When President-elect Donald Trump promised "retribution," it was not long before the meaning of that promise took shape. Now, Trump senior adviser and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is talking about "consequences" for people who speak out against Trump, and demanding silence from his political opponents.
In yet another extraordinary pronouncement which has gone virtually unnoticed, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway lamented the fact that people like labor leader Chuck Jones think they can criticize President-elect Donald Trump without suffering consequences.
Yes, she actually said "consequences:"
People feel like with Donald Trump, they have license to say whatever the heck they want about this guy, with no consequences, with no blowback. The guy has a right to defend himself. And he rarely draws first blood. It's when he is attacked, he likes to set the record straight.
Those words are chilling enough on their own. But it is remarkable that this sentiment is coming not from Trump, a political novice with a hair-trigger, but rather from an experienced political pro. This is messaging.
And it is messaging that works to conceal the profound power differential between a president-elect and the average citizen.
Later in the interview, Conway also complained about criticisms like those made by the Clinton campaign's Jen Palmieri:
Anytime I try to respond, I'm seen as ungracious. Why are we sore winners? I'm not a sore winner, I'm a winner. My guy's a winner. He's the next president of the United States. This has to stop, Chris, this incendiary rhetoric of people who just can't admit that they lost. It has to stop, because it's costing a lot of angst.
If recent history is any indication, we will not have to wait long to find out what kinds of "consequences" Conway is talking about.