Kellyanne Conway unplugged

by SALENA ZITO January 10, 2017

Kellyanne Fitzpatrick Conway's life has come full circle.

The little girl from Atco, N.J., raised in a collaborative effort by her mother, a grandmother and two aunts, all living under the same roof, now has her mother living in her home, helping her and her husband with their four children.

"Funny how that happened," she says of her mother moving in after she became Donald Trump's presidential campaign manager in August. "It is the way I was raised and, honestly, it really has been amazing."

Below her Fifth Avenue office in Trump Tower, tourists crowd the glistening peach marble lobby, hoping to catch a glimpse of the future president. Secret Service officers patiently allow them to linger long enough to see the gilded elevator doors open, then move them along to keep the lobby fluid.

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Up the tower, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump's pick for national security adviser, stands in the 14th floor lobby with a young man in a crisp white shirt and navy tie, discussing an article about the general published that day. Vice President-elect Mike Pence breezes by with a broad smile and a wave, then takes a seat in a glass conference room filled with advisers.

Down the hall, dozens of young people manning laptops and phones or watching television monitors fill the transition team's war room. Chocolates fill candy dishes on desks everywhere, and Omarosa Manigault, a first-season contestant on Trump's reality-TV show "The Apprentice," huddles with a young staffer on a phone in an office around a corner from the offices of Conway and campaign CEO Steve Bannon.

Conway's office is an uncluttered workspace filled with family photos, bookcases, a white board with "#winning" and "Make America Great Again" written in green marker, a faux fireplace, a glass door leading to a small outdoor terrace with several chairs, and, left behind by former campaign manager Paul Manafort, a map of the country.

Conway, the first female campaign manager to win a presidential election, will become "counselor to the president" on Jan. 20, the day Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

Unsurprisingly, she is beaming."Funny how that happened," she says of her mother moving in after she became Donald Trump's presidential campaign manager in August. (AP Photo)

"You want to hear about destiny? I was born Jan. 20, 1967. I will turn 50 years old on Inauguration Day, the day he is sworn in as president," she says, deadpanning, "Honestly, I think my family is very relieved that they don't have to think of a party idea."

It's a long way from her working-class upbringing in New Jersey's "Blueberry Capital of the World."

Yet she remains deeply connected to the blue-collar roots of an Italian family of four women who brought her up on limited financial means and a sense of boundless opportunity.

Conway's unconventional childhood household "doted on me with everything that is important - love, attention, prayerfulness, patriotism, the value of being more of a giver rather than a taker," she says.

That last trait sometimes made her a self-denying person early in her career: "Now it makes me have a much more grateful heart in a generous way."

Her father left when she was around 2 years old; there was no alimony or child support so, at age 26 and with only a high school education, her mother "had to figure it out."

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Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and editorial page columnist. She is currently a contributor for CNN, columnist for the NY Post and reporter for the Washington Examiner. She is a Mom, grandma, hiker, cyclist. US History geek. Lover of Blue Highway Road Trips & Baseball.


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