Kellyanne Conway says she was just trying to capture a big moment, not create one. In an interview on Lou Dobbs Tonight on Tuesday, the White House adviser says the viral photo of her kneeling on an Oval Office couch simply caught her doing what she was asked: "What happened is we had the largest gathering of men and women to date in the Oval Office for a picture ... I was being 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 told Dobbs. "I certainly meant no disrespect. I didn't mean to have my feet on the couch." Then she flipped the criticism on its head: "If we started a trend here, where people are outwardly talking about greater respect for the office of the president and its current occupant, then perhaps that’s something positive to come out" of this.
And in emails to the Washington Post, Conway tried to shift the attention back where she felt it should be: "on the actual visit and the incredible, important work of these men and women at [historically black colleges and universities]." Trump aide Omarosa Manigault, who was present, also framed the moment to the Post, calling it "very sweet ... to be honest. She looked down at the picture after she got it, and I looked at her and said, 'Kellyanne, did you get a good shot?' ... She tried again; she positioned herself to get a better picture. It really was at my encouragement for her to try to capture such an important, historic moment." (Check out more reaction to the photo here and here.)