Inside George and Kellyanne Conway’s marriage

When it comes to political odd couples, George and Kellyanne Conway might not be the strangest example out there — after all, as The New York Times reminds us, Clinton strategist James Carville and Bush/Cheney consultant Mary Matalin were on opposite ends of the great Red/Blue divide. The Conways, however, are notable in that they seem to be one couple who don’t mind airing their marital spats in public, something they’ve become so notorious for they’ve even been the subject of an SNL sketch, “A Conway Marriage Story.”

The Conways’ main point of contention, rather than being how to hang the toilet paper or whose turn it is to take out the garbage, seems to be how they feel about the nation’s current president. George, though a staunch Republican, is also a diehard anti-Trumpist. In fact, he’s gone so far as to co-found the Lincoln Project, a super-PAC working to ensure Donald Trump is not re-elected (via Washingtonian). Kellyanne, portrayed as Kellywise the Dancing Clown in yet another SNL sketch, prefers to stand by the POTUS and defend whatever comes out of his mouth.

How George and Kellyanne Conway got together

George Conway was one of the nation’s top conservative lawyers in the 1990s and played a prominent role in uncovering the sex scandals that rocked (but did not end, despite George’s best efforts) the Clinton presidency. Kellyanne Fitzpatrick was no shrinking violet herself -– The Washington Post describes her as “a publicity-prone Beltway pollster,” and it was during one of her many on-camera appearances that George first took notice of this “blond Republican It Girl.” He asked her out, they hit it off, and soon wealthy courtship rituals –- trips to the Hamptons, tickets to baseball playoff games –- were underway. Kellyanne, gushed to a friend, “I find that his near-constant presence doesn’t annoy me.”

Well, amour for the ages or not, their liaison culminated in what literary agent Lucianne Goldberg called “the biggest, fanciest wedding I’ve ever been to in my entire life,” one at which all members of Hilary Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy” were present. (Clinton herself was not invited.)

George Conway was responsible (inadvertently) for Kellyanne meeting Donald Trump

After the wedding, the lovebirds settled down to a life of domestic bliss, raising their four children and moving to a house in the suburbs complete with white picket fence. JK — about the picket fence, that is. They do have four kids, but they preferred a more urban lifestyle. This preference ultimately led them to buying a condo in Manhattan at — where else? — Trump World Tower. 

When they arrived at their new residence, the condo board was apparently engaged in plotting revolution –- some members were contemplating removing the Trump name from the building. George argued against this action so persuasively that the name stayed, and he also earned a thank-you call and an invite to join the condo board from the big cheese himself (Donald, not Chuck E.). While George turned down this honor as he felt he just didn’t have the time, Kellyanne gladly accepted in his place. As George said in a later interview, “My laziness led her to meet Donald Trump,” (via The Washington Post).

George and Kellyanne Conway have battled on Twitter

When Donald Trump ran for president in 2016, Kellyanne was right by his side, managing his campaign. And once he was sworn in as the 45th POTUS, she took her place in the new administration as White House counselor. At first, George was very supportive, both of his wife’s career and of her boss. But Washingtonian records that his first anti-Trump tweet appeared in June of 2017. Things accelerated from there, and by 2019, a full-fledged social media war was raging. 

George regularly attacked Trump’s every word and action, and not only the president’s supporters, but the president himself, counterattacked the man they call “Mr. Kellyanne Conway,” “Loser,” and “Moonface.” Kellyanne did nothing to defend her husband, instead telling reporters that George “gets his power through me,” and sharing with Wolf Blitzer that she felt her husband should be ashamed of himself for his ongoing anti-Trump campaign.

Is the Conway marriage on the rocks?

So, does this mean that the Conways are headed for divorce court, with one Donald J. Trump to be named as third party? Family therapist Emily Cook thinks it’s possible the couple may have “learn[ed] how to disagree, even really strongly, and still maintain connection,” and that they may have a “strong, shared vision of the future, which can sustain [them] through conflict in the present” (via Washingtonian)  Even so, according to a recent aricle from The New York Times article, the couple’s spats seem to be growing worse.

Rick Wilson, a fellow Lincoln Project founder, describes the Conway marriage maneuvers this way: “Those who think this is a 14-dimensional chess game are mistaken … [George has] established his bona fides as someone who opposes Donald Trump, and she’s going to be for Donald Trump until the last dog dies.” Journalist Sally Quinn describes a meeting between herself and a few fellow journalists with Kellyanne at a 2019 party where Quinn made the mistake of bringing up the subject of George (who was not present at the party). As Quinn recalled of Kellyanne, “She just took off on all three of us … she really went crazy.” Perhaps the ultimate insider knowledge might come from the Conways’ 15-year-old daughter Claudia, who responded to one of her father’s numerous tweets by saying “sorry your marriage failed” (via The Sun).

George and Kellyanne Conway take a step back to focus on family

On the evening before the 2020 Republican National Convention kicked off, Kellyanne tweeted a link to a statement announcing she’d be stepping down from her Trump administration post in order to devote more time to her family. Reportedly, it has to do with the Conway kids “doing school from home,” something Kellyanne says “requires a level of attention and vigilance that is as unusual as these times.” George also tweeted his decision to step back from the Lincoln Project, although he says he will “continue to support the Lincoln Project and its mission. Passionately.”

As to the inside story behind the Conway couple’s sudden decision to step out of the limelight, a trending hashtag might offer insight: #ClaudiaConwayWon. Left-leaning daughter Claudia, who’d tweeted her plans to “tak[e] a mental health break from social media” shortly before mom and dad dropped their bombshells, spoke of seeking emancipation from her parents due to “years of childhood trauma and abuse.” She made this announcement shortly after tweeting “i’m devasted that my mother is actually speaking at the RNC. like DEVASTATED beyond compare.” While comments on all three Conways’ tweets have covered the spectrum from blame mom to blame dad to blame Claudia, it really doesn’t matter who’s at fault. Politics aside, family conflict happens to everyone, and we wish the Conways well in their quest to heal any rifts.

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