On Monday, Kellyanne Conway's husband took to Twitter to criticize Donald Trump's morning tweets on his controversial travel ban. Considering Kellyanne's husband has never openly critiqued Trump on social media, there were a lot reactions to his disapproval of Trump's increasingly inconsistent rhetoric on the executive order. Now that Kellyanne is an official counselor to Trump, many wondered why Kellyanne's husband of 16 years would express his opinion so vocally. So, who is George Conway?
For those trying to keep up with Trump's back and forth on the travel ban, on Thursday morning he openly referred to the executive order as a "ban" and argued that his administration needs to be less "politically correct" when it goes before the Supreme Court to plead its case. This sentiment contradicts the Trump administration's previous claims that the travel ban actually isn't actually a ban, a claim it repeatedly touted back in January 2017 when the short-lived executive order was first enacted. It only makes sense that Kellyanne, like other administration officials, would be frustrated with Trump undermining their claims at every twist and tweet. Now that the case is headed to the Supreme Court, fears over Trump's inconsistency have reached a fever pitch.
The first thing to know about George is that he's less inclined to be in the public eye than Kellyanne. Based off the couple's Twitter accounts alone, the two are wildly different in the frequency in which they voice their opinions. With an exception of a flurry of tweets on Monday, the last time George tweeted was on July 3, 2015. In comparison, Kellyanne tweets at least everyday, if not multiple times a day. The stark difference in their social media personas also mimics their careers. While George achieved an esteemed yet quiet career as a lawyer after obtaining a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1987, Kellyanne became a political commentator in addition to advising Republican politicians, frequently appearing on major television outlets to express her views.
As for George's impressive law career, his most notable cases have reached the Supreme Court and have garnered national attention. In January 2010, George won a case on behalf of artist Christoph Büchel, who sued Boston's Museum of Contemporary Art in 2007 for changing his art installation and then showing it to several people without his permission. The United States Court of Appeals in Boston ultimately ruled in Büchel's favor thanks to George's counsel and the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990. In addition to this huge case, he was one of the lawyers who represented Paula Jones in her 1994 federal lawsuit against Bill Clinton for alleged sexual harassment. Ultimately the case was dismissed in 1998, but Jones appealed the decision. To avoid a trial in the midst of possible impeachment, Clinton settled out-of-court with Jones.
Given George's illustrious law career, in December 2016 Trump tapped him for the U.S. solicitor general position (a U.S. Solicitor general determines the legal position the United States will take in the Supreme Court), and then offered him a role as the Attorney General for the Department of Justice in March 2017. George ultimately turned Trump down on Friday.
According to the Washington Post, George said in a statement:
I am profoundly grateful to the President and to the Attorney General for selecting me to serve in the Department of Justice. I have reluctantly concluded, however, that, for me and my family, this is not the right time for me to leave the private sector and take on a new role in the federal government. Kellyanne and I continue to support the President and his Administration, and I look forward to doing so in whatever way I can from outside the government.
Although George pledged his intent to "support" the president following his decision to turn down the job, he tweeted his displeasure over Trump's insistence on tweeting about his controversial travel ban. Apparently George thinks Trump is doing more harm than good with his brash and inconsistent rhetoric.
George said in a tweet Monday morning:
In light of George's mostly behind-the-scenes persona, the tweet sparked a lot of reactions from the public. Some even wondered if George was publicly disavowing his allegiance from Trump.
Shortly after the tweet, however, George explained that he was still "very strongly" in support of Trump and the administration. George also cited his background in law as one of his reasons for speaking out on the matter.
George's involvement with Trump and the administration aside, it looks like he will continue to work at the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, a position he has held since 1994. George also has four children with Kellyanne, and he's also probably busy helping the children transition from their previous home in New Jersey to life in Washington, D.C. Although George has been more private in comparison to Kellyanne, it will be interesting to see if he becomes more vocal over the next four years. Who knows, maybe Conway's tweets on Monday are just beginning.