The best use of your reading time at the end of an uncharacteristically slow Trump-era news day is this WaPo profile of the most fascinating marriage in Washington. She’s a top advisor to the president; he’s a high-powered lawyer who craps on her boss regularly on Twitter when he’s not busy publishing lengthy defenses of Bob Mueller and the Russiagate probe. How do these two crazy kids make it work?
With lots of love, of course. Plus some treacherous almost-anonymous sniping at each other to Washington reporters. WaPo reporter Ben Terris:
Me: You told me you found [George’s tweets] disrespectful.
Kellyanne: It is disrespectful, it’s a violation of basic decency, certainly, if not marital vows . . . as “a person familiar with their relationship.”
Me: No, we’re on the record here. You can’t say after the fact “as someone familiar.”
Kellyanne: I told you everything about his tweets was off the record.
Me: No, that’s not true. That never happened.
Kellyanne: Well, people do see it this way. People do see it that way, I don’t say I do, but people see it that way.
If she was going to go (or try to go) off the record to grumble about George, she should have gone all the way with it: “Just say that he leaves the toilet seat up and attribute it to a source familiar with the Conways’ bathroom.”
In her defense, it *is* a little … maybe not “disrespectful” but selfish of her better half to be throwing tomatoes in public every day at the guy she works for. It only makes her work life harder, and needlessly so. Terris speculates that the Conways may be in cahoots here, playing a little game in which George badmouths Trump with Kellyanne’s quiet assent in order to preserve the family’s good standing in polite, heavily anti-Trump Washington society. Jared and Ivanka have watched their bridges back home in Manhattan be burned because they embraced POTUS’s politics too tightly. That probably won’t happen with the Conways in D.C., thanks to George. And it reminds me of the times Kellyanne herself tweeted slyly during the campaign in 2016 when Trump said or did something against her coaching. I always thought that was her way of signaling to her Washington friends that she wasn’t fully onboard the Trump train, expecting that he’d lose in November and she’d be back among them sooner rather than later. Maybe it’s George’s job now to broadcast skepticism on behalf of the couple.
But I don’t know. He seems pretty committed to his role, if so!
George immersed himself in the small fraternity of anti-Trump conservatives. He is now a man without a party: In early March of this year, George changed his affiliation from Republican to “unaffiliated.” He has, according to Politico, offered unsolicited advice to journalists who have written articles critical of the president. And recently, he has been spotted at a semi-secret group of Trump skeptics known as the Meeting of the Concerned, eviscerating his wife’s boss among fellow conservatives who would like to see Trump, and by extension Kellyanne, out of a job.
If he’s being honest, that would make George happy, too.
“If there’s an issue,” George said, “it’s because she’s in that job, for that man.”
Ooooookay. When you’re done with the profile, you’ll be left with two mysteries. One: What on earth turned George Conway against Trump so dramatically, especially with his wife at the president’s side? The piece opens with a memory of George in tears on election night shortly after Trump had clinched the win — tears of joy, that is. He was a Trump supporter. Now, somehow, it’s all gone to hell, notwithstanding his own family’s investment in Trump’s success. What happened? Was it the Comey firing? Love Trump or hate him, the one thing you can’t say about him after watching him campaign in 2016 is that you’re surprised by how he’s behaved as president. Conway’s a brilliant guy by all accounts *and* has known POTUS since before he got into politics. Was he “fooled” somehow two years ago about how a Trump presidency would go? How on earth could he have been?
Two: Why did Kellyanne agree to this profile? Previously, when the media’s thrown George’s tweets in her face, she’s reacted with angry indignation. Can’t fault her for not wanting the press poking around in her private life, notwithstanding Washington’s interest in how the Conways get along. Yet here she is not only cooperating with a WaPo story about the couple but griping about George behind his back to the reporter. Is Trump maybe annoyed with George’s criticism of him and taking it out on her somehow, and this is her way of showing him that the Conways really are a house divided when it comes to him? How do she and George benefit from this?