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On Friday, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. The results of the November election were a surprise to many — including to Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.
While she wasn’t “shocked” that Trump triumphed over Hillary Clinton, she was a little surprised by the “intensity with which Donald Trump carried some of these areas or came really close to carrying areas that had been elusive to Republicans for a very long time,” she told Willie Geist in a Sunday TODAY interview that took place before the inauguration.
Still, Conway felt confident of Trump’s chances in the weeks leading up to Election Day. “I knew starting October 22nd that he would win and told him,” she said.
Despite his victory, Trump entered office with a historically low approval rating, based on the results of an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Does that concern Conway?
“What concerns me about those poll numbers is very simple. It's part of how we got there with him,” she answered. “The question for everyone who covers him and who thinks about him is, What is the line between thoughtful criticism and skepticism and, you know, flat-out denial and delegitimization of what just happened?”
Trump has had an uneasy relationship with the intelligence community, initially questioning reports that Russia tried to influence the election. He denied there was a “feud” during a tour of the CIA on Saturday, and Conway suggested the same while speaking with Geist.
“He has a great relationship with the intelligence community,” she said.
When it was mentioned that Trump has frequently insulted intelligence agencies, Conway disagreed.
“[President] Trump has received many intelligence briefings. The PDB, the presidential daily briefing, which is more of a product than an actual event. But he also has received other intelligence briefings. And he has kept his mouth shut about them. Why all these leaks from other people?”
Watch the videos for more of Willie Geist’s conversation with Kellyanne Conway, including how she feels about the way “Saturday Night Live” portrays her.