- President Donald Trump and George Conway are in an escalating feud.
- It reached a fever pitch when Trump called the lawyer “a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!” and Conway questioned the president’s mental state.
- Back when Kellyanne Conway was running Trump’s presidential campaign, Conway supported his wife’s boss.
- But that started to change as the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference heated up.
- Here’s how their relationship devolved over time.
Prominent conservative lawyer George Conway has been highly critical of his wife’s boss, President Donald Trump.
Here’s a brief history of George Conway’s transformation from Trump supporter into one of his most visible and vocal critics on the right.
June 2, 2017: Conway turns down administration role
- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
“I am profoundly grateful to the President and to the attorney general for selecting me to serve in the Department of Justice. I have reluctantly concluded, however, that, for me and my family, this is not the right time for me to leave the private sector and take on a new role in the federal government.”
Conway went on to clarify: “Kellyanne and I continue to support the President and his administration, and I look forward to doing so in whatever way I can from outside the government.”
The Washington Post reported that Conway considered the role, but was scared off by Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and the aftermath that ensued.
June 5, 2017: Conway posts his first critical tweet
Shortly after turning down an administration position, Conway started to tweet critically of Trump.
In his first post, he questioned the usefulness of Trump’s tweets, mocking Trump’s signature sign-off “Sad!”
These tweets may make some ppl feel better, but they certainly won't help OSG get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad. https://t.co/zVhcyfm8Hr
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) June 5, 2017
In a later tweet, Conway clarified that he still supported the president.
March 28, 2018: Conway gets more vocal on Twitter
- George Frey/Getty Images
In late March 2018, after nearly a yearlong hiatus, Conway called Trump’s reported interest in pardons for former staff as a way to protect himself from the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation “flabbergasting.”
This is flabbergasting. https://t.co/J0OnbQLXQu
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 28, 2018
Also at this time, Conway reportedly switched his party registration to “unaffiliated.”
March 29, 2018: Conway deletes some critical tweets
- White House
According to a CNN report, Conway deleted a series of tweets after his March tweets gained attention. The deleted tweets reportedly included one that called the president “absurd.”
April 22, 2018: Kellyanne Conway spars with Dana Bash over her husband’s tweets
Kellyanne Conway sparred with Dana bash after the CNN host asked her about her husband’s tweets.
May 3, 2018: Conway calls out Rudy Giuliani
- Cuomo Prime Time/CNN/Twitter
Conway tweeted a section of the Federal Election Commission’s website the night after Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani revealed that Trump reimbursed his former attorney for a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) May 3, 2018
May 17, 2018: Conway calls Giuliani’s argument ‘drivel’
In a Reuters piece on Giuliani’s claim that Mueller can’t subpoena Trump, Conway went on the record calling the assertion “drivel.”
May 24, 2018: Conway reportedly coaches anti-Trump writers
A Politico report alleged that Conway had emailed multiple writers who have been critical of Trump to help improve their arguments.
June 11, 2018: Conway publishes a pro-Mueller essay
- Alex Wong/Getty Images
Lawfare published an essay from Conway criticizing arguments against the appointment of the special counsel Robert Mueller.
Conway wrote: “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.”
Earlier in June, Conway tweeted about the same topic:
And if this were true, you’d think this conservative Republican-controlled Department of Justice would revoke or decline to utilize the Special Counsel regulations. But it hasn’t. https://t.co/cAggK0XfdU
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) June 4, 2018
The previous June, Conway was playing a very different tune, openly questioning the Russia investigation along with his wife on Twitter:
July 9, 2018: George says he’s given Kellyanne a hard time about Trump
For an article about public heckling of Trump administration figures, George told the Washington Post that “She has been getting a harder time from me about working for this administration than walking down the street.”
August 15, 2018: The Conways open up about their marriage
- KEVIN LAMARQUE/Reuters
In a Washington Post article about the couple, the Conways lamented the effect their political division was having on their marriage.
Kellyanne told Post reporter Ben Terris that George’s tweeting was “disrespects his wife.”
George said he was “saddened by how things turned out” with the administration and that he regretted initially introducing Kellyanne to Trump.
“I feel there’s a part of him that thinks I chose Donald Trump over him,” Kellyanne said. “Which is ridiculous. One is my work and one is my marriage.”
September 27, 2018: The retweet era begins
In the months following the profile, Conway primarily communicated through retweets.
For example, in late September, he retweeted posts that were both critical of Trump and supportive of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh:
And this is the guy – narcissistic, self-involved, dictionally crippled, unread – who is gonna bring peace to Korea? Or will soon present a workable plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace? Come on, people. This isn’t real https://t.co/DDotRZB1t4
— Robert E Kelly (@Robert_E_Kelly) September 27, 2018
People who’ve worked in newsrooms should know that lunatics and irresponsible actors involve themselves falsely in high profile cases all the time.
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) September 26, 2018
October 30, 2018: Conway rejects Trump’s justification for outlawing birthright citizenship
- Joe Raedle/Getty Images
According to Conway, “the challengers would undoubtedly win.”
Conway and Katyal point out that the right to citizenship is written into the 14th Amendment:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States” – except in two cases: children of “alien enemies in hostile occupation” and the children of foreign diplomats.
To change this, they argue that you’d need a Constitutional Amendment.
November 8, 2018: Conway co-authors an op-ed arguing Trump’s attorney general appointment is unconstitutional
- Steve Pope/Getty Images
When Trump appointed Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general after firing Jeff Sessions from the role, Conway and fellow lawyer Neal K. Katyal published an opinion piece in The New York Times saying they thought the action was illegal.
“Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal,” they wrote. “And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.”
Whitaker had been critical of the Mueller probe, and many, including Conway, accused Trump of installing him to oversee the Justice Department in order to squash the investigation.
Conway and Katyal continued:
“Because Mr. Whitaker has not undergone the process of Senate confirmation, there has been no mechanism for scrutinizing whether he has the character and ability to evenhandedly enforce the law in a position of such grave responsibility. The public is entitled to that assurance, especially since Mr. Whitaker’s only supervisor is Mr. Trump himself, and the president is hopelessly compromised by the Mueller investigation. That is why adherence to the requirements of the Appointments Clause is so important here, and always.”
William Barr ended up replacing Whitaker. The Senate approved Barr as attorney general in February.
November 16, 2018: Conway rails against Trump in a podcast interview
- Georgetown Law/Handout via REUTERS
“I don’t feel comfortable being a Republican anymore,” Conway said on the podcast. “I think the Republican Party has become something of a personality cult.”
Conway described Trump’s tweets criticizing former Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “appalling,” and a sharp deviation from political norms.
“We’re talking about someone who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States,” Conway said, “and to criticize the attorney general for permitting justice to be done without regard to political party is very disturbing.”
Conway also revealed more details on why he didn’t take the Trump administration job.
“I’m watching this thing, and it’s like the administration is like a s—show in a dumpster fire,” he said on the podcast. “And I’m like, ‘I don’t want to do that.'”
David Choi contributed reporting.
December 3, 2018: Conway accuses Trump of witness tampering
- Alex Wong/Getty Images
In December, former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone said he would “never” testify against the president as part of the Mueller investigation. Stone was indicted on seven counts of obstruction, false statements, and witness tampering, and is pleading not guilty.
Trump applauded Stone for his statements in a tweet – but some legal experts, including Conway, said it could be considered witness tampering.
In a tweet, Trump praised Stone for not willing to be “forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor” to “make up lies and stories” about the president. He added that it was “nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!'”
John Haltiwanger contributed reporting.
March 18, 2019: Conway questions the president’s mental state
- REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Their tense relationship reached a fever pitch after Trump spent St. Patrick’s Day weekend on a Twitter tear against “Saturday Night Live,” Fox News, and the late Sen. John McCain.
Conway posted the cover of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders hours after the first leg of Trump’s tweets, followed by the book’s pages that describe narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.
When asked about the tweet, Kellyanne said she doesn’t “share those concerns” about Trump’s psychological state.
March 19, 2019: Trump calls Conway “A total loser!”
- Georgetown Law/Handout via REUTERS
Trump finally broke his silence on Conway’s criticisms when he called the lawyer “A total loser!” on Twitter.
Conway responded with several tweets of his own, starting with, “Congratulations! You just guaranteed that millions of more people are going to learn about narcissistic personality disorder and malignant narcissism! Great job!”
“This was the article that first got me to really understand you, @realDonaldTrump,” Conway continued in another tweet, with a link to a Rolling Stone story about Trump’s mental health. “Once someone understands narcissistic personality disorder, they understand you-and why you’re unfit and incompetent for the esteemed office you temporarily hold.”
March 20, 2019: Trump calls Conway “a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!”
Trump escalated the feud, calling Conway “a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!”
Conway retweeted it, with the comment, “The President of the United States.”
Washington Post White House reporter Ashley Parker asked, “why is it considered the ultimate insult to call a man ‘Mr. [Insert Wife’s Name Here]’?”
To that, George responded, “It isn’t-except perhaps to the extremely juvenile and boorish. What I really wouldn’t want to be called is ‘Individual-[ ],'” referring to the way Trump is characterized in Muller’s court filings.
In an interview with Politico, Kellyanne said she had discussed George’s criticisms with Trump “in passing,” and that the president “left it alone for months out of respect for me.” She added that the rift hasn’t affected her job in any way.
“But you think he shouldn’t respond when somebody, a non-medical professional accuses him of having a mental disorder? You think he should just take that sitting down?” she told Politico’s Daniel Lippman, adding that Trump was a “counterpuncher.”
Asked how his tweets reflected on first lady Melania Trump’s “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign, Trump said he didn’t know Conway and called him “a whack job.”
“He’s doing a tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife,” Trump told reporters. “Kellyanne is a wonderful woman. And I call him ‘Mr. Kellyanne.’ The fact is that he’s doing a tremendous disservice to a wife and family. She’s a wonderful woman.”
March 21, 2019: Conway doubles down on his questions about Trump’s mental health
- REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
After Conway called Trump “dumb” in tweets, he retweeted someone who wondered, “Could be cognitive decline rather than simple stupidity,” and shared an interview from 1980 when Conway said Trump was “articulate and coherent, unlike today.”
He also accused Trump of “compulsive lying.”
“He lies even when it makes no sense to lie,” Conway tweeted. “As one of his lawyers once told me, Trump couldn’t be allowed to talk to Mueller because “he’d lie his a– off.'”
Retweeting a Talking Points Memo story with the headline, “Trump’s aides have no idea why their boss keeps picking fights with a senator who died almost seven months ago,” Conway added: “oh they full well know #notstable #notagenius.”
March 27, 2019: Conway publishes an op-ed in the Washington Post titled “Trump is guilty — of being unfit for office”
- REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
After Mueller submitted his report on the special counsel investigation to Attorney General William Barr, Trump tweeted: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION.”
But while Mueller concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to prove Trump conspired with the Kremlin, he did not make a determination on whether the president obstructed justice. Barr, a political appointee, did.
Conway weighed in on this in an op-ed in The Washington Post, pointing out that “Mueller said his ‘report does not conclude that the President committed a crime’ but that ‘it also does not exonerate him.'”
“Whether the Mueller report ever sees the light of day, there is one charge that can be resolved now. Americans should expect far more from a president than merely that he not be provably a criminal,” Conway wrote.
He continued: “If the charge were unfitness for office, the verdict would already be in: guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
April 18, 2019: After the release of the redacted Mueller report, Conway pens an op-ed calling for Trump’s impeachment
After the release of the redacted Mueller report on Thursday, April 18, Conway published an op-ed in The Washington Post calling for the president’s impeachment, using quotes from the report and the US Constitution.
“What the Mueller report disturbingly shows, with crystal clarity, is that today there is a cancer in the presidency: President Donald J. Trump,” Conway wrote.
“The president may have the raw constitutional power to, say, squelch an investigation or to pardon a close associate,” said Conway. “But if he does so not to serve the public interest, but to serve his own, he surely could be removed from office, even if he has not committed a criminal act.”
Conway ended the piece by writing, “Congress now bears the solemn constitutional duty to excise that cancer without delay.”
David Choi contributed reporting.