The Internet and Late Night Shows Have a Field Day with Kellyanne Conway’s Microwave Gaffe

Kellyanne Conway‘s suggestion that the Obama administration spied on Trump Tower through kitchen appliances is still making waves on the Internet and late-night TV.

On the Late Show’s Monday night broadcast, host Stephen Colbert mocked Conway’s insinuation that “microwaves that turn into cameras” could have been used to spy on Trump’s 2016 campaign — by reaching out to former President Barack Obama via a microwave.

Naturally assuming that Obama was listening in through the popcorn setting, Colbert whispered a message to the former president: “I miss you.”

Over on Late Night, host Seth Meyers poked fun of Conway’s comment to CNN host Chris Cuomo that, “I’m not Inspector Gadget; I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign.”

“And when Inspector Gadget heard that, he said, ‘Even I think you’re crazy and my hat turns into a helicopter,’ ” Meyers quipped.

Even Obama White House photographer Pete Souza got in on the joke on Instagram, posting a photoshopped picture of the former president peering through a camera lens from the inside of a microwave.

“Someone has been photoshopping one of my photos,” Souza wrote. “For the record, it wasn’t me.”

In an interview with the Bergan Record at her Alpine, New Jersey, home on Sunday, Conway furthered President Donald Trump‘s unsubstantiated claims that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election last year.

“What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other,” she said. “You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets — any number of ways.”

Among the ways, she mentioned “microwaves that turn into cameras,” adding: “We know this is a fact of modern life.”

“On wiretap claims, I have said many times that we are pleased the House/Senate Intel Committees are investigating & will comment after. Response to Bergen Record was about surveillance articles in news & techniques generally, not about campaign. Headline just wrong.”

But some people are still convinced that Conway might be on to something.


Kellyanne’s Alternative Universe

Even in triumph, Kellyanne Conway nursed a grudge. As she reflected on Donald Trump’s November victory, she made clear that she hadn’t forgotten how people treated her back when they thought she was a sure loser. Their attitude wasn’t one of outright rudeness or contempt; it was so much worse than that. It was syrupy condescension—the smarmy, indulgent niceness of people who think they’re better than you.

“ ‘Kellyanne works hard,’ ” Conway said, assuming the voice of her erstwhile sympathizers. “ ‘We all love Kellyanne, but this is a fool’s errand.’ Or ‘She’s done a really nice job, she should hold her head high, but this is just happy talk’ … You know, it was some combination of that. It was ‘We love her, but she’s full of shit.’ ”

Conway flashed a wicked grin. We were sitting in her spacious office in the West Wing of the White House, less than a week after the inauguration. Just a year ago, she was a knockabout GOP pollster and talking head, a casino worker’s daughter who’s never quite shaken her South Jersey accent. But she’d understood something about the electorate that others had missed, and now here she was: perhaps the most powerful woman in America, a senior counselor to the president of the United States, a member of Donald Trump’s core team of top advisers. “Winning may not be everything,” she said, leaning forward over her paper cup of hot cocoa and giving a wink of one mascara-clotted blue eye. “But it’s darned close.”

Winning, Conway contended, was exactly what Trump was doing as president—just look at the number of executive actions he’d already signed. He was outpacing Obama, she said. “Not that it’s a contest.” When I told her I recalled Republicans depicting Obama’s executive orders as Constitution-defying, dictatorial abuses of power, she replied, “Well, I don’t know that I would have said that.” And then came a blast of her signature verbal fog: “But the difference is that—it depends on the issue. Is it something that should be legislatively fought? And now that we have a government that functions that way, this president is taking the reins and doing that—operating, in part, that way.”

Since taking over Trump’s flailing campaign in August, Conway has become famous for her insistence on Trump’s looking-glass version of reality—in which conspiracy theories merit consideration but reported facts are suspect. She claimed, during the campaign, that Trump “doesn’t hurl personal insults,” and that when it came to Barack Obama’s birth certificate, “it was Donald Trump who put the issue to rest.” She once insisted, on CNN, that Trump should be judged by “what’s in his heart” rather than “what’s come out of his mouth.” She has reframed falsehoods as “alternative facts,” invented a terrorist attack (the “Bowling Green massacre”), and flacked for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, in possible violation of federal ethics rules.

When Conway’s critics pile on, she just keeps spinning. “She can stand in the breach and take incoming all day long,” Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, told me. “That’s something you can’t coach.” She’s figured out that she doesn’t need to win the argument. All she has to do is craft a semi-plausible (if not entirely coherent) counternarrative, so that those who don’t want to look past the facade of Trump’s Potemkin village don’t have to.

There is a playful self-awareness to Conway that tempts observers to believe she’s in on the joke, as in the Saturday Night Live skit in which her character mutters, while Trump’s character appears not to notice, “I’m handcuffed to you for all of history.” But if Conway has any doubts about the rightness of the cause, she doesn’t let them show. While her specious arguments leave interlocutors sputtering, she wields a weaponized calm. (Seth Meyers: “I bet in the next four years we are not going to see the president-elect’s tax returns.” Conway, not missing a beat, with a beneficent smile: “I bet that most Americans really care what their tax returns are going to look like after he’s been president for four years.”)

Late-Night Hosts Tease Kellyanne Conway for Microwave Wiretapping Comments

"President Obama, I miss you," Stephen Colbert whispered into the microwave.
The late night hosts were full of jokes about President Trump not being able to come up with evidence to back up his wiretapping allegations against former President Obama. In addition to Trump, a common target of the hosts' jokes was Kellyanne Conway, who told New Jersey's The Record newspaper that there are "many ways" to conduct surveillance now, including "microwaves that turn into cameras."

"It's true," said Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. "How do you think we film this show?" He pointed to one of his cameraman manning a camera-turned-microwave. Colbert laughed at Conway's defense of her remark, telling CNN that she's "not Inspector Gadget." Colbert said Conway only has one move: "Go-go alternative facts!"

Colbert also used the camera microwave to heat up a Hot Pocket, grabbing it and using the opportunity to communicate via the device's alleged surveillance capabilities.

"President Obama, I miss you," Colbert whispered into the microwave. "Actually, can I come in there with you?" he said trying to get himself inside of the microwave.

Seth Meyers talked about Trump's wiretapping allegations on his "Closer Look" segment.

"If Trump had a secret camera in his microwave that must have been a very distressing feed to watch," said Meyers, breaking out his Trump impression. "How long does it take to warm up KFC, Melania?"

He then did an Obama impression, "We're going to put a little secret camera, right there on the back of his microwave. Keep an eye on him."

Trevor Noah said Conway's reaction was "as always, gold."

"To be fair, Kellyanne may have said some crazy shit about microwaves, but look on the bright side: at least she finally learned how to sit on a couch," said Noah, smiling and showing the controversial picture of Conway kneeling on the Oval Office sofa.

Conway was also mentioned in another segment of Noah's when he spoofed the viral video of an expert doing an interview with the BBC and being interrupted by his children. In the spoof, Noah makes Sean Spicer the man trying to work with Trump walking in as the dancing daughter and Ben Carson rolling in as the newborn son. Conway is the Kramer-like mother bursting in to grab the children.

On The Late Late Show, James Corden joked that Conway backed up her microwave claim by saying she watched a "documentary where a clock, a teacup and a candlestick came to life and sang songs." He put up a photo of Beauty and the Beast.

Corden also sent out one of his writers to ask people on the street to take photographs of him with a microwave. He even used the microwave on a selfie stick to photograph himself.

Conway has moved beyond spinning, according to Jimmy Kimmel. "She was pirouetting, she was pivoting — I think she did a triple axel at one point," said Kimmel. "She got a perfect score from the Russian judge."

"If Obama did put a camera into a microwave, all he would find out is that Donald Trump doesn't know how to use a microwave," joked Kimmel.

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