Kellyanne Conway has alleged she was physically assaulted by a woman while dining at a Maryland restaurant.
The White House senior adviser said the alleged altercation occurred in late 2018 when she was approached by a 63-year-old woman named Mary Elizabeth Ibabinett, who has since been charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct.
“Somebody was grabbing me from behind, grabbing my arms, and was shaking me to the point where I felt maybe somebody was hugging me,“ she said.
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“She was out of control,” Ms Conway continued. “I don’t even know how to explain her to you. She was just, her whole face was terror and anger. She was right here, and my daughter was right there. She ought to pay for that.”
Ms Inabinett has denied assaulting Ms Conway through her lawyer, who said in a statement she has “exercised her First Amendment right to express her personal opinions”.
“[Ms Inabinett] did not assault Ms Conway,” her lawyer, lawyer, William Alden McDaniel Jr, said. “The facts at trial will show this to be true, and show Ms. Conway’s account to be false.”
The alleged assault occurred at a Mexican restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland, called Uncle Julio’s. A court date has been scheduled in Maryland state court for March.
Ms Conway revealed details of the encounter in an interview for CNN series Badass Women of Washington, a portion of which was released on Friday morning.
The White House senior adviser told the network’s Dana Bash that she called 911 immediately after the alleged assault. Her daughter also took a short video of the encounter, though it remains unclear whether that recording shows a physical interaction.
She isn’t the first member of Donald Trump’s White House to face hostility while out in public; advisers like Stephen Miller have also been confronted while dining at restaurants in Washington, as well as cabinet officials like Kirstjen Nielsen and Republican leaders such as Mitch McConnell. None of those reported exchanges have led to physical violence, however.
“What’s necessary is for people to understand — in front of everybody but especially in front of 13- and 14-year-old girls — that you need to control your temper, control yourself. You need to get over the damn 2016 election and do that because chances are — the big chances and I believe — that this man will be re-elected,” Ms Conway said in the clip released on Friday.
“I don’t want it to become a thing. I just want it to become a teachable moment for everyone that this all has consequences.”
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