On Monday — and then again Tuesday morning, Eric Trump, the middle son of the President of the United States, weighed in on an issue that has roiled official Washington: The marriage between White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway and prominent Trump critic George Conway.
“Of all the ugliness in politics, the utter disrespect George Conway shows toward his wife, her career, place of work, and everything she has fought SO hard to achieve, might top them all,” tweeted Eric on Monday night. “@KellyannePolls is great person and frankly his actions are horrible.”
Then, just in case anyone missed it — and they didn’t — Eric Trump retweeted his own tweet on Tuesday morning.
Eric Trump is an infrequent tweeter — unlike his far more prolific father — so it’s relatively easy to trace the roots of this particular tweet. And they go like this:
1) On Monday morning, Donald Trump tweets this: “‘I will never testify against Trump.’ This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!'”
2) Conway, George, that is, retweets Trump’s tweets and adds this: “File under ’18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1512′.” That’s a link to the portion of the US Code that deals with witness tampering in a federal investigation — a clear suggestion by Conway, who is a lawyer, that the President of the United States was doing just that in his tweet praising Stone for publicly refusing to testify against him.
3) Eric Trump tweets.
This latest back-and-forth — George Conway spent much of the rest of his Tuesday retweeting people taking at times quite personal shots at Eric and Donald Trump — once again shines a very bright light on just what the hell is going on between Kellyanne and George Conway.
Earlier this month, President Trump himself weighed in — referring to George as “Mr. Kellyanne Conway” following an op-ed that George Conway wrote suggesting Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general was unconstitutional. “He’s just trying to get publicity for himself,” added Trump of Conway.
And Kellyanne Conway herself has done little to quiet the questions. In a masterful profile of the Conways and their marriage by The Washington Post’s Ben Terris, Kellyanne had two WOW quotes about her marriage and Donald Trump.
First, this one about George: “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.”
Then this one about how she views her husband’s criticism of his wife’s boss: “I think it’s disrespectful. I think it disrespects his wife.”
There is an argument to be made — and, trust me, people on Twitter have made it very strongly to me — that none of this matters. That whatever makes the Conway marriage tick is their business and has zero to do with politics.
I get that. Kind of. But here’s the reality: Kellyanne Conway is one of Donald Trump’s longest-serving and most trusted advisers. She is, without question, one of the most influential people in the White House — and a survivor of Trump’s mercurial whims as well. Given that prominent position, her husband’s critiques of the President — and how Conway treats and reacts to them — is of considerable interest.
Put the shoe on the other foot. Imagine if, early in the Obama presidency, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s wife was on Twitter saying things like, “This Obama economic stimulus plan won’t work. And, worst of all, Obama knows it!”
We’d cover that! And we should. Because when a person very close to the most powerful person in the country and the person they are, theoretically, closest to in the world are publicly disagreeing, it’s worth taking note of.
The Conway marriage is well beyond the “hey look, they don’t agree” phase. George Conway is alleging that Donald Trump has committed an illegal act on at least one occasion. The President of the United States and now one of his sons have attacked George Conway for his criticism.
The Trump White House has always resembled a soap opera. But never more so than in moments like these.