By Steve Holland and Alison Frankel
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump refused to row back on his feud with White House aide Kellyanne Conway’s spouse on Wednesday, calling George Conway a “husband from hell” and prompting Conway to renew his accusation that Trump was mentally unfit for his office.
“The president seems determined to prove the point I’ve been making,” Conway told Reuters in response to the president’s latest Twitter broadside.
Of all the brawls Trump has waded into, his back-and-forth with Conway, a lawyer who specializes in litigation, has been one of the more eyebrow-raising in Washington.
Trump relied heavily on Kellyanne Conway, a longtime Republican pollster and strategist, to help steer his presidential campaign to victory in 2016. She is a trusted member of his White House inner circle.
In a tweet, Trump wrote that George Conway was upset that he did not get a job in the Trump administration.
But the Washington Post quoted Conway – who is with New York-based law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz – as saying he turned down an offer to head the Justice Department’s Civil Division.
In a morning tweet, Trump wrote, “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!”
Asked about George Conway by reporters on the White House South Lawn on Wednesday, Trump used colorful language.
“I don’t know him. He’s a whack job. There’s no question about it. I think he’s doing a tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife,” he said.
Trump has been expressing irritation with Conway since the lawyer’s recent suggestion the president was suffering from a mental condition such as narcissistic personality disorder and was unfit to serve as president.
Conway suggested the diagnosis in response to a torrent of tweets unleashed by Trump last weekend laying bare his grievances with, among other topics, Fox News Channel’s weekend anchors and the late Senator John McCain.
Conway on Wednesday posted a brief response on Twitter commenting on Trump’s latest tirade: “You. Are. Nuts.”
Kellyanne Conway sided with Trump over her husband, telling Politico: “He (Trump) 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? You think he should just take that sitting down?”
In a brief telephone interview with Reuters, George Conway dismissed any suggestion that he and his wife had a book or movie deal about their situation
“Zero. Zilch. The suggestion is absurd,” he said.
He also said he was not fearful about his personal safety as a result of his tiff with Trump. “Most of the unsolicited emails I’ve gotten have been positive,” he said.
Conway declined to comment on the fight’s impact on his career and refused to say anything at all about his marriage.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Alison Frankel; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Rosalba O’Brien)