On June 5, 2017, Kellyanne Conway was in the East Room of the White House when Sean Spicer bounded toward her.
Did you know about this? Spicer asked. I have held his phone out. Twitter was open. On the screen was a tweet written by her husband, George.
“That’s not possible,” Conway said, she recalls in her memoir “Here’s The Deal” (Threshold Editions), out today. “George doesn’t Tweet.”
Within seconds, Conway realized that not only did George indeed tweet, he had taken a swipe at her boss, President Donald Trump, for tweets that would complicate matters for the Office of the Solicitor General, which was trying to defend his travel ban on certain Muslim countries.
“These tweets may make some ppl feel better, but they certainly won’t help OSG get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad,” George wrote.
As Conway tried calling and texting George to no avail, questions started swirling in her head: Why had George done that? Why hadn’t he mentioned it to her beforehand? “And,” she writes, “was this tweet really posted by my Trump-loving, MAGA-cap-wearing husband, George Conway?”
The couple, who married in 1998 and had four children: twins Claudia and George IV, Charlotte, and Vanessa, had always had a strong relationship, she believed. Her husband de ella George, an attorney and conservative political activist, was usually quiet and reserved, she writes.
But “for the first time since George and I had gotten serious, I was looking at the possibility that the man who had always had my back might one day stab me in it,” she writes.
Conway, who became the first woman in American politics to run a successful presidential campaign when Trump won in 2016 and was later appointed Senior Counselor to the President, writes unflinchingly of marriage, motherhood and having a front-row seat to one of the most colorful administrations in US history.
After his first tweet damning Trump in 2017, George’s following posts were mostly innocuous. Then, in the spring of 2018, George and Conway were invited to dinner at the home of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, with whom she had a tense relationship.
“Despite the regular practice of Jared ignoring me or icing me out,” Conway thought the dinner invitation “could only be a positive one.”
Over the course of the meal they discussed “pressing legislative action, the midterms, and the president’s far-off election” in 2020, while her husband George remained quiet and shrugged when the occasional opinion was asked of him, she writes.
A week after the dinner, George unleashed on Twitter — and never stopped.
He called Trump’s idea to consider pardons for two ex-aides “flabbergasting,” and agreed with a reporter’s observation that White House officials speaking for the president are in a tough spot because Trump so often says one thing but does another.
“So true,” he wrote in a now deleted post. “It’s absurd. Which is why people are banging down the doors to be his comms director.”
“Oh no, I thought, here we go again,” Conway writes of her reaction to his tweetstorm. Though she often asked George why he was rampaging on Twitter, he simply did not answer.
Soon after, Ivanka Trump handed Conway a Post-It note with “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 her information and her thoughtfulness and wanted to pursue it, ”Conway writes. “After I showed George the names, I rejected one and said a halfhearted ‘okay’ to the other while looking at his phone from him. We never went.”
Then, on July 3, 2019, they were at their beach home on the Jersey Shore, when she turned to her husband and told him calmly what was on her mind.
“You’re the only person in this world with whom I took vows on an altar at the Basilica Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia in front of God and our loved ones and five priests,” she recalls saying. “You’re the only person in this world for whom I gave birth to four children.”
George looked dazed, but she kept going, saying he was the only person who had a choice to make. “You can see me mostly as your wife of 18 years and the mother of your four children, or you can see me mostly as Senior Counselor to President Donald Trump. When you wake up every morning, you have to decide how it is you see me.”
“George,” she added, “how do you see me?”
She writes that Conway yelled without making eye contact, “You have ruined yourself and you have embarrassed this family.”
Conway shot back, “I’ve embarrassed this family? You abandoned me for Twitter and she’s not even hot.”