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Trump aide Conway draws ire for kneeling on White House sofa

US President Donald Trump’s senior advisor Kellyanne Conway (L) checks her phone after taking a photo as Donald Trump hosts leaders of historically black universities and colleges in the Oval Office on February 27, 2017 © AFP / Brendan SMIALOWSKI

Washington, United States, Feb 28 – White House adviser Kellyanne Conway insisted Tuesday she meant no disrespect when she was photographed with her feet on a sofa in the Oval Office — triggering an uproar on social media.

In an image captured by an AFP photographer, and which sparked an uproar on social media, Conway appears on the couch Monday with her shoes on as President Donald Trump poses for a photo with leaders of historically black colleges and universities.

“I was being asked to take a picture in a crowded room with the press behind us,” Conway explained Tuesday on Fox Business.

“I was asked to take a certain angle and was doing exactly that. I certainly meant no disrespect, I didn’t mean to have my feet on the couch,” she said.

The image of Conway trended widely on social media, with many Twitter users berating her for what they described as a lack of respect in the Oval Office.

Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens was among those who criticized Conway, suggesting that Trump’s own camp would not have tolerated such a casual stance from previous administrations.

Kellyanne Conway takes a photo as US President Donald Trump and leaders of historically black universities and colleges in the Oval Office © AFP / Brendan Smialowski

“If Rice or Jarrett had sat like this in Oval Office, conservatives would have screamed themselves hoarse for weeks. Now we own trashy,” he wrote, referring to previous presidential aides.

Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama repeatedly took flak for photos in which he appeared to be relaxing, sometimes with his feet on his desk.

Critics had also chastised Obama for unbuttoning the previous Oval Office dress code that called for a suit jacket and a tie.

This is not the first time Conway has found herself at the center of a storm.

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She recently came under fire for plugging the fashion brand of the president’s daughter. The head of the US Office of Government Ethics urged the White House to investigate Conway after the incident, saying she should face disciplinary action.

She also famously coined the term “alternative facts” and referred to a “Bowling Green massacre” — which never happened — during an interview.

Conway later tweeted that she meant to say “Bowling Green terrorists” — referring to two Iraqi men who were indicted in 2011 for trying to send money and weapons to Al-Qaeda, and using improvised explosive devices against US soldiers in Iraq.


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