Kellyanne Conway accuses teen of asking her about sexual assault just to make the news

At a Wednesday morning Q&A session in Washington, D.C., Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, proved that there’s a bit of Trump in all his cronies as she took it upon herself to attack and humiliate a teenage girl. When the 17 year old (who just so happens to be the high school daughter of Mother Jones Washington Bureau Chief David Corn) asked Conway how she manages to work for Trump as a woman despite all his awfully misogynistic statements and the sexual assault allegations against him, Conway accused the teen of asking about sexual assault just to “make the news.”

According to reporters at the press conference, Conway first told the female student, “For you to use sexual assault to try to make news here is unfortunate.” She went on to suggest women were “tired of the same argument and the same thing you are presenting to me right now,” because Conway apparently lives in some bizarre alternative universe where women don’t care about how their elected leaders treat them.

“I’m glad that people looked at [those attacks] and said, ‘You know what? That’s an argument that will not create a single job in my community, not bring back a single of the 70,000 factories that have been closed, will not deter one member of ISIS from doing their bloodletting here or anywhere else in the world,'” she added. While the sad reality that 53 percent of white women voted for Trump backs her up (or, hey, maybe some were also overt white supremacists, who knows?), and, sure, criticizing Trump’s disgusting misogyny isn’t going to fix any of the problems Conway listed. But frankly, neither are Trump’s policies.

Conway’s dismissal of the question about allegations against her boss (who, notably enough, condoned sexual assault and even admitted that as a wealthy man, he is able to get away with it) reflects  the unsettling tenets of rape culture. Whether women are reporting their experiences or just bringing up the pervasive issue of sexual assault, they’re accused of merely doing so for attention, especially if the man in question, like Trump, is a highly influential figure.

Trump has similarly deflected accusations of sexual assault on the basis of his accusers’ appearances and personal histories. He’s even gone so far as to lie about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado being in a sex tape to dismiss her documented claims that he harassed her. Trump and his people are pretty consistent in their tactic of brushing off accusations and criticisms of Trump by characterizing women either as “attention whores” or just whores.

At the end of the day, though, Conway’s appraisal of the teen’s question as a ploy for attention was an attempt to portray the president-elect’s stance on sexual assault and women’s rights as unimportant compared with the economy or fighting ISIS. The dignity of women in society and their safety isn’t some fringe political issue, and if Trump really wants to be a president to all Americans as he claims, he and his surrogates need to start answering questions about his treatment of women and stop dismissing sexual assault as a piece of irrelevant locker room banter.