President Donald Trump has been on one of his regular Twitter sprees in recent days, retweeting many messages of support and aggressively venting his displeasure at various political developments and opponents.
But what has been unusual is one of his targets: lawyer and frequent critic George Conway, the husband of his counselor, Kellyanne Conway, whom Trump branded a “stone cold LOSER” and the “husband from hell” after George said he believed Trump was mentally unstable.
George has regularly publicly criticized his wife’s boss — on social media and in newspaper columns. But Trump has not responded, an unusual reticence that Kellyanne told Politico was a sign of deference to her.
That all changed in recent days.
Their feud kicked off last weekend after George wrote on Twitter that Trump’s “condition is getting worse” amid a presidential tweet storm that covered everything from the Russia investigation to the late Sen. John McCain and Saturday Night Live.
George continued Monday, sharing the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and later pages showing the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.
“Don’t assume that the things he says and does are part of a rational plan or strategy, because they seldom are,” George tweeted. “Consider them as a product of his pathologies, and they make perfect sense.”
The president, 72, did not take kindly to the suggestion that his mental health was on the decline, and on Tuesday retweeted a jab at Conway written by his 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale.
“We all know that @realDonaldTrump turned down Mr. Kellyanne Conway for a job he desperately wanted,” Parscale wrote. “He barely worked @TheJusticeDept and was either fired/quit, didn’t want the scrutiny? Now he hurts his wife because he is jealous of her success. POTUS doesn’t even know him!”
Trump added his own insult to the tweet: “A total loser!”
In response, George, 55, again shared the criteria for diagnosing narcissistic personality disorder, writing, “Tell us @realDonaldTrump-which of these diagnostic criteria do you not satisfy? Once someone understands narcissistic personality disorder, they understand you-and why you’re unfit and incompetent for the esteemed office you temporarily hold.”
Trump then fired back with his own tweet, claiming George was jealous of his wife’s accomplishments and was tweeting in anger over not receiving a job from the former Apprentice host.
“George Conway, often referred to as Mr. Kellyanne Conway by those who know him, is VERY jealous of his wife’s success & angry that I, with her help, didn’t give him the job he so desperately wanted. I barely know him but just take a look, a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!” Trump wrote.
This was the article that first got me to really understand you, @realDonaldTrump. Once someone understands narcissistic personality disorder, they understand you—and why you’re unfit and incompetent for the esteemed office you temporarily hold.https://t.co/5RPQL9xntA
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) March 19, 2019
George Conway, often referred to as Mr. Kellyanne Conway by those who know him, is VERY jealous of his wife’s success & angry that I, with her help, didn’t give him the job he so desperately wanted. I barely know him but just take a look, a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2019
The president later told reporters he believes George is a “whack job” who is doing a “tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife.”
In an interview with the Washington Post, George explained his decision to air his grievances over Twitter. He said he had to get his feelings into the world or risk taking them home with him.
“It’s so maddening to watch,” he said. “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 [Kellyanne] about it.”
According to the Post, citing anonymous aides, “Trump has wanted to attack George Conway on Twitter before but has been talked out of it by aides, who argued it would embolden [George] and cause unnecessary drama.”
George also disputed Pascale’s claim that he was rejected from a job in the Justice Department — instead, George said, it was he who turned down an offer from Trump. George also said he and Trump had met several times over the years, despite what the president said.
Kellyanne has previously dismissed curiosity about her husband’s anti-Trump feelings. But, in an August profile in the Post, she said: “I feel there’s a part of him that thinks I chose Donald Trump over him. Which is ridiculous. One is my work and one is my marriage.”
Speaking with Politico this week, she defended her boss’ attacks on her husband, casting them as counter-punching — a favorite talking point for Trump supporters.
“He left it alone for months out of respect for me. But you think he shouldn’t respond when somebody, a non-medical professional accuses him of having a mental disorder?” she said. “You think he should just take that sitting down?”