WASHINGTON – It’s no secret that George Conway, the conservative attorney and husband to White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, is a critic of President Donald Trump. Known for posting subtle digs at the administration on his Twitter feed of more than 180,000 followers, he’s broadened his audience in recent months by slamming the president in op-eds published in the New York Times and The Washington Post.
On Monday night, the president’s son snapped.
“Of all the ugliness in politics, the utter disrespect George Conway shows toward his wife, her career, place of work, and everything she has fought SO hard to achieve, might top them all,” Eric Trump wrote on Twitter.
Kellyanne Conway is a “great person,” he added, and her husband’s actions “are horrible.”
Of all the ugliness in politics, the utter disrespect George Conway shows toward his wife, her career, place of work, and everything she has fought SO hard to achieve, might top them all. @KellyannePolls is great person and frankly his actions are horrible.
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) December 4, 2018
Eric Trump didn’t indicate what, if anything, had prompted him to speak out. But his comments came hours after Conway implied that Trump’s Monday morning tweetstorm, in which Trump appeared to be trying to discourage longtime adviser Roger Stone from testifying against him in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, could be considered witness tampering.
In a move that could be considered an obstruction of justice, according to legal experts who spoke with The Washington Post, Trump praised Stone for promising never to testify to against him. “Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’ ” he wrote.
“I will never testify against Trump.” This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about “President Trump.” Nice to know that some people still have “guts!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2018
File under “18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1512” https://t.co/e4ZGVn1kJi
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) December 3, 2018
While other legal scholars had come to the same conclusion, Conway’s comments, in particular, raised eyebrows because of his personal ties to the administration. “The husband of a top Trump White House adviser just essentially accused Trump of breaking the law with witness tampering,” tweeted Mother Jones reporter David Corn. “File under ‘This is a Big Deal.'”
Conway shot back, “File under ‘Stating the obvious.'”
Eric Trump’s tweet accusing Conway of disrespecting his wife’s White House position followed about nine hours later. While Conway didn’t respond directly to the president’s son on Twitter, he retweeted a selection of rebuttals posted by others.
First, he shared a tweet from CNN legal analyst Renato Mariotti, who had asked Eric Trump, “How does noting that your father engaged in witness tampering today disrespect Kellyanne Conway?”
Next, Conway retweeted the author Reza Aslan, who had written: “Wait. Did I miss something? Did George Conway pay money to have sex with a porn star right after his wife gave birth?”
The third and final post that Conway shared came from Ian Bassin, the executive director for the nonpartisan group Protect Democracy, who had his own spin on Eric Trump’s comments.
“Of all the ugliness in politics, the utter disrespect the Trumps show toward the rule of law, the presidency and its place of work, and everything this nation has fought SO hard to achieve might top them all,” Bassin’s tweet said. “Donald Trump is terrible person and frankly his actions are horrible.”
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) December 4, 2018
The Conways’ marriage – a pairing of one of the president’s most fervent defenders and an increasingly high-profile dissenter – has become a source of fascination to outsiders over the past year, as the couple’s apparent disagreements have played out on George Conway’s Twitter feed.
“Is the message that Conway is sending here aimed at his wife – or her boss?” The Post’s Karen Tumulty wondered in April. “Is this his way of trying to sabotage her job – or rescue her from it?” Maybe, she speculated, “his tweets are a lifted eyebrow, to let the rest of us know that the Conway household is not divorced from reality, but in on the joke.”
As Tumulty noted, George Conway has repeatedly declined to discuss his Twitter presence with reporters, preferring to let his tweets speak for themselves. “I don’t think she likes it,” he admitted on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery” in November. “But I’ve told her, I don’t like the administration, so it’s even.”
Speaking to The Post’s Ben Terris in August, Kellyanne Conway described her husband’s public criticism of her boss as “disrespectful” – the same charge that Eric Trump leveled on Monday. “I think it disrespects his wife,” she had said, referring to herself.
But George Conway hasn’t backed off his critiques of the president. In November, he co-wrote a New York Times op-ed arguing that the president’s decision to appoint Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general was unconstitutional.
“You mean Mr. Kellyanne Conway?” Trump replied when reporters asked him for his thoughts on the piece. “He’s just trying to get publicity for himself.”
A week later, with her husband back in the news again for stating that he would sooner move to Australia than vote for Trump a second time, Kellyanne Conway briefly changed her Twitter bio to “The ‘Kellyanne Conway’ in ‘Kellyanne Conway’s Husband.'”
“It doesn’t affect me or my job at all,” she told “Fox News Sunday” in November, later adding, “I’m sure the feminists are really cheering me on today, an independent, strong – strong-willed, strong woman in a very powerful position that disagrees with her husband.”