Kellyanne and Claudia Conway: the dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship captivating America

Rosa Prince
·5-min read
Kellyanne Conway's teenage daughter has become a social media star in her own right - Redux / eyevine 
Kellyanne Conway's teenage daughter has become a social media star in her own right - Redux / eyevine

It is the most dysfunctional mother-daughter dynamic since Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis duked it out in the film Freaky Friday.

The tempestuous relationship between Donald Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway and her emphatically Democrat-supporting teenage daughter, Claudia, has kept America entertained for months.

Now the soap opera that is their family life has taken an explosive twist, after Conway became infected with coronavirus having attended a so-called “super-spreader” event at the White House and, allegedly, passed the disease on to her daughter.

Loose cannon Claudia has complained she is “dying” of Covid, cast doubt on Trump’s claims to be healthy following his hospitalisation with the disease and filmed her mother ordering her to retract a previous post in which she accused Conway of “lying” about her test results. All in the space of 24 hours. Little wonder their fraught family battle has made headlines worldwide.

Fifteen-year-old Claudia has become a social media star for posting excoriating messages on Twitter and the video sharing site TikTok in which she accused President Trump of being a racist, homophobic tyrant and sexual abuser of women, who’s more interested in playing golf than tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Ouch.

She has also expressed her support for the Black Lives Matter movement and urged young people to register to vote in order to get Trump out of the White House.

Over the summer, she tweeted that she was seeking emancipation from her parents as a result of “years of childhood abuse and trauma". 

The bombardment appeared to have died down after Conway, 53, and her husband, George, an attorney who is also a Trump critic, ordered Claudia to suspend her profile and temporarily confiscated her phone.

Conway also stepped down from her role as counsellor to the President, saying she wanted to spend more time with her four children now they were being forced to home-school as a result of the pandemic.

But she remained close enough to the Trump inner circle to be invited to an event at the White House Rose Garden at which the President unveiled judge Amy Coney Barrett as his choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court caused by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

That ceremony has since emerged as a super-spreader event, with at least eight of the attendees, including Conway, Trump and his wife Melania, going on to test positive for coronavirus. Like the President and most of the guests, Conway did not wear a mask or abide by social distancing guidelines.

It was a furious Claudia who first disclosed her mother’s illness. Taking to TikTok, she raised the possibility that Conway might also be sick in the hours after Trump revealed his own diagnosis. “My mom coughing all around the house after Trump tested positive for COVID,” she told her nearly 1 million followers, before lip-syncing: “That's weird, that's suspicious.” 

The following day, Claudia posted another video in which she wore a mask alongside the words: “Update my mom has Covid." A few minutes later, Conway issued a formal statement on Twitter confirming her diagnosis. 

“I’m furious,” Claudia later posted. “Wear your masks. don’t listen to our idiot f------ president piece of s---. protect yourself and those around you.” 

Days later, she announced she herself had come down with the virus, adding: “When my lungs hurt and it's hard for me to breathe.” Her father is also thought to have contracted the disease from Conway.

At her mother’s command, Claudia has since clarified a post in which she had accused Conway of lying by claiming to have tested negative. In the video, Claudia stares at the camera as, off-screen, her mother repeatedly orders her: “Do it now. You say, ‘Correction, my mum had three tests’.” 

Claudia wrote: “My mother claims that she did not lie to me. She had three tests done, first negative, second two positive. We were not in communication. I misinterpreted it.”

An hour later, responding to the social media reaction, Conway tweeted:

This week, Claudia has also cast doubt on President Trump’s claim in a video released as he left Walter Reed Hospital for treatment for coronavirus to be “feeling really good”. 

In response, she said on TikTok: “he is so ridiculous. apparently he is doing badly lol and they are doing what they can to stabilise him.”

Democrats, including a number of celebrities, are now hailing the teenager as a heroine. Top Hollywood director Judd Apatow wrote on Twitter: “Claudia is a bright light of truth who has the courage to call out the lies…”

Others have compared her to the Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. 

One thing is for sure, it doesn’t look like Kellyanne will be off the hook any time soon.