Adviser's posture doesn't sit well with critics

Ms Kellyanne Conway checks her phone soon after kneeling down on an Oval Office couch to take a photo of Mr Donald Trump and leaders of historically black universities and colleges in the US.
Ms Kellyanne Conway checks her phone soon after kneeling down on an Oval Office couch to take a photo of Mr Donald Trump and leaders of historically black universities and colleges in the US.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • As debate goes on over a photo showing White House adviser Kellyanne Conway's casual posture while sitting on an Oval Office couch, Ms Conway has said that the focus should be on the reason she was there in the first place.

Leaders from the United States' historically black colleges and universities, known as HBCUs, met on Monday with administration officials to share "expert insights on policy issues impacting their individual campuses".

Before the meeting, President Donald Trump greeted the chancellors and presidents in the Oval Office. "Coverage should rightly be on the actual visit and the incredible, important work of these men and women at HBCUs," Ms Conway said.

Some critics complained that her posture while she was taking pictures of the group was disrespectful to the office of the president and all it stands for. Others, however, noted that former president Barack Obama had been spotted with his feet on the Oval Office's storied Resolute desk on several occasions during his term.

Ms Conway wrote in e-mails to The Washington Post on Tuesday that she was asked to snap pictures of Mr Trump with the educators "to chronicle this significant event". She knelt down on an Oval Office couch to snap the photos.

"I saw her taking pictures - it was a very sweet moment, to be honest," Ms Omarosa Manigault, a top aide to Mr Trump, said.

Ms Conway also addressed the controversy during an appearance on Lou Dobbs Tonight, which aired on the Fox Business Network, saying she was asked to "take a picture in a crowded room with the press behind us".

"And I was asked to take a certain angle and was doing exactly that," she said. "I certainly meant no disrespect, I didn't mean to have my feet on the couch."

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2017, with the headline 'Adviser's posture doesn't sit well with critics'. Print Edition | Subscribe