Junk Explained: Who Is Claudia Conway & Why Is She Being Called The “Whistleblower Of Our Time”?
The 15-year-old has been hailed as a 'resistance hero' but she doesn't want that, nor is it fair to place that responsibility on a child.
Over the last week, 15-year-old Claudia Conway has been all over news headlines.
The teen has been hailed as the “whistleblower of our time” by Elle and deserving of the “Pulitzer prize” by people on Twitter, after Conway used her TikTok to reveal “truths” about Donald Trump’s current health status, and by breaking the news that her mother — a former member of Trump’s team — had contracted COVID-19 before any news outlets were able to.
But what Claudia Conway actually is, is a 15-year-old teen at odds with her family, unhappy with her current situation, and using social media to vent about these issues. With such well-known parents and a presidential election happening in under a month, everything Claudia has done in the last few weeks has been magnified as people hail her the teen who will “save us” from Trump.
However, Claudia Conway never wanted that responsibility — nor is it fair to place it on a child. So, let’s break down how Claudia Conway became the unlikely leader of a resistance that she wanted no part of, and explore why it’s all kinda gross to project this all on her.
Who Is Claudia Conway?
Claudia Conway is a popular social media personality, and the 15-year-old daughter of Kellyanne Conway — a political consultant and former counsellor to US President Donald Trump — and George Conway — a ‘Never Trumper’, attorney, and co-founder of the Lincoln Project, a conservative political action committee that’s dedicated to stopping the re-election of Trump in 2020.
Despite both Kellyanne and George having such starkly different beliefs, Claudia has been vocal about her disdain for both her parents on social media. While Claudia is very openly anti-Trump and pro-ACAB, the teen has had a troubled relationship with her parents and says that beyond both having “common sense” when it comes to the current president, she and her father “agree on absolutely nothing politically”.
For months, Claudia Conway has tweeted about how much she hates her parent’s roles in politics and how stuck she feels in her home, with her parents routinely forcing her to delete social media posts that they don’t agree with. But after claims of “years of childhood trauma and abuse”, Claudia finally threatened emancipation from her parents in August.
my mother’s job ruined my life to begin with. heartbreaking that she continues to go down that path after years of watching her children suffer. selfish. it’s all about money and fame, ladies and gentlemen.
— CLAUDIA CONWAY (@claudiamconwayy) August 23, 2020
i’m officially pushing for emancipation. buckle up because this is probably going to be public one way or another, unfortunately. welcome to my life
— CLAUDIA CONWAY (@claudiamconwayy) August 23, 2020
However, soon after Claudia tweeted that she was seeking emancipation, both Kellyanne and George announced that they would be stepping away from their respective jobs to focus on family.
In a statement, Kellyanne Conway shared that she was leaving “by choice” in order to spend more time with her family. As for George Conway, he announced that he would be withdrawing from the Lincoln Project to “devote more time to family matters”, but would still support the project and its mission “passionately”.
And when the news broke, Claudia did what she did best: laughed about it on TikTok with her followers.
“The power i hold — I– they think this is gonna stop me from getting emancipated? NANSHAJAB BYE,” she captioned her video reacting to her father’s announcement.
How Claudia Conway’s TikTok Made Her The “Leader” Of A Resistance She Wanted No Part Of
Claudia’s politically-charged TikToks didn’t end once her parents left their jobs. Instead, Claudia Conway continued to use the platform and accidentally became the Gen Z’s latest resistance hero.
After Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 — along with numerous attendees at the superspreader event at the White House Rose Garden — Claudia made a video about how it was “suspicious” that her mother, who attended the event, was “coughing all around the house” following Trump’s diagnosis.
While she didn’t know it at the time, Claudia Conway essentially broke the news that her mother had contracted the virus. When Kellyanne Conway confirmed the news, Claudia claimed that her mother lied to her and “said her test was negative when it literally wasn’t and I spent all day around her”.
As a result, Claudia Conway was also diagnosed with coronavirus, and posted a TikTok claiming that she was “currently dying of covid!“, which caused even more tensions in the Conway family. In a now-deleted video, Kellyanne Conway can be heard screaming at Claudia and saying: “You caused so much disruption. You lied about your fucking mother about COVID? ABOUT COVID?”.
In another deleted video, Kellyanne can be heard demanding Claudia to film a TikTok that sets the record straight about the alleged lies. “Do it now. Say, ‘Correction: My mum had three tests,” Kellyanne said off-screen.
Claudia then clarifies that the misinterpretation of Kellyanne’s results happened because her mother was tested three times — the first negative and the following two positive — which led to miscommunication about Kellyanne’s diagnosis.
But beyond breaking the news that her mother had contracted coronavirus from the White House superspreader event, Claudia also commented on a TikTok speaking on Donald Trump’s health status following his COVID-19 treatment.
On October 6, the president tweeted that he was “feeling really good” and “better than I did 20 years ago” while announcing that he was leaving the Walter Reed Medical Centre. Very quickly, Claudia Conway commented that Trump was actually “not doing ‘better'” and that “apparently he is doing badly and [medical staff] are doing what they can do to stabilise him”.
Claudia Conway is the most trusted source of information the American public has right now. https://t.co/8WDf5BhZ4L
— Scary Whitta (@garywhitta) October 5, 2020
Considering the connections the Conway’s have in politics, people took Claudia’s words as truth. Some dubbed the teen “our new Press Secretary“, others noted that Claudia was the “most trusted source of information the American public has right now”.
This Twitter frenzy around the teen and her apparent access to, and willingness to share, this information, caused the teenager to suddenly be labelled the “whistleblower of our time” by media outlets, much to Claudia’s dismay.
Claudia Conway Shouldn’t Be The One To “Save Us”
After the internet was a-buzz with the idea that a 15-year-old was somehow here to “save us” because she speculated that Donald Trump was sicker than he was, Claudia Conway snapped.
Even though she has been very vocal about the media’s strange obsession with her, a literal child, Claudia released a statement addressing “mainstream media using my situation and my views for their own personal benefit”.
“These media outlets are blowing this out of proportion. I am appalled at the mainstream media’s efforts to exploit a teenage girl, which is negatively affecting my mental health,” the statement read. “I am not the ‘whistleblower’ of our time. I am simply a 15-year-old with a following and bad luck when it comes to media coverage.”
The statement then went on to note that her comments on Trump were merely speculation and assumption, not fact known through “special insight” from her mother. Claudia Conway also reiterated that Kellyanne Conway did not lie to her, but instead that her mother “has done everything in her power to ensure my safety and health… amidst her diagnosis”.
However, Claudia’s fans quickly grew suspicious of the statement and begun to speculate that Kellyanne had forced the teen to release the note. This is because only a few nights prior, Claudia Conway spoke in code during a Live stream to say that she actually “really scared” of her mother.
Asking her followers if they all “spoke Gibberish the same way”, Claudia launched into her message for help and used the schoolyard language of Pig Latin to say: “I am on Live right now because I am scared of my mum. I am really scared.”
Then, responding to comments that asked her to remove her earrings if she was in danger, Claudia proceeded to take out her earrings during the stream. Yet, Claudia vehemently denied the claims that Kellyanne either wrote or told the teen to post her apology statement.
Kellyanne Conway also weighed in on the matter, and explained that while her daughter is “beautiful and brilliant”, she also fifteen and “speculates on social media”. Kellyanne then implied that the adults who believe what her daughter says are actually “who is really sick”.
You are a monster who has contributed to the lies which murdered hundreds of thousands of people. Claudia is a bright light of truth who has the courage to call out the lies you have sold your soul to sell. I wish her the best life. She is already doing great things. https://t.co/Kxis0uZA9y
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) October 6, 2020
But even with everything being said online, the fact of the matter is Claudia Conway is a very troubled teen with a huge platform and, an unfortunate amount of scrutiny on her life.
Anyone who follows her can see that the teen constantly posts about how she is unhappy in her home environment and simply wants an escape. Nowhere along the line has Claudia Conway said she wants to be the hero of her generation, and it’s weird that people are trying to make her one.
In reality, Claudia is just a teen using her social media pages as a personal diary, like most other Gen Z kids do. The only difference is that her parents are famous and everyone else is desperately searching for someone to “save us” and take responsibility for political issues that require collective effort to solve.
But adults have a problem with placing hope solely on the youth. Greta Thunberg touched on exactly this during her 2019 UN climate speech, and she was right: “How dare you. How dare any of us? Children should be in school, not placed on a pedestal and made to be the ones responsible for fixing the issues older generations created.”
Children should not have to face the pressure of being beacons of hope for the rest of us. Children should be children. Not heroes. Not whistleblowers. And definitely not leaders of a resistance against Donald Trump when they can’t even vote themselves.
I know the Claudia Conway story is already losing buzz.. but let me tell you, as somebody who has experienced it first hand, pinning all of your political goals on a teenager is a terrible thing to do to them and a terrible thing for the country. Grow up. Stop making us do it.
— Cam (@cameron_kasky) October 7, 2020
A 15-year-old girl shouldn’t be your hero…that’s not fair to her.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 6, 2020
Michelle Rennex is a senior writer at Junkee. She tweets at @michellerennex.