Kellyanne Conway Writes in Book of Husband 'Cheating by Tweeting' and Ivanka Trump Suggesting Couples Therapy

“I was having a hard time competing with his new fling,” Conway writes in an excerpt of her memoir Here’s the Deal of her husband’s habit of criticizing President Trump on Twitter

President-elect Donald Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, center, accompanied by her husband, George, speaks with members of the media as they arrive for a dinner at Union Station in Washington, the day before Trump's inauguration Trump Inauguration, Washington, USA - 19 Jan 2017
Kellyanne Conway (left), George Conway. Photo: Matt Rourke/AP/Shutterstock

Kellyanne Conway was Donald Trump's final campaign manager in the 2016 election and became the first woman to run a winning presidential campaign when he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton to take the White House. Conway, 55, later served as senior counselor to the president in the Trump administration from 2017 to 2020.

A steadfast and high-profile advocate of the president, Conway regularly appeared on cable news and other public forums on behalf of her boss.

While she served as one of Trump's top surrogates, her husband became a relentless critic of the president and his policies. George Conway, 58, often expressed his disdain for Trump on Twitter and in newspaper op-eds, eventually endorsing his opponent, now President Joe Biden, in the 2020 presidential race.

"Don't assume that the things he says and does are part of a rational plan or strategy, because they seldom are," George wrote of the former president in one 2019 tweet that prompted a response from Trump. "Consider them as a product of his pathologies, and they make perfect sense."

Republican president-elect Donald Trump along with his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway acknowledge the crowd during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States.
Mark Wilson/Getty

"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," Trump wrote on Twitter in 2019. "I barely know him."

Kellyanne preferred not to publicly wade into the feud between her husband and the president. In a 2019 interview, she swatted away a question about it on CNN.

"It's fascinating to me that CNN would go there," she said, "but it's very good for the whole world to have just witnessed that it's now fair game how people's spouses and significant others may differ with them."

Now, in the former White House aide and campaign manager's new book, Here's the Deal: A Memoir, Conway writes about the toll her husband's habit of criticizing her boss on Twitter took on their marriage. In two exclusive excerpts from the book, which goes on sale Tuesday, she offers insight into the ordeal of being in the middle of public animosity between two men in her life, her husband and the president. She also shares anecdotes about finding support from other women working in the White House.

Here's The Deal, Kellyanne Conway's Memoir
Courtesy of Threshold Books

HEADING INTO THE school year in the fall of 2018, all four Conway children were thriving. They were with me full-time in D.C. My mom had moved in with us to help with my Core Four. George was spending chunks of time in New York at the firm, where he voluntarily went from partner to an of-counsel role, spending his nights alone at our house in Alpine, New Jersey, 240 miles away from D.C. The numbers don't lie. During this time, the frequency and ferocity of his tweets accelerated. Clearly he was cheating by tweeting. I was having a hard time competing with his new fling.

I had already said publicly what I'd said privately to George: that his daily deluge of insults-by-tweet against my boss—or, as he put it sometimes, "the people in the White House"—violated our marriage vows to "love, honor, and cherish" each other. Those vows, of course, do not mean we must agree about politics or policies or even the president. In our democracy, as in our marriage, George was free to disagree, even if it meant a complete 180 from his active support for Trump-Pence–My Wife–2016 and a whiplash change in character from privately brilliant to publicly bombastic.

"Whoop-de-do, George!" I said to him. "You are one of millions of people who don't like the president. Congrats."

The usual silence.

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, center, and her husband George Conway, right, greet guests on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington during a Halloween event welcoming children from the Washington area and children of military families to trick-or-treat, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

I continued: "But you are one of one whose wife is counselor to the president. You shouldn't criticize me publicly. And when did you become so mean? That is so not you."

George's answers were always the same. Trump, Trump, Trump . . . The reflexive, obsessive, formulaic "but Trump" slur that permeated half the Congress and half the country was now dominating half the Conway couple.

On one side was my marriage and my husband. On the other was my job and my boss. George was mixing the two of them in a highly combustible manner. I was able to keep these things separate and in perspective. George should have, too, but it seemed the flood of reaction and attention he was receiving was magnetic and irresistible. And not just to George. There were the so-called Never Trumpers, roughly 5–7 percent of the actual Republican Party but 90+ percent of those "Republicans" on CNN and MSNBC (in fact, hating Trump seemed to be the only criterion you needed to be invited on one of those networks).

US President Donald Trump walks past his daughter Ivanka Trump (R) and Kellyanne Conway (L), White House Counselor, during an event in honor of Military Mothers and Spouses in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, May 9, 2018.

I DID GET some much-needed female support inside the White House, including from a colleague who happened to be the president's daughter. Ivanka and I had a cordial relationship in the White House, though never as tight as we'd been during the 2016 campaign. Our work didn't require daily contact, but we stepped in and stepped up together in the foxhole, sometimes as the only foxes in there. On occasion I'd come to her for big decisions regarding her father, and she'd consult with me about how to handle this or that. Ivanka offered empathy and an ear.

"I am in a family of Democrats," she said, referring to at least some of the Kushners. "I get it." I got somewhat emotional, not overly personal, and was truly grateful. In that moment, Ivanka was incredibly kind and supportive, reiterating that she knew how warmly her father and their entire family felt about me.

A week after that conversation, and based on my stated openness to the idea, Ivanka came into my office (which was next to hers) and handed me a Post-it note. It had the names of two local doctors who specialized in couples therapy. I noticed she had avoided putting that in a text or an email. I appreciated the information and her thoughtfulness and wanted to pursue it. After I showed George the names, he rejected one and said a half-hearted "okay" to the other while looking at his phone.

We never went.

He spent his time exactly how he wanted to. If it was important to him, he would have made it happen. Ivanka and I certainly had one thing in common now: Both Jared and George were often referred to as "husband of . . ."

Ivanka Trump (L), Adviser and daughter of President Donald Trump, and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway (R) attend an event highlighting the opioid crisis in the U.S. October 26, 2017 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump plans to authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to declare a nationwide public health emergency in an effort to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths across the nation.
Alex Wong/Getty

Another Trump woman also spoke in my defense. I was in the Roosevelt Room talking with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Maria Bartiromo, who was about to interview President Trump on Fox Business. I was summoned to the back dining room, where the president was seated in his usual place with his back to the windows, a jar of Starbursts and a muted TV in front of him. I'd been in there countless times and for just as many reasons. I always tried to be prepared for whatever might come up. But this was one of a handful of times that President Trump would mention George to me at all and one of just three times that he would do so in a frustrated tone of voice.

As soon as I walked in, I immediately recognized the perturbed look on the president's face—and the voice emanating from the box. It was Melania's. The First Lady was on the phone.

"Can you believe this?" Trump said, referring to George's recent eruptions. "This guy is nasty. He won't stop. And it's our Kellyanne. She's my top person. She knows a lot, too! What are we going to do?"

Melania's calm voice piped in immediately as my mouth closed and my eyes widened. Donald," she said, "this is not her fault. And she is a big girl. Strong and confident."

Melania wasn't done. "We don't control our husbands—and you don't control us!"

Trump couldn't argue with that. I didn't ask for any of this. I felt awkward and embarrassed that the president of the United States and the First Lady had to spend even a minute on this and yet felt relieved and protected from what was becoming an armful of harmful.

From HERE'S THE DEAL by Kellyanne Conway. Copyright © 2022 by Kellyanne Conway. Reprinted by permission of Threshold Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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