White House, Claudia Conway responded to commenters on social media speculating her motivation was due to her mom’s job and their political differences, revealing that she is in fact seeking emancipation due to what she describes as “years of childhood trauma and abuse.”
y’all love to twist everything 😭😭 i’m not getting emancipated because of my mom’s job.. it is because of years of childhood trauma and abuse
— CLAUDIA CONWAY (@claudiamconwayy) August 23, 2020
In a TikTok livestream released shortly after her mom’s announcement, Conway elaborated on these allegations, stating: “My dad doesn’t care about me, he’s never cared about me. He probably doesn’t even know my middle name—which is really sad, but true.”
Claudia is live on TikTok and just said that her parents were going to get divorced but they won't now because they want to keep her from getting emancipated. Says that dad doesn't care about her or even know her middle name. Says mom has been physically abusive her whole life.
— Molly McAleer (@molls) August 24, 2020
Later, she said that her dad had physically abused her when she was younger, “right here in this very room,” then went on to talk about her mom, saying: “Same thing with my mom. My mom got me arrested, she’s very, very physically abusive. Very, very verbally abusive. I’ve been belittled and badgered my entire life.”
This is the "he probably doesn't even know my middle name" and accusations of physical abuse clip (the live booted people off throughout it and since this is what I referenced in my original tweet I wanted to include it): https://t.co/osAHdBdaie
— Molly McAleer (@molls) August 24, 2020
Kellyanne and George Conway have yet to address these claims directly.
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But this is not the first time Conway has made claims of abuse against her parents. In an August 6 TikTok Live, the teen made similar allegations, prompting one Twitter user to write: “Claudia Conway just went live on tiktok and talked about how her mother has physically and emotionally abused her for years and had her arrested for fake assault charges a few weeks ago…….someone get this girl emancipated STAT.”
claudia conway just went live on tiktok and talked about how her mother has physically and emotionally abused her for years and had her arrested for fake assault charges a few weeks ago…….someone get this girl emancipated STAT
— edgar allan poe dameron (@juliananannana) August 6, 2020
And later the same day, Conway seemed to be pursuing action, asking her Twitter followers, “how do i get in touch with pro bono lawyers.”
how do i get in touch with pro bono lawyers
— CLAUDIA CONWAY (@claudiamconwayy) August 6, 2020
While these allegations of abuse are unsettling, anyone who’s been following Claudia Conway on social media shouldn’t be surprised—because she has been publicly speaking out against her parents for several months. In June of this year, the TikTok star popped up on social media with several videos that made clear her political stance: liberal AF. In a series of videos, the teen has showed her support for the Black Lives Matter movement and defunding the police, called for justice in the murder of Breonna Taylor and called out Trump supporters for spreading hate on her page and spewing hate at her.
She has also called out her mom and her politics *numerous* times; making it very clear that they don’t share the same values.
Most recently, after the announcement that Kellyanne would be speaking at the RNC, Claudia shared her disappointment on TikTok. (FYI, she hated it.)
While some of these videos can be interpreted as a typical teen rebelling against her parents, dismissing them as such is irresponsible in light of the more serious allegations that have now come to light—including a post from early August where Claudia describes how Kellyanne had her daughter arrested for fake assault charges.
Whether or not Conway was *actually* arrested, it’s pretty clear that there is some major strife happening within this family due at least in part to Claudia’s public political activism. For example, in mid-July, Conway’s followers noticed that several of her politically-themed videos had been deleted, and then Conway revealed in a July 12 video that her parents—her dad specifically—made her delete them.
In a series of now-deleted tweets, Conway claimed that her parents were trying to “silence” her.
Some people aren’t buying Claudia Conway’s allegations—but it’s important to believe her
While many online commenters have responded with sympathy to Conway’s apparent plight as a young woman growing up in what appears to be a mentally toxic environment—others speculated that Kellyanne and the entire Conway family could be in on the schtick. As several people on Twitter theorized, perhaps Conway’s political activism against her mom’s employer, her comments online and Kellyanne’s resignation to spend more time with her family, were part of one big plot so that the political advisor could bow out of Trump’s administration before shit really hit the fan with the upcoming election. But we don’t buy this one either: With with how steadfastly Kellyanne has supported Trump through sexual assault allegations, an impeachment and WWIII, it seems pretty unlikely she’d jump ship over a potential lost election. Let’s be honest, the shit hit the fan a long time ago.
Con theory time:
Over these last few months the whole family has ramped up the drama so she could make a semi clean break from this burning trash heap. If Trump gets re-elected she'll be able to come back. If not, she's partially restored herself as a "mother" and can work stuff
— A Single Black Female Nerd #BLM #BTLM (@ASingleBlackFe2) August 24, 2020
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Regardless of the internet’s theories about what’s really going on in the Conway household, it’s important not to dismiss or diminish Claudia’s claims. Regardless of whether there is validity to the abuse allegations, it’s extremely clear that whatever their relationship is, it’s fractured and seemingly toxic. Getting along with your parents can be difficult at the best of times, but for a 15-year-old growing up in a household at odds with a parent who has unwavering support for a man accused of rape, sexual assault and harrassment by more than 20 women, and doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to control her own body—that is beyond your typical challenging relationship. And then imagine having to publicly defend yourself against your parents’ controversial beliefs.
Unpopular opinion: Claudia isn't the hero we need. She's a fucking kid. I feel terrible that she has such a toxic relationship with her parents Kellyanne and George Conway. I hope they find peace.
— Angela Belcamino (@AngelaBelcamino) August 24, 2020
It’s too much for any 15-year-old to deal with. And then you add on allegations of abuse. Too often, young women (not to mention members of the LGBTQ+ community) aren’t believed when it comes to sharing their experiences with abuse. Which is why people who are skeptical about Conway’s statements—characterizing her emancipation declaration as the temperamental musings of a “rich white girl who’s rebelling against her parents”—may want to have a hard think.
And all of you with your poor Claudia Conway dissertations; she's a rich white girl who's rebelling against her parents; she doesn't need your pity; she'll be Megan McCain in 10-15 years, hopefully with more brains and a better wig! 🙄🙄🙄🙄
— Corey Bu-Shea (@coreybking) August 24, 2020
Jumping to the conclusion that is simply rebelling based on the fact that she comes from a privileged family isn’t only unfair, but it also dismisses and invalidates both Conway’s reported experience as well as those of other victims of abuse. If a wealthy white teen isn’t believed, then what message does that send BIPOC and less advantaged survivors of abuse?
hot take: saying that Claudia Conway is just a spoiled teenager from a wealthy family rebelling against her parents invalidates victims of abuse. you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors in families like that.
— ainsley brown (@AinsleyBBrown) August 24, 2020
While there’s no doubt that being from a certain socioeconomic group as well as being white or non-marginalized affords people a lot of privileges (see: legit everything), it doesn’t afford protection from abuse. If Paris Hilton’s recent revelations of physical and mental abuse at the hands of teachers have shown us anything, it’s that young people experience abuse in many different ways.
We should also acknowledge how monumental TikTok activism is in this
Legitimacy debates aside, if anything else Kellyanne Conway’s resignation is big news for the fact that it pretty much stemmed directly from social media-based activism. The fact remains that—through the power of TikTok—Conway spread her message, gained a following and elicited IRL change. The 15-year-old, albeit indirectly, brought forth a change that politically engaged liberals have been trying to do since Trump’s election in 2016—all via TikTok.
It’s a change that proves that not only should we *not* discount Gen Z and the power of their activism, but we also shouldn’t discount their means of spreading and eliciting change (ie: via social media). Because it actually gets the job done. (Also, isn’t it nice to think of TikTok as an agent of social activism rather than *just* a place for dancing videos and content houses to thrive?).
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Online or IRL, something tells us this won’t be the last we hear about Claudia Conway.