- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2019

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway stuck up for President Trump Wednesday in his bizarre feud with her husband, lawyer George Conway, whom the president called a “whack job.”

After days of the president and her husband intensifying their war of words on Twitter, Ms. Conway said the president is “a counterpuncher” who should be free to respond when someone accuses him of having a mental illness.

“He [Mr. Trump] left it alone for months out of respect for me,” Ms. Conway 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?”

For months, Mr. Conway has been criticizing his wife’s boss publicly in increasingly harsh terms. It culminated last weekend with Mr. Conway retweeting a Rolling Stone article speculating that the president suffers from “pathological narcissism.”

“Once someone understands narcissistic personality disorder, they understand you — and why you’re unfit and incompetent for the esteemed office you temporarily hold,” Mr. Conway tweeted at the president.

Up until then, Mr. Trump had limited his comebacks to calling his tormentor “Mr. Kellyanne Conway.” But this week, he called Mr. Conway “A total loser!” on Twitter, and Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said Mr. Conway is “jealous” of his wife’s success.

The president took the public spectacle a step further Wednesday, telling reporters that Mr. Conway is “doing a tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife.”

“I don’t know him. He’s a whack job, no question about it,” the president said.

He also called Mr. Conway the “husband from hell.”

Mr. Conway retorted Wednesday morning, tweeting “You seem determined to prove my point. Good for you!”

Ms. Conway, who has stayed out of the fray for the most part, said the president “is obviously defending me.”

“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,’” she said. “It’s the opposite.”

The president and his campaign manager have accused Mr. Conway of being frustrated and jealous that he didn’t get a job at the Justice Department under Mr. Trump.

Mr. Conway says he took himself out of the running for a post at Justice, given the president’s frequent clashes with top officials in the department over special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and allegations of anti-Trump bias in the agency.

Mr. Conway told The Washington Post that he criticizes the president on social media to get it off his chest, so he doesn’t need to argue with his wife about Mr. Trump.

As the only woman to manage a winning presidential campaign, Ms. Conway said her effectiveness as Mr. Trump’s counselor hasn’t been affected by her boss and her husband warring publicly.

“Why would it affect my job? Hasn’t everybody tried to push me out already and here I am, stronger than ever,” she told Politico. “You’re looking at it the wrong way.”

“[Tuesday] George spent the day tweeting about the president. I spent my day doing two one-hour briefings with press and intergovernmental affairs people, agency people from all across the country and then over an hour briefing that I led in the Oval Office with the president and first lady in the cabinet on opioids at one year, so this is what I do here. I think it probably looks differently if everybody is turning into ‘Gossip Girl,’” she said.

⦁ Gabriella Muñoz and Bailey Vogt contributed to this report.

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