We are not yet 40 days into the Donald Trump presidency and Kellyanne Conway may have instigated the absolutely dumbest controversy of the young administration thus far, which is saying something for the woman who coined the phrase "alternative facts."
Yes, I'm speaking of #Couchgate, in which Conway was photographed with her feet on the Oval Office couch during a photo opp, incurring so much misguided wrath.
And the fact that it 1) has a hashtag and 2) includes the requisite, scandal-tagging "-gate" suffix tells you right away this dumb. Dumb dumb dumb dumb.
But, unlike that particular incident of doublespeak or her bizarre tip-toeing of ethics rules by endorsing Ivanka Trump's fashion brand on a national news channel, Conway seems to be innocent, this time.
What the hell happened?
A photo made the rounds last night of Kellyanne Conway crouched, feet up, on the couch while President Trump was meeting with leaders of historically black colleges. That hasn't kept the internet from growing very angry about something dumb, though.
The backlash was swift and fierce as critics hammered Conway for showing a lack of decorum in the Oval Office.
Buuuuuuuuut here's the thing: The single photo doesn't tell the whole story.
A subsequent photo shows what's really going on: Conway is getting in position to take a photo of a roomful of HBCU representatives and President Trump. Sure, it's a weird angle — why not just stand further back in the room? — but it's pretty clear Conway has no ill intent here.
So, is this the hill that opponents of Trump should choose to die on?
No. The answer is no. Unequivocally no way.
Bigger things to worry over
Far more important is that the HBCU reps shown in the photos came away pretty nonplussed about the whole event. Apparently, the university presidents were hoping for a more substantial meeting with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other federal officials to talk about Pell Grants, according to Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University.
"That all blew up when the decision was made to take the presidents to the Oval Office to see the president," he wrote on Medium. "I’m still processing that entire experience. But needless to say that threw the day off and there was very little listening to HBCU presidents today ... "
While the photo-op/non-meeting was going on, the Justice Department dropped its Obama-era objection to a controversial voter ID law in Texas that could greatly affect access to voting for many minority voters, a controversy that deserves far more attention than where Kellyanne's feet are.
Plus, Trump is preparing to speak before Congress for the first time on Tuesday night and announce major cuts to just about everything in the federal budget while funneling a veritable shit-ton of money into the defense budget.
Stay focused on things that have real impact, not on Oval Office decorum, especially when we all know the worst part of Trump's White House are those garish gold curtains.
Backlash to the backlash
Indeed, there's already a backlash to the backlash from folks like from Chris Clizza at the Washington Post. Says Clizza, "We have reached a point in our politics — and Trump was the agitator if not the originator of this latest flash of polarization — in which even the most mundane of events is somehow invested with nefarious symbolism."
He's right, too.
If you want to attack Conway for defending lies and showing no regards for ethics, go right ahead. But this is no different than the stupid outcry that circulated when President Obama was photographed with his feet on his Oval Office desk.
I remember when Obama putting his feet on the desk was a right-wing nontroversy. This only matters to anyone when it's the other party http://pic.twitter.com/n8ueu9TOvH
— Covert Putin Shill (@wokieleaks1) February 14, 2017
It was something Obama did frequently, as did other presidents before him. That controversy was dumb then and this one is dumb now.
So stop it. Find something worthwhile to be mad about — like voter suppression! — and use your hashtivism skills for that instead.
And let Kellyanne be Kellyanne. Lord knows it won't be long before she gets herself in trouble again anyway.