Former Trump campaign manager and current transition-team advisor Kellyanne Conway said on Sunday that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid “should be very careful” regarding his post-election comments criticizing President-Elect Donald Trump, and seemed to at least partially imply that Reid might face legal consequences as a result. Her comment came during an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, following a discussion about the protests across the country in response to Trump’s election, and how she hoped that Americans would come together to support their new president. Wallace then asked Conway to respond to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s scathing statement last week that “If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate.”Conway’s response:I find Harry Reid’s public comments and insults about Donald Trump and other Republicans to be beyond the pale. They’re incredibly disappointing. […] And he should be very careful about characterizing somebody in a legal sense. He thinks he’s just being some kind of political pundit there, but I would say be very careful about the way you characterize it.Pressed by Wallace on whether she was saying that Trump might sue Reid over his comments, Conway responded, “No, I’m not suggesting that at all,” but that she was expecting “responsibility and maturity and decency” from Reid regarding the election’s aftermath.
Conway denies that her threats are threats, but that is part of the crazy making dance of the Trump thugs. Like old fashioned mafia thugs, ("nice store you have here. It would be a shame if anything happened to it") they threaten by implicature ("be very careful about characterizing somebody in a legal sense"). by unvoiced inferences, by innuendo, but their speech acts are threats nonetheless.The perception that Conway was making some kind of veiled legal threat was also not lost on Reid, however, whose office quickly responded with a statement:In only took five days for President-elect Trump to try and silence his critics with the threat of legal action. This should shock and concern all Americans. Trump has always used threats of intimidation to silence his critics. Now he wants to silence a discussion of the acts of hate and threats of violence being committed in his name across the country. Silencing this discussion normalizes hate and intimidates the victims. […] Instead of rising to responsibility of his office, Trump is hiding behind his Twitter account and sending his staff on TV to threaten his critics.