Kellyanne Conway: Trump "Plans On Being A Two-Term President"


Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway debates 'This Week' host George Stephanopoulos about a wide range of topics.

Selected transcript:

CONWAY: The president says privately and publicly often, George, that he'll be there for 7-1/2 more years. So he plans on being a two-term president.

I read that article and I want to say a few things about it. First of all, I think that in the Republican Party for many decades, we have suffered from what I call staff infection -- people who are rewarded for losses. Most of the people quoted, most involved, I'm sure, have never won a national political campaign like the one I was involved in and you were involved in years ago.

Number two, they need a full employment act in Republican consultancy. Some of them are still not supporting their party and their party's main points of view on tax reform, on health reform, on putting ISIS in retreat if not full defeat.

And I want to make a remark about Vice President Pence. I've worked with him for ten years as his pollster, as a senior adviser, and certainly work with him daily in the White House. It is absolutely true that the vice president is getting ready for 2020, for reelection as vice president. And he's also getting ready for 2018 --

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no concern he's setting up a shadow campaign?

CONWAY: Zero concern. That is complete fiction. That is complete fabrication. And I know that his advisers who had comments attributed to them have pushed back strongly, as has the vice president. And as am I right now unequivocally.

Vice President Pence is a very loyal, very dutiful, but also incredibly effective vice president, and active vice president, with this president. He is a peer to the president in the West Wing. He just came off a trip in Eastern Europe and he'll go back I believe it was in the next week to South America, to represent the country on his fourth and foreign trip since taking office.

But let me make very clear, people meet -- Republican consultants, as always, people trying to play the parlor game, they're not on the -- they're in the I would say Trump inside -- inner circle because they did not believe in him. They totally missed what was happening in America. That the forgotten man and forgotten woman, many of whom had voted for Democrats in the past, many of whom had never voted, or never voted in decade, came forth and made this new Trump coalition in a way that -- in a way that frankly, respectfully, the last couple of Republican candidates did not. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan won one state. They lost Wisconsin by 7 points. Donald Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa.

I would tell my Republican brethren: get onboard. Help us with tax reform and health reform and stop looking at 2020.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's see -- we will see what happens with that in September.

Meantime, General Kelly wrapping up his first week as chief of staff. We have that picture of him addressing the entire White House staff right there, some 200 people lined up there. I guess that's in the old executive office building.

What difference has he made so far?

CONWAY: It was quite a week with General Kelly.

A few things, George. I know there's much commentary about the order and the discipline. All of that is true. But let me just tell you that General Kelly is someone who wants to empower his staff to succeed. He commands respect and but he also shows respect. And in sitting in different meetings with him and in watching him in action this week, I've been incredibly impressed as to what a great listener, fully engaged General Kelly is.

I also believe the world is such a dangerous place, and so much of President Trump's day is filled with intelligence briefings, and new facts and figures about this increasingly dangerous world. It really helps to have a general in his fifth decade of public service going right back in and taking that oath of office again for a new position, so that he is hand in glove with the president. He has been with the president quite a bit this week, but he's been with the rest of us and his senior staff as well.

We're very happy to have General Kelly there as well because he, for the first six months of this year, George, has been a member of this president's cabinet. And he knows full well this hand-picked cabinet of talented and engaged and quite successful men and women are superstars in this administration.

And also General Kelly, I want to say, has been the chief military aide for two different secretaries of defense in a very bipartisan fashion. In addition, we should mention the biographical point, in addition to running the southern command. So he's very knowledgeable about the hot spots around the world. He of course is a master at unit cohesion. And we feel that coming together in the West Wing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We still seeing -- we still are seeing tweets from the president. He insists he's going to keep up that tradition, including this one on Thursday where he said our relationship with Russia is at an all time and very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can't even give us health care.

How is Congress responsible for relations with Russia being at an all-time low? And who is he talking about?

CONWAY: That tweet was likely in reference to the sanctions package that the president signed because it's a good step forward, but that he's also been critical.

And also, look, if you're Russia, you can't be happy with President Trump. We're now exporting coal to Eastern Europe--

STEPHANOPOULOS: But Kellyanne, wait a second.

CONWAY: He's beefing up the military.

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