By Eric Walsh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster who was widely credited with bringing a more disciplined approach to Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign, will become White House counselor when he takes office next month.
In her new post, Conway will play a key advisory role, helping to manage Trump’s messaging and legislative priorities, the transition team said in a statement on Thursday. It praised Conway, 49, as the first woman campaign manager to guide a winning U.S. presidential campaign.
Trump also tapped three loyalists to lead his communications team. The Republican National Committee’s Sean Spicer will be press secretary, while Hope Hicks, Jason Miller and Dan Scavino will round out the communications team.
Both before the Nov. 8 election and after, Conway, as a senior adviser on the transition team, has been a frequent presence on U.S. television news programs, often called upon to defend or explain Trump’s thinking.
Conway “played a crucial role in my victory,” Trump said in the transition team statement. “She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message.”
Trump, a New York businessman, takes office on Jan. 20.
Conway, interviewed by ABC’s “Good Morning America” shortly after the announcement, was asked when Trump would hold his first news conference. She avoided directly answering the question. Trump has held several rallies since winning the election but has not taken formal questions from reporters.
He canceled a Dec. 15 news conference to discuss how he would handle his vast business interests once in the White House and said he would reschedule that for January.
Conway told ABC that Trump was focusing on forming his Cabinet. “He’s been very busy doing that,” she said.
Because of her prominent role in the campaign and transition team, there had been considerable speculation over what post Conway, a veteran political strategist, might occupy in Trump’s administration.
Conway, who has four children, said she did not immediately accept a position offered to her early on in the transition period because she had to weigh her family obligations.
“I would say that I don’t play golf and I don’t have a mistress so, I have a lot of time that a lot of these other men don’t,” Conway told Fox Business Network.
“I see people on the weekend spending an awful lot of time on their golf games and that’s their right, but the kids will be with me, we live in the same house, and they come first.”
(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Frances Kerry)