George Conway, Kellyanne Conway’s husband, is a wealthy New York lawyer who was involved in Paula Jones’ lawsuit against Bill Clinton and belongs to a conservative legal society. George T. Conway III has participated in other well-known lawsuits, including tobacco industry cases.
He raised eyebrows in 2017 when he started tweeting blisteringly negative comments about President Donald Trump, Conway’s boss. Kellyanne has not explained her husband’s deviation from the administration she still belongs to, and she once pushed back when CNN journalist Dana Bash brought it up on television. George Conway’s Twitter lashing out at Trump has only escalated into 2018. In December 2018, for example, he accused Trump of lying after his wife defended the president on television.
“We’re now going to talk about other people’s spouses and significant others just because they either work at the White House or CNN? Are we going to do that? You just went there,” Kellyanne said to Bash. The president’s son, Eric Trump, has criticized George Conway for putting his wife in a bad position.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Trump Once Considered George Conway for a Top Position but Conway Has Taken Repeated Swipes at Trump on Twitter
Donald Trump once considered George Conway to be U.S. solicitor general, but that job eventually went to someone else. Then, Politico reported that George Conway “has emerged as the front-runner to lead the civil division of the Department of Justice.” He didn’t get that post either, though.
Politico reported that position would be key in overseeing “the defense of the Trump administration in the courts in many legal battles,” including the president’s travel ban.
In 2017, George Conway tweeted for the first time in two years to criticize a tweet Trump sent out criticizing the Justice Department.
“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.,” Trump wrote.
George Conway later retweeted that message, adding, “These tweets may make some [people] feel better, but they certainly won’t help OSG [Office of Solicitor General] get 5 votes in SCOTUS [Supreme Court], which is what actually matters. Sad.”
In December 2018, after his wife stated on CNN that President Trump had not directed his former attorney Michael Cohen to break the law, George Conway again took to Twitter, this time writing, “Given that Trump has repeatedly lied about the Daniels and McDougal payments—and given that he lies about virtually everything else, to the point that his own former personal lawyer described him as a “f****ing liar”—why should we take his word over that of federal prosecutors?”
According to The Huffington Post, in six years on Twitter, George Conway tweeted about 500 times and “nearly half were written with the express purpose of castigating his wife’s boss, President Donald Trump,” the latter tweets coming mostly in recent times. Among Conway’s swipes at Trump: “a retweet in praise of conservative columnist Mona Charen, who had blasted Trump from the stage of the Conservative Political Action Conference,” reported HuffPo.
Eric Trump, the president’s son, trashed George Conway on Twitter, writing, “Of all the ugliness in politics, the utter disrespect George Conway shows toward his wife, her career, place of work, and everything she has fought SO hard to achieve, might top them all. @KellyannePolls is great person and frankly his actions are horrible.”
George Conway responding by retweeting someone else’s response to Eric Trump, which was “Wait. Did I miss something? Did George Conway pay money to have sex with a porn star right after his wife gave birth?”
George Conway was tweeting again, in a way that didn’t help Trump, after Trump and Rudy Giuliani revealed that Trump had reimbursed his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for money paid to Stormy Daniels after she alleged Trump had sex with her (he denies it). Both men stated that the payment was not a campaign finance issue because it was personal funds and they alleged that Trump gave Cohen the money as a general retainer fee, to which George Conway tweeted a link to campaign finance laws that seemed to argue loans or gifts are actually donations.
Kellyanne, the first woman to manage a major presidential campaign, helped engineer Trump’s electoral victory and was named counselor to the president. Kellyanne has been one of Trump’s highest-profile surrogates on TV and one of his most controversial, although she curtailed the frequency of her TV appearances. Her husband did not have any public role in Trump’s campaign.
Kellyanne is regarded as a conservative “gender expert,” who has been involved for years in Republican politics and polling, especially regarding trends involving women.
George Conway previously posted only random things on Twitter such as posts about a Malaysian airlines crash and Jamie-Lynn Sigler’s ex-husband.
2. George Conway, Who Has Four Children With Kellyanne, Argued a Case Before SCOTUS
George Conway is a prominent conservative lawyer.
According to CNN, Conway has only argued one case before the U.S. Supreme Court. CNN described Conway as a “corporate attorney out of New York.” National Review reported that “Conway has more relevant experience than did Obama’s initial SG pick. Any suggestion he’s unfit for the job is inaccurate and unfair.”
The Huffington Post reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions “interviewed” George Conway for the solicitor general job. However, Conway didn’t end up getting the job.
The successful case Conway argued? “Morrison v. Australia National Bank…one of the most significant securities law cases of the past ten years,” according to National Review.
The Conways have four children, said CNN. Kellyanne Conway has posted photos of George and their children on social media. Some photos show them at baseball games.
Kellyanne once asked her daughter, Claudia, to change out of a turquoise shirt on Memorial Day and into a blue one because “it wasn’t a shade available to Betsy Ross when she stayed up through the night sewing the damn flag,” according to The Las Vegas Review Journal, which described her as trying to help Trump improve his image with women.
CNN reported that George Conway is of Filipino heritage.
3. George Conway Was Part of a Secret Group of Lawyers Who Helped Paula Jones & Was Rumored to Be a Source for Matt Drudge
George Conway’s history in conservative legal circles goes back to the Clinton administration.
Bloomberg wrote of Kellyanne: “Her husband, George T. Conway III, a lawyer at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, was behind some of the most bitter lawsuits against Bill Clinton in the 1990s and stories that were promoted via the Drudge Report.”
One of those cases involved the sexual harassment case filed by Paula Jones against the president.
The New York Times said George Conway was “a New York lawyer educated at Yale” who shared a “low view of President Clinton. When the Jones case led to Ms. (Monica) Lewinsky, (another lawyer) and Mr. Conway searched for a new lawyer for Mrs. (Linda) Tripp.” The article was headlined, “Quietly, a Team of Lawyers Kept Paula Jones Case Alive.”
The Times added, “Mr. Conway wanted his role kept hidden as well, because his New York law firm, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, included influential Democrats like Bernard W. Nussbaum, a former White House counsel. Mr. Conway’s name does not appear on any billing records.”
The Observer claimed that Bill Clinton’s lawyer, Bob Bennett “was interested in evidence of possible collusion between the Jones lawyers and the Whitewater independent counsel, Kenneth Starr, stretching back well before the current White House crisis. After all, Mr. Starr and Mr. Conway have represented Philip Morris Companies in tobacco litigation at the same time, and both simultaneously worked on briefs for Ms. Jones arguing against Presidential immunity from a civil lawsuit such as hers.”
The Observer also claimed that George Conway was Matt Drudge’s source for a Jones’ claim about curvature in the president’s anatomy, but the site also quoted Drudge as denying he had ever met Conway. There is no evidence that Conway was in fact a Drudge source.
In an email to AmericanPolitics, Conway also denied any connections to Richard Mellon Scaife, the billionaire who financed some conservative efforts to expose Clinton’s problems, writing, “I have never met Mr. Scaife. I have never met any member of his family. I have never represented Mr. Scaife or his holdings. I have no connections whatsoever with Mr. Scaife, his holdings or his family.”
In an interview with reporters from the site, Conway said it was “ridiculous” to tie him to Drudge.
AmericanPolitics claimed Conway’s income from the law firm where he works in New York is at least $1 million a year. The Observer called Conway a “million-dollar-a-year partner.”
4. George Conway Has Worked for a Major Tobacco Company on a Lawsuit & Belonged to the Federalist Society
Conway’s New York law firm bio says he “has been a partner in the Litigation Department of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz since January 1994. He joined the firm in September 1988.”
The law firm describes his litigation experience as including “a variety of high-profile matters spanning many areas of law in federal and state courts throughout the country. He has extensive experience in securities litigation, mergers and acquisitions litigation, contract litigation, antitrust litigation, and other litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels.”
One of those high-profile suits involved representing tobacco company Philip Morris. “Mr. Conway played a substantial role in prosecuting one of the most prominent defamation cases in recent memory (Philip Morris v. American Broadcasting Cos.),” said the law firm.
The New York Times said of that suit’s result, “In an extraordinary act of contrition, ABC News publicly apologized last night for asserting in a news program that two giant tobacco companies add extra nicotine to their cigarettes.” That apology was criticized by anti-smoking advocates, with The Times quoting one professor as saying, “Philip Morris has bullied a major television network into apologizing for what was essentially a true story.”
George Conway’s law firm says he also “represented the National Football League in trademark and antitrust litigation against the Dallas Cowboys” and “won an important appeal under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 on behalf of the Swiss installation artist Christoph Büchel in the artist’s highly publicized dispute with the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.”
The Federalist Society, a group of conservative lawyers, has an experts bio page devoted to George Conway on its site.
In the interview with the AmericanPolitics site, George Conway said, “I’m a member of the Federalist Society, but I mean . . but what’s that got to do with anything?”
Kellyanne Conway is also a lawyer.
5. George Is a Graduate of Yale Law School Who Has Worked Against Felons Having a Right to Vote
George Conway is a graduate of two Ivy League institutions. Conway “is a graduate of Harvard College, where in 1984 he received an A.B. magna cum laude in Biochemical Sciences,” says his bio. “He received his JD in 1987 from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal.”
In 1987 and 1988, “he served as a law clerk to Circuit Judge Ralph K. Winter, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.”
Winter, a former Yale Law School professor, was nominated to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan.
Bloomberg notes that George Conway’s “law firm biography lists only one Supreme Court case he has argued — a 2010 dispute involving the overseas reach of federal securities law.” It would be unusual for a Solicitor General to have such little Supreme Court experience.
OpenSecrets.org says that George Conway is a frequent donor to Republican candidates, including Rudy Giuliani, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich, and The New Jersey Republican State Committee. In 2015, George donated money to Ted Cruz in the Republican primary for president.
Before joining the president’s campaign and later the White House, Kellyanne was the CEO and president of the polling company, inc./WomanTrend, which is “a privately-held, woman-owned corporation founded in 1995.