Former Trump administration senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told the House Select Committee tasked with investigating the January 6 insurrection she grew concerned when the protest turned violent and turned to First Lady Melania Trump in an effort to get the rioters to stand down.
According to Conway, former Republican President Donald Trump "reserves fear for" his wife, so much so Conway believed reaching out to her would be the best course of action.
Conway's testimony to the House Select Committee was released earlier this week, part of a series of disclosures following the release of the committee's final report, which held Trump responsible for the attack to subvert the 2020 election results and backed criminal charges against him.
Conway said she texted the former First Lady because she knows Trump "listens to her":
“I texted her, please—something to the effect of, you know, please talk to him, because I know he listens to her. He reserves—he listens to many of us, but he reserves fear for one person, Melania Trump.” ...
“She didn’t know what was going on. And I’m offended that nobody ran in there to tell the First Lady of the United States that, I mean, she and her teenage son may be, I don’t know, at risk.”
Conway's claim Melania Trump "didn't know what was going on" mirrors the latter's own claim that she was cataloging items in the White House's East Wing at the time of the attack.
In fact, Melania Trump told Fox News last summer that she was “fulfilling one of my duties as first lady” by cataloging items and was therefore “unaware of what was simultaneously transpiring” at the United States Capitol.
That claim was debunked by Stephanie Grisham, who served as White House Press Secretary at the time of the attack—and would be the first Trump administration official to resign following it.
Grisham shared alleged texts from Melania Trump showing that she had declined Grisham's suggestion that she condemn "lawlessness [and] violence."
Conway's admission Trump "reserves fear for his wife" prompted many to speculate about the extent of Melania Trump's power.
The relationship between Conway—best known for coining the phrase "alternative facts"—and Trump soured some time ago.
Last year, Trump lashed out at his former aide after she revealed in her memoir she personally told him he lost the 2020 presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.
Conway—who served as Trump's campaign manager in 2016 and was later appointed Counselor to the President—wrote in her memoir Here's the Deal she “may have been the first person Donald Trump trusted in his inner circle who told him that he had come up short this time.”
Her admission angered Trump, who quickly denied she'd ever told him he'd lost the election he continues to allege was stolen despite all evidence to the contrary.