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American Idol Tried to Rehab Kellyanne Conway’s Image and It Was Painful to Watch

Do they expect us to forget the last 4+ years?

Kellyanne Conway appeared on American Idol last night, and we’re not having any of this rehabbing of her image. She is and will forever remain one of the biggest liars of the Trump administration who peddled “alternative facts.” Kellyanne gaslighted the media, made Americans feel like they were all over the place with her contradictory information, and took part in trying to dismantle our democracy via the hands of Trump and his cronies. And no amount of guest appearances on American Idol will change that.

Seeing her image “rehabbed” on one of the biggest stages in the world is almost sickening. For years, she knew how to spin-cycle topics to change the subject and leave you doubting your own philosophy. She made up a whole terrorist attack, the Bowling Green Massacre, while trying to defend Trump’s Muslim Ban. She backed the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare while saying that it didn’t constitute a Medicaid cut. And she defended a zero-tolerance policy at the border of the United States that led to the separation of families.

Now, seeing your daughter on American Idol and cheering her on isn’t the problem. The problem is how American Idol framed it. Before Claudia’s performance, they showed a blurry AF live stream of Kellyanne who was there to pump up her daughter. That’s good and all, but did they have to go for the sad instrumental music? This woman is a villain and part of the darkest timeline the United States has ever seen. She doesn’t get to be painted as the sympathetic and humble mom. But that isn’t the only reason why Kellyanne’s appearance on American Idol is so disturbing.

On January 19, 2021 Claudia posted a series of videos that appear to show her mother shouting, cursing, belittling, and seemingly hitting her daughter. She was also heard in the videos telling Claudia: “Fuck you!” “Bitch.” “If you only knew what people thought of you.” Days later, on January 25, 2021, Kellyanne was accused of posting nude photos of Claudia, who is 16 years old. And in since-deleted TikToks, Claudia confirmed the photo was hers and that she suspected her mother had taken the picture.

Then there was that soft-ball question Katy Perry threw at Claudia: “Does she still hug you?” *Face palm.* Who thought that was a good question to ask an apparent victim of abuse? Also, is Katy Perry so ignorant that she’s separated herself from reality? It’s made even worse when Claudia had to explain that her relationship with her mom is “iffy” at best. Because yelling at them, and posting nude photos of them are just “iffy” things that happened but that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things?

And this isn’t to blame Claudia for saying that her relationship with her mother is “iffy.” She’s a child, after all. This is me making it clear that Claudia was put in an awkward spot for this PR campaign, and I can spot a PR campaign when I see one. That’s why Claudia made it on American Idol, and that’s why her mom allowed her to be on the show in the first place. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement that will rehab Kellyanne’s image while seemingly giving Claudia the freedom she desires to have.

Either way, I hope it doesn’t go down the same road as Sean Spicer did on Dancing with the Stars. That was a disaster, and not even the fun kind. And I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be the same thing with American Idol.

(image: ABC)

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Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.