George Conway, husband of Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway, hasn’t been shy about how much he loathes the President. His Twitter feed, save for retweets of Corgi videos and photos, has been an endless gripe/whine/insult directed at Trump and the administration for nearly two years.
This week Mr. Conway’s rhetoric against the President stepped up a few notches (when he made multiple tweets purporting to diagnose Trump with a mental disorder then publicly wished for his electoral defeat) then devolved into a Twitter war between the two, as Bonchie and Elizabeth Vaughn have covered.
George, a one-time Trump supporter, says that his Mean Tweet habit is necessary to keep him from taking that anger out on his wife. He told the Washington Post in August 2018:
“The mendacity, the incompetence, it’s just maddening to watch. The tweeting is just the way to get it out of the way, so I can get it off my chest and move on with my life that day. That’s basically it. Frankly, it’s so I don’t end up screaming at her about it.”
In the same interview, he said he wished he’d never pushed Kellyanne to accept a position on the Trump Tower condo board, since that’s how Kellyanne was introduced to the future POTUS.
For perspective, this husband is an extremely successful and well-regarded attorney who is publicly stating he wishes he’d never made the introduction that eventually led his wife to the biggest success of her career – playing a key role (if not the key role) in getting a dark-horse candidate elected as President of the United States. And, she was the first woman to do so. No matter how one views Trump or people working for Trump, making comments like those to a national publication is rude at the very least.
Not surprisingly, both the mainstream media and the #NeverTrump contingent encourage Mr. Conway’s shenanigans and cheer him on. The fact that the spouse of one of his most trusted advisers is a vocal and scathing critic of the President gives reporters an opening to ask the President about Mr. Conway’s tweets. They know Trump can’t attack Mr. Conway the way he would other critics (or didn’t until this week) because of Kellyanne, so the reporters have a bit of a cover. And Trump’s critics feel validated by George’s comments: “Even Kellyanne Conway’s husband thinks he’s pathological!”
By using Mr. Conway’s tweets to further their own vendetta against Trump, Mr. Conway’s fans are supporting and endorsing a husband blatantly disrespecting and demeaning his wife before the whole world.
When asked in an interview with FBN’s Maria Bartiromo Wednesday about Trump’s attacks on George Conway, Kellyanne Conway pointed out that his public criticisms and lack of support for the President’s agenda are somewhat new. She also defended her husband, saying that he took himself out of contention for a job in the Department of Justice, contradicting both Trump’s and Brad Parscale’s characterization of that episode. Though she and her husband had private conversations about Mr. Conway’s feelings toward Trump, Kellyanne felt that dispute should stay private.
“Again, I don’t talk much about this publicly because my first — my first duty is and will always be the protection of these four school-aged children, so I prefer not to address it….Until this week, this was my private life.”
Some outlets characterized Kellyanne Conway’s remarks in that interview (and in a Politico story published Wednesday) as Kellyanne choosing Trump over her husband, but her comments were nuanced.
“I appreciate the President defending what he thinks is unfairness. I’ll leave that up to him. I was raised, though, in a household of strong Italian Catholic women who taught me that you air grievances like that in private, so it is very surprising to see it be so public.
“He’s [Trump] protective of me, and that’s what people should really take from this, is that — I’m not being asked to choose between my marriage and my job….The President has never made me feel that way, Maria.”
The President might not have made her feel that way, but there are plenty of media figures and Twitter commentators saying she should resign in the wake of Trump’s comments about her husband. They believe Trump put Kellyanne in the middle, blaming Trump (as usual) for the awkward situation.
First, that mindset dismisses Kellyanne’s ability to handle a situation like the bada$$ female professional she is. She’s nobody’s victim, and she will speak her mind. After watching her interview with Bartiromo, it’s evident she’s quietly handling business behind the scenes.
Second, this situation is no one’s fault except George Conway’s. Trump had nothing to say about him until Conway kept yipping at him for attention, becoming louder and louder until he caused the reaction he sought all along, a reaction that could justify his anger, which is comprised of a huge mass of insecurity and jealousy of his wife.
If George Conway had sat back and been proud of his wife for her accomplishments, even if he didn’t agree with her boss’s politics (a position many a spouse has been in), and supported and encouraged her, none of this would be happening.
So, it’s okay for her husband to be a vocal critic of Trump and the administration – basically one of HER critics? The man took vows to love, cherish, and honor her. His comments violate all of those marital vows. In the same Washington Post story in which George vented his anger, Kellyanne had this to say about the propriety of her husband’s Twitter habit:
“It is disrespectful, it’s a violation of basic decency, certainly, if not marital vows . . . “
If one can’t agree that it’s a violation of marital vows or basic decency, this display of contempt toward his wife and her work isn’t healthy. In fact, marriage researchers Drs. John and Julie Gottman list contempt as one of “The Four Horsemen” that can predict the end of a relationship.
“When we communicate in this state, we are truly mean—we treat others with disrespect, mock them with sarcasm, ridicule, call them names….The target of contempt is made to feel despised and worthless.
Contempt goes far beyond criticism. While criticism attacks your partner’s character, contempt assumes a position of moral superiority over them.
Contempt is fueled by long-simmering negative thoughts about the partner—which come to a head when the perpetrator attacks the accused from a position of relative superiority.
Most importantly, contempt is the single greatest predictor of divorce. It must be eliminated.”
Yes, George Conway’s tweets specifically name President Trump, but I would argue they are equally targeted at Kellyanne since she is a key part of the team constructing the administration’s policies and positions. It’s absurd to suggest that she should resign her job and essentially cave to George’s publicly-expressed scorn, bullying, and contempt.
As she told Bartiromo on Wednesday, Kellyanne won’t resign, saying men don’t make the decisions for her.
“[W]hat message would that [resigning] send to the feminists everywhere who pretend they’re independent thinkers and men don’t make decisions for them? They can talk it, and I can walk it. I live it.
“I don’t know whether feminists are going to write about the unusual situation of a man getting power through his wife, but that’s what we have here.”
It’s ironic that Democrats, who believe that a major reason for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss was that conservative women listened to their husbands and didn’t think about politics for themselves, are refusing to stand behind Kellyanne Conway.