The husband of Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway has some advice of his own for the president: Stop tweeting about your travel ban if you want it to have a chance of passing muster with the Supreme Court.
George T. Conway III, a conservative lawyer who until last week was expected to take a prominent position in the Trump administration, was reacting to a barrage of comments Trump made on Twitter Monday morning, in which he criticized his own Justice Department for replacing his original travel ban—which was roundly blocked by federal judges—with a “watered down,” but potentially more legal, version.
In a tweet responding to Trump’s outburst, Conway wrote:
The tweet is Conway’s first since 2015 and comes just days after he announced that he no longer wanted to be nominated to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Division—a key administration job that would have put him in charge of defending the federal government in court against all kinds of legal challenges. (The work of defending the travel ban in front of the Supreme Court falls to the Office of the Solicitor General.)
When Conway, who is a partner at the firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, withdrew his name from consideration on Friday, he cited family reasons, saying that while he and Kellyanne continued to support the president, he had “reluctantly concluded” that it was not the right time for him to “leave the private sector and take on a new role in the federal government.”
The obvious question at the time was whether this was a sincere explanation for Conway’s decision, or whether he had just realized he didn’t want to work for a client who has demonstrated a tendency to make life harder for the government’s lawyers.
In an email, Conway confirmed that he wrote Monday’s tweet but declined to elaborate on his views in an interview. His wife, who appeared on the Today Show on Monday to criticize the media’s “obsession” with Trump’s tweets, has so far not favorited it.
UPDATE, 1:35pm: Conway has followed up with some more tweets, clarifying that he continues to “VERY, VERY STRONGLY” support Trump, his executive order, and Kellyanne. He added that he has spoken to lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office and to political appointees in the Justice Department who agree with him that “tweets on legal matters” undermine Trump’s agenda.