By Katya Tolunsky ’22
Kellyanne Conway, the former senior counselor to President Donald Trump, has been controversial through her work & support for the Trump campaign––while her husband, George Conway, the founder of the Lincoln Project (a political action committee aiming to prevent Trump's reelection), has been vocal in his opposition to Trump. Their teenage daughter, Claudia Conway, has recently become vocal on social media platforms TikTok and Twitter, speaking out against her parents and her desire for emancipation.
Claudia has been very transparent about her political differences with her parents and the effect it has on her relationship with them. Fifteen-year-old Claudia’s political standing leans far to the left, and she actively expresses her hatred for Trump. Many of Claudia’s tweets and TikToks vocalize support for movements such as LGBTQ rights and Black Lives Matter (BLM), receiving an ACAB (‘All Cops Are Bastards’) tattoo on her finger in solidarity with the BLM movement. As a further display of support and resilience, Claudia marched for BLM in Washington, D.C. at the very protests that her mother’s boss tried to stop with the Insurrection Act.
Claudia has claimed that her mother's post at the White House has ‘ruined’ her life, finding it ‘heartbreaking’ that she “continues to go down that path after years of watching her children suffer.” Her disdain towards the President has been long-standing—following Trump’s election, twelve-year-old Claudia started a petition on Change.org to persuade her family to not move from New Jersey to Washington, D.C.
Although their political differences have certainly strained their relationship, Claudia has made it clear she is not seeking emancipation simply because of differing opinions. The more troubling reason behind Claudia’s desire for legal emancipation from her parents are her recent claims she suffered abuse from both of her parents. On August 23, Claudia tweeted that she doesn’t wish to be emancipated because of her mother’s job, but because of years of “childhood trauma and abuse.” According to an article from Flare.com, Claudia claims both George and Kellyanne have been both physically and verbally abusive to Claudia over the years. She wrote, “I joke about it a lot but I have bad PTSD from childhood trauma and abuse.” Fifteen-year-old Claudia also recounts how a few weeks ago she was arrested for fake assault charges issued by her very mother, Kellyanne. As of September 2020, parents Kellyanne and George have not yet issued statements regarding these allegations. On August 22, after Kellyanne announced she would be speaking at the Republican National Convention, Claudia tweeted, “I’m officially pushing for emancipation. Buckle up because this is probably going to be public one way or another, unfortunately. Welcome to my life.” Claudia has even jokingly asked progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to adopt her.
On August 23, Kellyanne Conway announced that she would be leaving the White House to focus on her children. She wrote in a press release, “Less drama, more Mama.” Her husband, attorney and conservative columnist George Conway, informed his Twitter following that he, too, would leave his position at the Lincoln Project to focus on "family matters." While George has actively expressed his own disdain for Trump, Claudia claimed on Twitter that she and her father “agree on absolutely nothing.” She tweeted, “We just both happen to have common sense when it comes to our current president. Stop ‘stanning’ him.”
Following the Conways' resignations, Twitter discussion quickly turned to Claudia for comment on the breaking news. Interestingly, Ms. Conway said she found out about her parents' resignation at the same time as everyone else, through the media, and that they never informed her prior to their public announcements. Some suspect that it was Claudia’s threat of emancipation that caused her parents to resign and “focus on their family life.” Claudia swiftly responded to those suspicions, stating that, “As if this is going to change anything and make me not emancipate myself.”
Not long after, Claudia announced that she was taking a break from social media to process the new information and stabilize her mental health. She tweeted that “this is becoming way too much.” Even though the teenager has gathered a large following, she has also attracted many critics. Claudia has expressed her desire for a more private life and hates how the press has recently become interested in her. On TikTok, she wrote, “I hate social media but it's the only place I feel safe” and “I hate the attention.”
Since her joining, Claudia has gained more than 255,000 followers on Twitter and 600,000 followers on TikTok. Her newly gained popularity on social media has served as somewhat of an emotional outlet for her in which she can express her passions, individuality, and shed light on her hardships. “I have been vulnerable for a reason,” she tweeted. Claudia has said she wants to use her platform to “inform people and spread love” as a social justice advocate.
Claudia has also been very transparent with her mental health issues, discussing her battles with severe depression.In May, she penned a passionate post on Instagram for Mental Health Awareness month, publicly unveiling her personal struggles. She wanted her followers to know that they weren’t alone, as well as to break the stigma surrounding mental health, its open discussion and societal acceptance. She wrote, “i am normal. YOU are normal. i’m here to tell you that it is OKAY to NOT be okay. millions and MILLIONS of people are going through the same thing you are. 1 in 4 people will suffer through at least one mental disorder throughout their lifetime. (World Health Organization) you never really know what someone else is going through. be kind.”