How Kellyanne Conway's husband became an issue for President Trump

On Friday morning, this exchange happened between President Donald Trump and the White House press corps:...

Posted: Nov 11, 2018 5:37 PM
Updated: Nov 11, 2018 5:37 PM

On Friday morning, this exchange happened between President Donald Trump and the White House press corps:

Reporter: Is Kellyanne's [Conway's] husband's wrong?

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Eastern Europe

Europe

Families and children

George Conway

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Investigations

Kellyanne Conway

Marriage

Matt Whitaker

Misc people

Political Figures - US

Politics

Robert Mueller

Russia

Russia meddling investigation

Society

US federal government

White House

Trump: Who?

Reporter: Kellyanne's husband wrote that the appointment was unconstitutional.

Trump: You mean Mr. Kellyanne Conway?

Reporter: He wrote that you're unconstitutionally appointing him. He is wrong?

Trump: He's just trying to get publicity for himself. Why don't you do this: Why don't you ask Kellyanne that question, all right? She might know him better than me. I really don't know the guy.

First, some context. Kellyanne Conway, in case you have spent the last few years on another planet, is a White House counselor to Trump. She is married to a man named George Conway, a well-known Washington lawyer and a finalist for the post of solicitor general in the early days of the Trump administration.

More importantly, Conway -- George, that is -- has emerged as one of the leading critics of President Trump. Conways preferred method of pushing back on Trump is via Twitter, but on Thursday night, Conway co-authored an op-ed in The New York Times in which he blasted Trump's decision to name Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, calling it "unconstitutional" because Whitaker has never been confirmed by the Senate.

Here's the key piece of the, uh, piece:

"We cannot tolerate such an evasion of the Constitution's very explicit, textually precise design. Senate confirmation exists for a simple, and good, reason. Constitutionally, Matthew Whitaker is a nobody. His job as Mr. Sessions's chief of staff did not require Senate confirmation. (Yes, he was confirmed as a federal prosecutor in Iowa, in 2004, but Mr. Trump can't cut and paste that old, lapsed confirmation to today.) For the president to install Mr. Whitaker as our chief law enforcement officer is to betray the entire structure of our charter document."

And because Donald Trump is Donald Trump, not only did he respond to Conway's provocation but did so by insulting him -- and referring to his critic by referring to him as "Mr. Kellyanne Conway." (Sidebar: Trump's put-downs are almost all tied to his men's-locker-room sensibility; to Trump, it should be embarrassing for Conway to have a wife who is more well-known/successful than him.")

While this is the first time Trump has engaged on the conundrum of one of his top advisers being married to one of his biggest Republican critics, it's far from the first time people have noticed that the whole thing is, well, weird.

Wrote The Washington Post's Ben Terris in an amazing profile of the Conway situation:

"The Conways, like the rest of the country, have been jolted by the Trump presidency. They love each other, are exasperated by each other, talk about each other behind each other's backs. They share a roof and live in different bunkers.

"This may be the story of any marriage — partners can drive each other crazy and still stay together for 50 years — but this marriage is, in many ways, emblematic of our national political predicament, particularly on the right."

Those bending over backward to give the Conways the benefit of the doubt compare their relationship to that of James Carville and Mary Matalin, the most famous political odd couple. But the comparison breaks down quickly. First off, Carville was a Democrat, Matalin was a Republican. Both of the Conways are Republicans. George introduced his wife to Trump -- and, according to Terris, he wept tears of joy when Trump was elected President. Second, Carville never worked in the Clinton White House. Not only does Kellyanne Conway work in the White House but she is one of the most recognizable figures in Trump's administration.

Her high profile, coupled with George's increased and increasingly critical tweeting about Trump, have made for any number of awkward moments where husband and wife seem to be cheering (or razzing) from both the home and away stands.

That's particularly acute when it comes to the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, being led by Robert Mueller. George Conway has been an outspoken defender of Mueller -- and has publicly chastised Trump for his criticism of the former FBI director. When Trump suggested that the Mueller appointment was unconstitutional, Conway tweeted this: "It isn't very surprising to see the president tweet a meritless legal position, because, as a non-lawyer, he wouldn't know the difference between a good one and a bad one."

Kellyanne Conway, on the other hand, has been singing from the Trump playbook on the Mueller investigation. "This is just a witch hunt," Conway said in a July interview on Fox News Channel. "It's all a hoax."

As you can see, all of this was pretty damn awkward even before the President of the United States answered a question about the Conways. Of course, Trump has always been the looming presence in political Washington's most fascinating marriage. And that's according to none other than Kellyanne Conway.

"I feel there's a part of him that thinks I chose Donald Trump over him," Kellyanne told Terris of her husband. "Which is ridiculous. One is my work and one is my marriage."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 70930

Reported Deaths: 2043
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5803124
DeSoto379632
Harrison266336
Madison250372
Jackson241147
Rankin233738
Jones194562
Forrest186557
Washington173945
Lee161042
Lauderdale145894
Neshoba130994
Lamar124616
Bolivar116737
Warren115136
Oktibbeha114539
Lowndes111440
Panola109618
Sunflower108628
Lafayette102520
Scott101720
Copiah97329
Leflore96368
Pike96037
Holmes92849
Yazoo87413
Pontotoc8669
Grenada86126
Lincoln84943
Monroe83955
Simpson82231
Leake80427
Coahoma79813
Wayne79021
Tate75330
Marshall74010
Union73217
Marion69221
Adams64726
Covington64115
Winston63716
George6059
Pearl River57140
Newton56711
Tallahatchie55011
Attala53925
Walthall51922
Chickasaw49119
Noxubee46612
Prentiss46210
Tishomingo4539
Alcorn4455
Calhoun4289
Smith41513
Hancock41415
Jasper4129
Tippah41114
Claiborne41014
Clay40614
Itawamba40410
Tunica3677
Clarke35528
Montgomery3467
Lawrence3328
Yalobusha31810
Humphreys30312
Quitman2751
Carroll26311
Greene26213
Webster25013
Perry2498
Jefferson Davis2436
Amite2426
Kemper24114
Wilkinson22714
Stone2256
Sharkey2097
Jefferson1977
Benton1571
Choctaw1384
Franklin1372
Issaquena272
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 102196

Reported Deaths: 1825
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13578262
Mobile10747221
Montgomery6999153
Madison555035
Tuscaloosa435080
Unassigned406169
Baldwin374429
Shelby338137
Marshall320738
Lee273647
Morgan244320
Etowah220934
DeKalb186614
Calhoun185319
Elmore178339
Walker156265
Houston145913
Limestone139313
Russell13912
St. Clair138120
Dallas134825
Franklin131022
Cullman124612
Colbert123218
Lauderdale121320
Autauga119622
Escambia109417
Talladega108714
Jackson10794
Tallapoosa87879
Dale85629
Chambers84838
Blount8355
Chilton8309
Clarke82710
Coffee7816
Butler77536
Covington75521
Pike7167
Marion59226
Barbour5866
Lowndes57524
Marengo57217
Bullock49311
Hale48726
Bibb4575
Winston45611
Washington45313
Perry4484
Wilcox44510
Monroe4256
Pickens41310
Randolph40411
Conecuh39710
Sumter37019
Lawrence3603
Macon34414
Crenshaw3338
Choctaw29012
Cherokee2888
Clay2785
Geneva2692
Henry2683
Greene25511
Lamar2372
Fayette2275
Cleburne1301
Coosa1063
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Scattered Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 88°
Columbus
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 103°
Oxford
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 91°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 93°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather