Kellyanne Conway punching claims just another controversy for Donald Trump's iron lady

Kellyanne Conway - a look deeper into Donald Trump's trusted advisor

Kellyanne Conway at a campaign rally during the election

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

As the Donald Trump Presidency continues to attract protest and recrimination, he could probably do without the claims surrounding one of his closest advisors this week.

It is alleged that Kellyanne Conway threw a series of punches during Mr Trump's inauguration ball.

The claim has been made by Fox correspondent Charlie Gasparino, who said two men in tuxes began brawling at the ball only for Conway to wade in and start throwing "mean punches" at one of them. The allegation is unverified, although Conway has yet to deny it.

The storm surrounding the alleged haymakers just the latest in a series of controversies surrounding Conway, one of Mr Trump's most trusted - and outspoken - confidantes.

A former polling guru who founded her own company in the mid-90s, Conway was originally recruited to manage Ted Cruz's campaign during last year's election, and at one point described Mr Trump's supporters as "downright nasty." Yet after Cruz pulled out of the running in May Conway changed sides and began working for the Donald, who is apparently not one to bear a grudge.

He is also not one to care overmuch about an employee's reputation for controversy, judging by Conway's cordite-tinged history of colourful and divisive statements.

In 2013, long before Mr Trump began his road to the White House, Conway made an incendiary appearance on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) show To The Contrary, during which she suggested that women wouldn't be raped if they were "physiologically as strong as men". 

She also reportedly questioned Hillary Clinton's ability to lead America because of how she'd conducted herself following the revelation of her husband's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Conway is quoted by Fox News as saying: ”The fact is that Hillary Clinton couldn't stand up to a cheating husband. How in the world would she stand up to North Korea and our other enemies around the globe?”

Given that Conway's husband George served on the legal team representing Paula Jones when she brought her sexual harrassment case against Hillary's husband Bill, it's easy to wonder why such an accomplished political strategist decided to take such a fierce dig the former First Lady.

It appears that, on certain issues, Conway is just as conservative as her boss in the White House - and proud of it. Back in 2005, she complained bitterly about an episode of the PBS show Postcards from Buster, which featured a lesbian couple. Conway said homosexuality is a "corrupting" influence, adding that children didn't want to look at cartoons "with a bunch of lesbian mothers" in them.

She is also quoted as saying that political correctness could lead to "two planes crashing in the sky", and has been a fierce critic of feminism, suggesting women should make an effort to dress in a traditionally feminine way, rather than fighting traditional gender boundaries. She once even claimed to be fighting against the "liberal orthodoxy that has every woman constantly thinking about abortion, contraception, being a victim of the patriarchy."

One thing Conway cannot be accused of is being a victim. Her abrasive style has made her perhaps the most powerful woman in America, the lynchpin of Team Trump. It's easy to imagine US Republicans drawing comparison with Margaret Thatcher, so beloved of American conservatives because of her close affiliation with Ronald Reagan during the 1980s.

Yet, with all the noise and innuendo surrounding Mr Trump, it might be advisable for his own iron lady to soften up a little.