Kellyanne Conway cleared her throat for what she was about to say.
“I’m a victim of sexual assault,” President Donald Trump’s adviser told CNN on Sunday.
Conway and anchor Jake Tapper were discussing the political edges of sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of the Supreme Court nominee’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. A final vote on his nomination has been delayed to allow time for the FBI to investigate those allegations.
“I feel very empathetic, frankly, for victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape,” Conway said during the interview on “State of the Union.”
But she also suggested that conservatives have become targets for political score-settling. Perpetrators should bear the brunt of their actions, she said.
“I don’t expect Judge Kavanaugh or Jake Tapper or [Arizona Republican Senator] Jeff Flake or anybody to be held responsible for that,” she said, appearing to speak about her own experience.” You have to be responsible for your own conduct.”
Conway did not seem prepared for the personal revelation. Neither did Tapper.
“This is the first time I’ve ever heard you talk about something personal like that, and I’m really sorry,” he said.
Conway replied: “I’ve just had it,” she said, referring to what she characterized as politically motivated accusations.
She did not immediately return a request for comment.
Tapper explained that her boss, Trump, has been the subject of numerous sexual assault allegations and has said that those women lied about them.
“Don’t conflate that with this, and certainly don’t conflate that with what happened to me,” she said.
Conway said those women should be heard through the criminal justice system but not through partisan avenues.
“We do treat people differently who are either the victims or perpetrators of this based on their politics now, or based on their gender now. That is a huge mistake,” she said.
Conway turned to the camera briefly. “America, it’s a huge mistake.”
She previously defended Christine Blasey Ford, who on Thursday testified Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s when they were both high school students.
Ford “should not be insulted, and she should not be ignored,” Conway said on Fox News, after Trump’s son Donald Trump, Jr. appeared to mock Ford on social media before her allegations were publicly revealed by The Washington Post on Sept. 16.
Conway said Ford “should be heard,” but, she added, “so should he,” referring to Kavanaugh.