OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Kellyanne Conway, who served as the top political counselor to President Donald Trump, took her husband, George Conway, to task in a new memoir over his incessant public criticism of her boss, claiming it was a violation of their wedding vows.
In her book, “Here’s The Deal: A Memoir,” the first woman to run a winning presidential campaign explains how it became increasingly difficult to deal with her husband’s disdain for her boss, writing that he was “cheating by tweeting.”
Though she was a faithful surrogate for Trump, George Conway became a relentless “never-Trump” critic to the point that it weighed heavily on their marriage.
Per People magazine, here are some excerpts from the book describing the situation:
HEADING INTO THE school year in the fall of 2018, all four Conway children were thriving. They were with me full-time in D.C. My mom had moved in with us to help with my Core Four. George was spending chunks of time in New York at the firm, where he voluntarily went from partner to an of-counsel role, spending his nights alone at our house in Alpine, New Jersey, 240 miles away from D.C. The numbers don’t lie. During this time, the frequency and ferocity of his tweets accelerated. Clearly he was cheating by tweeting. I was having a hard time competing with his new fling.
I had already said publicly what I’d said privately to George: that his daily deluge of insults-by-tweet against my boss—or, as he put it sometimes, “the people in the White House”—violated our marriage vows to “love, honor, and cherish” each other. Those vows, of course, do not mean we must agree about politics or policies or even the president. In our democracy, as in our marriage, George was free to disagree, even if it meant a complete 180 from his active support for Trump-Pence–My Wife–2016 and a whiplash change in character from privately brilliant to publicly bombastic.
“Whoop-de-do, George!” I said to him. “You are one of millions of people who don’t like the president. Congrats.”
The usual silence.
I continued: “But you are one of one whose wife is counselor to the president. You shouldn’t criticize me publicly. And when did you become so mean? That is so not you.”
George’s answers were always the same. Trump, Trump, Trump . . . The reflexive, obsessive, formulaic “but Trump” slur that permeated half the Congress and half the country was now dominating half the Conway couple.
On one side was my marriage and my husband. On the other was my job and my boss. George was mixing the two of them in a highly combustible manner. I was able to keep these things separate and in perspective. George should have, too, but it seemed the flood of reaction and attention he was receiving was magnetic and irresistible. And not just to George. There were the so-called Never Trumpers, roughly 5–7 percent of the actual Republican Party but 90+ percent of those “Republicans” on CNN and MSNBC (in fact, hating Trump seemed to be the only criterion you needed to be invited on one of those networks).
I DID GET some much-needed female support inside the White House, including from a colleague who happened to be the president’s daughter. Ivanka and I had a cordial relationship in the White House, though never as tight as we’d been during the 2016 campaign. Our work didn’t require daily contact, but we stepped in and stepped up together in the foxhole, sometimes as the only foxes in there. On occasion I’d come to her for big decisions regarding her father, and she’d consult with me about how to handle this or that. Ivanka offered empathy and an ear.
“I am in a family of Democrats,” she said, referring to at least some of the Kushners. “I get it.” I got somewhat emotional, not overly personal, and was truly grateful. In that moment, Ivanka was incredibly kind and supportive, reiterating that she knew how warmly her father and their entire family felt about me.
A week after that conversation, and based on my stated openness to the idea, Ivanka came into my office (which was next to hers) and handed me a Post-it note. It had the names of two local doctors who specialized in couples therapy. I noticed she had avoided putting that in a text or an email. I appreciated the information and her thoughtfulness and wanted to pursue it. After I showed George the names, he rejected one and said a half-hearted “okay” to the other while looking at his phone.
We never went.
He spent his time exactly how he wanted to. If it was important to him, he would have made it happen. Ivanka and I certainly had one thing in common now: Both Jared and George were often referred to as “husband of . . .”
Another Trump woman also spoke in my defense. I was in the Roosevelt Room talking with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Maria Bartiromo, who was about to interview President Trump on Fox Business. I was summoned to the back dining room, where the president was seated in his usual place with his back to the windows, a jar of Starbursts and a muted TV in front of him. I’d been in there countless times and for just as many reasons. I always tried to be prepared for whatever might come up. But this was one of a handful of times that President Trump would mention George to me at all and one of just three times that he would do so in a frustrated tone of voice.
As soon as I walked in, I immediately recognized the perturbed look on the president’s face—and the voice emanating from the box. It was Melania’s. The First Lady was on the phone.
“Can you believe this?” Trump said, referring to George’s recent eruptions. “This guy is nasty. He won’t stop. And it’s our Kellyanne. She’s my top person. She knows a lot, too! What are we going to do?”
Melania’s calm voice piped in immediately as my mouth closed and my eyes widened. Donald,” she said, “this is not her fault. And she is a big girl. Strong and confident.”
Melania wasn’t done. “We don’t control our husbands—and you don’t control us!”
Trump couldn’t argue with that. I didn’t ask for any of this. I felt awkward and embarrassed that the president of the United States and the First Lady had to spend even a minute on this and yet felt relieved and protected from what was becoming an armful of harmful.