I say this only half-jokingly: Are the Conways going to live-tweet their divorce?
The least they can do for those of us watching this spectacle play out minute by minute online is livestream tonight’s family dinner on Facebook.
I’m seeing a massive shift among the chatterati this afternoon towards the theory that this is all kabuki by the Conways, mainly I think because the alternative is just too awkward and painful to contemplate.
President Trump on George Conway: "I don't know him. He's a whack job. There's no question about it. But I really don't know him. I think he's doing a tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife. Kellyanne is a wonderful woman and I call him Mr. Kellyanne." https://t.co/uhWeN9Z06f pic.twitter.com/wwtY8gSjSB
— The Hill (@thehill) March 20, 2019
True enough about doing Mrs. Conway a disservice. Surely George realizes that he’s placed his wife in a situation where, if only out of family loyalty, she’ll be forced to defend her husband rather than her boss, the pres—-
Wait, what’s that? Kellyanne is siding with Trump?
“He left it alone for months out of respect for me,” Conway, a senior Trump aide, told POLITICO in a brief telephone interview. “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?”
“Don’t play psychiatrist any more than George should be,” she added. “You’re not a psychiatrist and he’s not, respectfully.”…
“The president is obviously defending me,” she said. “He could privately say to me, ‘Honey you’re a distraction. We love you. You’ll always be a part of the family but go be with your kids. They need you. Go make a million dollars an hour. Go do that honey.’ It’s the opposite.”
So that’s a “no” on Trump having a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, then?
We’ll pencil her in as a “maybe.”
A political advisor siding with her boss over her spouse is the most Washington thing ever unless this really is a coordinated effort by the Conways, with Kellyanne tacitly approving of George’s tweets. One reason she might do that is because she shares his opinions about POTUS and wants them ventilated — except that she has plenty of reporter friends in Washington whom she could leak to if all she wants to do is badmouth Trump. There’s no need to have George’s fingerprints on this. Another possibility is this theory from Dan Foster, which I’ve heard for months:
Purely *hypothetically* if you’re a prominent Beltway couple on the right, it would make a lot of sense to split allegiance right? The reputational equivalent of spousal privilege. Whichever way history shakes out, the one could say they were converted to virtue by the other.
— Daniel Foster (@DanFosterType) March 20, 2019
The Conways are playing both sides. Their social set, official Washington, despises Trump. Most of the rest of the GOP is blindly loyal to him. If they want to remain in the good graces of both — the smart thing to do considering that the post-Trump direction of the party is uncertain — they have no choice but to pander to both. That means Kellyanne defending Trump against all critics, including her own husband, and George giving Trump both barrels in a very public way. The problem with that hypothesis, though, is that it doesn’t explain why George’s criticism has become more frequent and more nasty. You can signal your family’s independence from the president without accusing him of being mental, right?
Plus, after this, there should be no need for George to continue tweeting if all he wanted to do was show official Washington in a splashy way that he’s an ardent anti-Trumper. That’s been clear enough for months but it’s *really* clear now that he’s the president’s nemesis du jour. If this was all just kabuki to protect the Conways’ social standing, George can declare “mission accomplished” and retire from Twitter. (Mostly. Maybe an occasional shot at Trump now and then to remind people that he’s still an enemy.) If he doesn’t do that and continues to bombard Trump with criticism, what should we make of the “it’s all an act” theory?
My theory, because we’re all dead and in hell and this is today’s entertainment: It’s all real and Trump and George will eventually have a duel on the White House lawn carried live on pay-per-view.